Tag Archive | "JEWISH LOBBY"

Why Does the United States Give So Much Money to ‘Israel’?


NOVANEWS
Why Does the United States Give So Much Money to Israel?
U.S. and Israeli officials sign an unprecedented military-spending deal in Washington, D.C. on September 14, surrounded by a portrait of Thomas Jefferson and American and Israeli flags.
U.S. and Israeli officials sign an unprecedented military-spending deal in Washington, D.C., on September 14.GARY CAMERON / REUTERS
The United States and Israel have made it official: The two countries signed a new 10-year military-assistance deal on Wednesday, representing the single largest pledge of its kind in American history. The pact, laid out in a Memorandum of Understanding, will be worth $38 billion over the course of a decade, an increase of roughly 27 percent on the money pledged in the last agreement, which was signed in 2007. The diplomatic and military alliance between the two countries is longstanding: Even prior to this week, Israel was, according to the Congressional Research Service, “the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II.” In many ways, Wednesday’s deal seemed predestined.

Yet, it’s also ironic. Barack Obama has a notoriously cold relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—as my colleague Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in The Atlantic’s April cover story, “Obama has long believed that Netanyahu could bring about a two-state solution” to the Israel-Palestine conflict “that would protect Israel’s status as a Jewish-majority democracy, but is too fearful and politically paralyzed to do so.” Nonetheless, Obama will leave office having out-pledged all of his predecessors in military support to the country Netanyahu now runs.

Aid to Israel is among the only static issues of this U.S. election season. While the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made somewhat mixed statements on the Israel-Palestine conflict, he has also made strongly worded promises to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Israel. For her part, the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, has consistently touted her support for Israel, including during her time as secretary of state.

Voters, however, have more mixed views on this kind of support. While more than 60 percent of Americans were more sympathetic to Israel than the Palestinians in a 2016 Gallup poll, sympathies differed along partisan lines, with around half of Democrats being more sympathetic to Israelis versus nearly 80 percent of Republicans. In a separate Brookings poll, roughly half of Democrats who responded said Israel has too much influence on the United States government. Boycott, divest, and sanction movements, which call on organizations in the United States and abroad to cut their financial ties with Israel, have long been popular on college campuses, although somewhat marginal; this year, however, they got a boost from the Black Lives Matter movement, which included statements against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in its recently released policy platform.

In general, young Americans are far less sympathetic toward Israel than their older peers: A 2014 Gallup poll found that only half of those aged 18 to 34 favored Israel in the Israel-Palestine conflict, “compared with 58 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds and 74 percent of those 55 and older.” Bernie Sanders, who was extremely popular among young people during the Democratic primary season, controversially criticized Israel, winning “applause and cheers” from the audience at one debate for saying, “If we pursue justice and peace, we are going to have to say that Netanyahu is not right all of the time.”

All of this creates an odd backdrop for a historic military-spending deal. No matter how bad the relationship between the two countries’ top leaders, no matter who gets elected to the White House, no matter how loudly some voters voice their opposition or how charged the underlying ideological debate: The United States has pragmatic reasons to keep providing large sums of money for Israel’s military.

There are straightforward explanations for why this particular deal got done. Politically, the spending package was partly a response to the nuclear deal that the United States and other world powers finalized with Iran in July of last year, and which Obama hailed as cutting off Iran’s pathway to nuclear weapons for more than a decade. Netanyahu was harshly critical of that agreement, which he called a “historic mistake” that would ease sanctions on Iran while leaving it with the ability to one day get the bomb. “Even with the deal in place, and taking the nuclear-weapon capability of Iran off the table at least for the next 10 to 15 years, there are still considerable destabilizing activities that Iranians are pursuing in the region that are not consistent with U.S. or Israeli interests or objectives,” said Melissa Dalton, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The new money is an attempt to pacify Israeli concerns about continued threats from Iran, she added.

The money is also an attempt to satisfy congressional Republicans. The Obama administration reportedly asked Netanyahu to get Lindsey Graham, the head of the Senate foreign-affairs appropriations committee, to agree to the deal. After it was signed, though, Graham released a statement indicating that Congress would not necessarily adhere to the pre-determined funding levels. “I find it odd the [Memorandum] only allocates $500 million for missile defense starting in 2018,” he wrote, especially “given provocative Iranian behavior [and] improved Iranian missile technology.” While this may be the U.S.’s biggest-ever military-aid deal, the GOP has pushed for even greater spending.

Defenders of the deal would say it’s necessary. Dalton described the uptick in spending as a natural extension of the long-standing relationship between the United States and Israel, “as well as close ties between those countries and their peoples.” She described the “fraught neighborhood” surrounding Israel: war-torn Syria to the northeast, Hezbollah-influenced Lebanon to the north, and an Islamist insurgency in Egypt’s Sinai to the south, all of which help explain the historically high promise of $5 billion in missile funding over the next 10 years. As National Security Advisor Susan Rice said at the signing ceremony for the deal, “This MOU is not just good for Israel, it’s good for the United States. Our security is linked. When allies and partners like Israel are more secure, the United States is more secure.”

The deal also directs more money back toward the United States. It eliminates a provision in the previous aid agreement that allowed Israel to spend 26 percent of its Foreign Military Financing on weaponry and other resources produced within Israel, rather than in the United States—a provision intended to help Israel build its own defense industry. Now that Israel’s defense industry has developed, Dalton said, that money will go toward purchases benefitting the defense industry in the United States.

While the United States’s new Memorandum of Understanding with Israel is historic in its own right, it’s most remarkable in its apparent inevitability: It is a foreign-policy move seemingly immune to the electoral politics around it. “At the end of the day, we’re electing people to make judgments based on the information and the advice that the receive,” Dalton said. “One of the inputs to that process, certainly, is popular opinion. But I don’t think it should be the sole determinant of foreign policy.” In its own way, that’s a good explanation of why America’s aid to Israel is so big: Military spending does not go up or down in direct relationship to votes or even the news cycle. In this case, it was a record set as if it were on an unstoppable trend line.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Why Does the United States Give So Much Money to ‘Israel’?

Jewish Lobby Gets Rejected


NOVANEWS
By Gilad Atzmon 

If political terror is defined as the use of fear to achieve political aims then the activities of the self-elected British Jewish Zionist pressure groups seem to fit that definition. Some of these groups have openly tried to coerce political parties by threatening them, setting ‘ultimatums’ and harassing individuals. Political activists have lost their jobs and been ejected from their political institutions merely for criticising Israel or for citing historical facts deemed by some to be anti semitic.

Yet, the recent Local elections in Britain proves that the Brits are strong people, not easily deterred by political terrorism. Despite the relentless campaign against the Labour Party and the vicious slander of Corbyn and his supporters, the Party didn’t lose power. In fact, Labour saw its best London results since 1971. A BBC statistical exercise that applied the local election results to a possible parliamentary election predicted that the Conservatives would  lose 38 seats while Labour would gain 21!

The message to the Israeli Lobby is clear. Your game appears to be counter effective. Further, if these threats are viewed by the public as political terrorism they could lead to a backlash against British Jews and perhaps others. Despite your efforts, Labour voters stayed with Corbyn. By now they are likely frustrated by your relentless activity. The British are not blind to your lobbying, and how could they be? The Zionist pressure games are  openly aired in public.

Comments

  1. The activities of the “Conservative friends of Israel”, and “Labour’s friends of Israel” have not gone unnoticed by the British voters. It is outrageous that a ‘Lobby Group’ representing another country, can operate WITHIN Britain’s Elected Government.
    The same infiltration has happened in the USA Government, to a greater degree than Britain.(and I’m sure that the same thing is happening covertly here in Australia). The Domination of AIPAC in the USA is Massive, while a smokescreen of “Russian Interference in American politics” is used to divert American voters from seeing the “Bleeding Obvious”.
    When are EVERYONE going to WAKE UP……

    Comment by Brian Harry, Australia | May 7, 2018 | Reply

  2. My full respect to Gilad. A great human being and astute observer. Where is the on-scene American Gilad?

    Comment by roberthstiver | May 8, 2018 | Reply

  3. A PARASITE MUST HAVE A HOST TO SURVIVE!

    The Jew must have the Goyim to survive!

    THE JEWEL WASP & THE COCK ROACH

    If you Google the Jewel Wasp, you will see how a parasite turns its victim, into a zombie!
    When you have read and seen this parasite in action, reflect on how the American Goyim have been turned into Zombies by the Jewish controlled media and Hollywood.

    The Zionists control the American government; lock, stock and barrel, they control our finances, they control the Federal Reserve, they control the international banks like Goldman Sachs, which really not only robs from the American people, but truly robs from people all over the world and affects the economy.

    They control the elite of America through the control of the Ivy League, where they discriminate against better qualified non-Jewish Americans.

    For instance, in America, 68 percent of our population is European-American, only 2 percent of our population is Jewish and yet Jews constitute 25 percent of Harvard and European-Americans are only 20 percent of the most elite university.

    This differential is not because they are more qualified, but because there is an active program, a discrimination against better qualified European-Americans in favor of less qualified Jews, who apply for this university.

    They control the faculty, they control the admissions in the schools and this is provable, in fact a very fine Jewish scholar by the name of Ron Hunt proves this.

    They also of course control the media and they don’t even want your network, they don’t even want Press TV to be able to be broadcast to Europe and Americans because they don’t want their lies exposed.

    So, they are really hurting the American people, they are hurting the world, but there are Americans and there are Europeans and there are people around the world who are fighting these Zionist globalists and the oppression and really the horror that they are bringing to the world; the war, the hatred.

    Most normal historians around the world understand that the greatest mass murder was the mass murder of the Soviet state of the early communist state.

    This was motivated by ethnic racism against non-Jews and what happened against the Palestinians was motivated by ethnic racism. They saw [former President of Iraq] Saddam Hussein as an enemy of their enemy and that caused the embargo, which killed hundreds of thousands of children.

    They see Iran as an enemy and they would do anything to destroy that country and destroy its people and their volition in the world.

    The leading financer of the Bolshevik revolution was a Jewish “capitalist,” by the name of Jacob Schiff out of New York, worth billions. In fact, he gave millions and millions to the revolution – the equivalent of a billion dollars in today’s money.

    Why would a capitalist banker support a revolution supposedly against private property and against capitalism; it was a socialist revolution.

    The fact is they hated the Russian people. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the great Nobel prize winner, said the people who organized the “Russian revolution,” weren’t Russians. They hated the Russian people, they accused the Russian people of anti-Semitism and the Bolsheviks revolution was a way to get revenge upon the Russians and a way to take over the country.

    “And ironically the so-called conservatives in America and the Republican Party – their hero was Leon Trotsky. His real name was Bronstein, he was the first head of the Russian Red Army, which killed millions of Russians and millions of ultimately Ukrainians and I document all these things in my books and yet you hear nothing about this”.

    Ynet News, one of the largest publications in Israel for a Jewish audience stating clearly that Yagoda, Genrikh Yagoda, who you don’t know about – not one in 10,000 people know about it – it says very clearly in the article that he killed 10 million people, that he was Jewish and all his deputies were Jews that ran the Gulags, which was the greatest single massacre in the history of mankind and yet there are no movies about this.

    Mr. Steven Spielberg doesn’t make any movies about it, you hear very little about this in the daily press because as Solzhenitsyn said they’re allies, they’re brethren in this cause, their tribalist brethren run the media and they don’t want people to know about this huge REAL Holocaust they were behind, they don’t want people to know the ethnic cleansing and the genocide against the Palestinians.

    Madeleine Albright admitted on 60 Minutes that the embargoes that she sponsored caused the death of 500,000 children and the head of 60 Minutes responded to her and said, ‘Do you think this is worth it, the death of 500,000 children,’ and Madeleine Albright, our Zionist Secretary of State at the time, answered her saying, ‘Well it is a difficult question,’ she said, ‘but yes, we think it is worth it.

    THE LONGEST HATRED

    ********

    GENTILES IN HALACHA

    Foreword — Daat Emet

    For a long time we have been considering the necessity of informing our readers about Halacha’s real attitude towards non-Jews. Many untrue things are publicized on this issue and the facts should be made clear. But recently, we were presented with a diligently written article on the subject, authored by a scholar from the Merkaz HaRav yeshiva — so our job was done by others (though we have already discussed some aspects of this issue in the weekly portions of Balak and Matot). Since there is almost no disagreement between us and the author of the article on this issue, we have chosen to bring the article “Jews Are Called ‘Men’” by R’ David Bar-Chayim (in Hebrew) so that the reader will be able to study and understand the attitude of the Halacha towards non-Jews.

    In this article R’ Bar-Chayim discusses the attitude towards “Gentiles” in the Torah and in the Halacha and comes to an unambiguous conclusion:

    “The Torah of Israel makes a clear distinction between a Jew, who is defined as ‘man,’ and a Gentile.”

    That is to say, any notion of equality between human beings is irrelevant to the Halacha. R’ Bar-Chayim’s work is comprehensive, written with intellectual honesty, and deals with almost all the aspects of Halachic treatment of non-Jews. It also refutes the statements of those rabbis who speak out of wishful thinking and, influenced by concepts of modern society, claim that Judaism does not discriminate against people on religious grounds. R’ Bar-Chayim shows that all these people base their constructs NOT on the Torah but solely on the inclinations of their own hearts. He also shows that there are even rabbis who intentionally distort the Halachic attitude to Gentiles, misleading both themselves and the general public.

    For the English readers’ convenience we will briefly mention the topics dealt with in R’ Bar-Chayim’s article:

    Laws in regard to murder, which clearly state that there is Halachic difference between murder of a Jew and of a Gentile (the latter is considered a far less severe crime).

    A ban on desecrating the Sabbath to save the life of a Gentile.

    A Jew’s exemption from liability if his property (e. g. ox) causes damage to a Gentile’s property. But if a Gentile’s property causes damage to a Jew’s property, the Gentile is liable.

    The question of whether robbery of a Gentile is forbidden by the Torah’s law or only by a Rabbinic decree.
    A ban on returning a lost item to a Gentile if the reason for returning it is one’s sympathy towards the Gentile and compassion for him.

    The sum which a Gentile overpays in a business transaction due to his own error is forfeit; whether a Jew is permitted to intentionally deceive a Gentile is also discussed.

    One who kidnaps a Jew is liable to death, but one who kidnaps a Gentile is exempt.

    A Jew who hurts or injures a Gentile is not liable for compensation of damage, but a Gentile who hurts a Jew is liable to death.

    One who overcharges a Gentile ought not return him the sum that the Gentile overpaid.

    A Gentile — or even a convert to Judaism — may not be appointed king or public official of any sort (e. g. a cabinet minister).

    One who defames a female proselyte (claiming that she was not virgin at the time of her marriage) is liable to neither lashes nor fine.

    The prohibition to hate applies only to Jews; one may hate a Gentile.

    One may take revenge against or bear a grudge towards Gentiles; likewise, the commandment “love your neighbour” applies only to Jews, not to Gentiles.

    One who sees Gentile graveyards should curse: “Your mother shall be greatly ashamed…”

    Gentiles are likened to animals.

    If an ox damaged a Gentile maidservant, it should be considered as though the ox damaged a she-ass.

    The dead body of a Gentile does not bear ritual impurity, nor does a Gentile who touches the dead body of a Jew become impure — he is considered like an animal who touched a dead body.

    One is forbidden to pour anointing oil on a Jew, but there is no ban on pouring that oil on a Gentile because Gentiles are likened to animals.

    An animal slaughtered by a Gentile is forbidden, even if the ritual slaughter performed was technically correct, because Gentiles are deemed like animals. (Daat Emet does not agree that this is the Halachic reason for invalidating a Gentile’s ritual slaughter — but this is not the place to delve into the subject).

    Their members(Genitals) are like those of asses” — Gentiles are likened to animals.

    Between the Jews and the Gentiles — In the Aggadah, the Kabbalah, and in Jewish Thought

    R’ Bar-Chayim’s arguments and conclusions are clear, Halachically accurate, and supported by almost all the existent major Halachic works. It would be superfluous to say that R’ Bar-Chayim fully embraces this racist Halachic outlook as the word of the Living G-d, as he himself pointed out in the “Conclusion” of his article:

    “It is clear to every Jew who accepts the Torah as G-d’s word from Sinai, obligatory and valid for all generations, that it is impossible to introduce ‘compromises’ or ‘renovations’ into it.”

    On the other hand, we want to make it clear that Daat Emet — as well as any reasonable people who do not embrace Halachic laws as the word of the Living G-d — are repulsed by such evil, racist discrimination.
    In the Hebrew text we have abridged the second part of R’ Bar-Chayim’s article,

    “Between Jews and Gentiles — In the Aggadah, the Kabbalah, and in Jewish Thought,” because, in our view, the Halacha is the law which obligates every religious Jew while concepts of the Aggadah, the Kabbalah, and Jewish thought are not binding on anyone, as our rabbis have already written:

    “And so the Aggadic constructs of the disciples of disciples, such as Rav Tanchuma and Rabbi Oshaya and their like — most are incorrect, and therefore we do not rely on the words of Aggadah” (Sefer HaEshkol, Laws of a Torah Scroll, p. 60a); we have expanded on this issue in the portion of Vayeshev.

    GOOGLE:

    THE JEWS ARE CALLED MEN

    Tzfi’a 3

    THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN JEWS AND GENTILES IN TORAH

    Rabbi David Bar Chaim

    Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Jewish Lobby Gets Rejected

The Israel Lobby


NOVANEWS

By John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt

An unedited version of this article in Adobe .pdf format is available here.

For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centrepiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel. The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread ‘democracy’ throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but that of much of the rest of the world. This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the US been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state? One might assume that the bond between the two countries was based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives, but neither explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the US provides.

Instead, the thrust of US policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the ‘Israel Lobby’. Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of the other country – in this case, Israel – are essentially identical.

Since the October War in 1973, Washington has provided Israel with a level of support dwarfing that given to any other state. It has been the largest annual recipient of direct economic and military assistance since 1976, and is the largest recipient in total since World War Two, to the tune of well over $140 billion (in 2004 dollars). Israel receives about $3 billion in direct assistance each year, roughly one-fifth of the foreign aid budget, and worth about $500 a year for every Israeli. This largesse is especially striking since Israel is now a wealthy industrial state with a per capita income roughly equal to that of South Korea or Spain.

Other recipients get their money in quarterly installments, but Israel receives its entire appropriation at the beginning of each fiscal year and can thus earn interest on it. Most recipients of aid given for military purposes are required to spend all of it in the US, but Israel is allowed to use roughly 25 per cent of its allocation to subsidise its own defence industry. It is the only recipient that does not have to account for how the aid is spent, which makes it virtually impossible to prevent the money from being used for purposes the US opposes, such as building settlements on the West Bank. Moreover, the US has provided Israel with nearly $3 billion to develop weapons systems, and given it access to such top-drawer weaponry as Blackhawk helicopters and F-16 jets. Finally, the US gives Israel access to intelligence it denies to its Nato allies and has turned a blind eye to Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons.

Washington also provides Israel with consistent diplomatic support. Since 1982, the US has vetoed 32 Security Council resolutions critical of Israel, more than the total number of vetoes cast by all the other Security Council members. It blocks the efforts of Arab states to put Israel’s nuclear arsenal on the IAEA’s agenda. The US comes to the rescue in wartime and takes Israel’s side when negotiating peace. The Nixon administration protected it from the threat of Soviet intervention and resupplied it during the October War. Washington was deeply involved in the negotiations that ended that war, as well as in the lengthy ‘step-by-step’ process that followed, just as it played a key role in the negotiations that preceded and followed the 1993 Oslo Accords. In each case there was occasional friction between US and Israeli officials, but the US consistently supported the Israeli position. One American participant at Camp David in 2000 later said: ‘Far too often, we functioned . . . as Israel’s lawyer.’ Finally, the Bush administration’s ambition to transform the Middle East is at least partly aimed at improving Israel’s strategic situation.

This extraordinary generosity might be understandable if Israel were a vital strategic asset or if there were a compelling moral case for US backing. But neither explanation is convincing. One might argue that Israel was an asset during the Cold War. By serving as America’s proxy after 1967, it helped contain Soviet expansion in the region and inflicted humiliating defeats on Soviet clients like Egypt and Syria. It occasionally helped protect other US allies (like King Hussein of Jordan) and its military prowess forced Moscow to spend more on backing its own client states. It also provided useful intelligence about Soviet capabilities.

Backing Israel was not cheap, however, and it complicated America’s relations with the Arab world. For example, the decision to give $2.2 billion in emergency military aid during the October War triggered an Opec oil embargo that inflicted considerable damage on Western economies. For all that, Israel’s armed forces were not in a position to protect US interests in the region. The US could not, for example, rely on Israel when the Iranian Revolution in 1979 raised concerns about the security of oil supplies, and had to create its own Rapid Deployment Force instead.

The first Gulf War revealed the extent to which Israel was becoming a strategic burden. The US could not use Israeli bases without rupturing the anti-Iraq coalition, and had to divert resources (e.g. Patriot missile batteries) to prevent Tel Aviv doing anything that might harm the alliance against Saddam Hussein. History repeated itself in 2003: although Israel was eager for the US to attack Iraq, Bush could not ask it to help without triggering Arab opposition. So Israel stayed on the sidelines once again.

Beginning in the 1990s, and even more after 9/11, US support has been justified by the claim that both states are threatened by terrorist groups originating in the Arab and Muslim world, and by ‘rogue states’ that back these groups and seek weapons of mass destruction. This is taken to mean not only that Washington should give Israel a free hand in dealing with the Palestinians and not press it to make concessions until all Palestinian terrorists are imprisoned or dead, but that the US should go after countries like Iran and Syria. Israel is thus seen as a crucial ally in the war on terror, because its enemies are America’s enemies. In fact, Israel is a liability in the war on terror and the broader effort to deal with rogue states.

‘Terrorism’ is not a single adversary, but a tactic employed by a wide array of political groups. The terrorist organisations that threaten Israel do not threaten the United States, except when it intervenes against them (as in Lebanon in 1982). Moreover, Palestinian terrorism is not random violence directed against Israel or ‘the West’; it is largely a response to Israel’s prolonged campaign to colonise the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

More important, saying that Israel and the US are united by a shared terrorist threat has the causal relationship backwards: the US has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around. Support for Israel is not the only source of anti-American terrorism, but it is an important one, and it makes winning the war on terror more difficult. There is no question that many al-Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are motivated by Israel’s presence in Jerusalem and the plight of the Palestinians. Unconditional support for Israel makes it easier for extremists to rally popular support and to attract recruits.

As for so-called rogue states in the Middle East, they are not a dire threat to vital US interests, except inasmuch as they are a threat to Israel. Even if these states acquire nuclear weapons – which is obviously undesirable – neither America nor Israel could be blackmailed, because the blackmailer could not carry out the threat without suffering overwhelming retaliation. The danger of a nuclear handover to terrorists is equally remote, because a rogue state could not be sure the transfer would go undetected or that it would not be blamed and punished afterwards. The relationship with Israel actually makes it harder for the US to deal with these states. Israel’s nuclear arsenal is one reason some of its neighbours want nuclear weapons, and threatening them with regime change merely increases that desire.

A final reason to question Israel’s strategic value is that it does not behave like a loyal ally. Israeli officials frequently ignore US requests and renege on promises (including pledges to stop building settlements and to refrain from ‘targeted assassinations’ of Palestinian leaders). Israel has provided sensitive military technology to potential rivals like China, in what the State Department inspector-general called ‘a systematic and growing pattern of unauthorised transfers’. According to the General Accounting Office, Israel also ‘conducts the most aggressive espionage operations against the US of any ally’. In addition to the case of Jonathan Pollard, who gave Israel large quantities of classified material in the early 1980s (which it reportedly passed on to the Soviet Union in return for more exit visas for Soviet Jews), a new controversy erupted in 2004 when it was revealed that a key Pentagon official called Larry Franklin had passed classified information to an Israeli diplomat. Israel is hardly the only country that spies on the US, but its willingness to spy on its principal patron casts further doubt on its strategic value.

Israel’s strategic value isn’t the only issue. Its backers also argue that it deserves unqualified support because it is weak and surrounded by enemies; it is a democracy; the Jewish people have suffered from past crimes and therefore deserve special treatment; and Israel’s conduct has been morally superior to that of its adversaries. On close inspection, none of these arguments is persuasive. There is a strong moral case for supporting Israel’s existence, but that is not in jeopardy. Viewed objectively, its past and present conduct offers no moral basis for privileging it over the Palestinians.

Israel is often portrayed as David confronted by Goliath, but the converse is closer to the truth. Contrary to popular belief, the Zionists had larger, better equipped and better led forces during the 1947-49 War of Independence, and the Israel Defence Forces won quick and easy victories against Egypt in 1956 and against Egypt, Jordan and Syria in 1967 – all of this before large-scale US aid began flowing. Today, Israel is the strongest military power in the Middle East. Its conventional forces are far superior to those of its neighbours and it is the only state in the region with nuclear weapons. Egypt and Jordan have signed peace treaties with it, and Saudi Arabia has offered to do so. Syria has lost its Soviet patron, Iraq has been devastated by three disastrous wars and Iran is hundreds of miles away. The Palestinians barely have an effective police force, let alone an army that could pose a threat to Israel. According to a 2005 assessment by Tel Aviv University’s Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies, ‘the strategic balance decidedly favours Israel, which has continued to widen the qualitative gap between its own military capability and deterrence powers and those of its neighbours.’ If backing the underdog were a compelling motive, the United States would be supporting Israel’s opponents.

That Israel is a fellow democracy surrounded by hostile dictatorships cannot account for the current level of aid: there are many democracies around the world, but none receives the same lavish support. The US has overthrown democratic governments in the past and supported dictators when this was thought to advance its interests – it has good relations with a number of dictatorships today.

Some aspects of Israeli democracy are at odds with core American values. Unlike the US, where people are supposed to enjoy equal rights irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity, Israel was explicitly founded as a Jewish state and citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship. Given this, it is not surprising that its 1.3 million Arabs are treated as second-class citizens, or that a recent Israeli government commission found that Israel behaves in a ‘neglectful and discriminatory’ manner towards them. Its democratic status is also undermined by its refusal to grant the Palestinians a viable state of their own or full political rights.

A third justification is the history of Jewish suffering in the Christian West, especially during the Holocaust. Because Jews were persecuted for centuries and could feel safe only in a Jewish homeland, many people now believe that Israel deserves special treatment from the United States. The country’s creation was undoubtedly an appropriate response to the long record of crimes against Jews, but it also brought about fresh crimes against a largely innocent third party: the Palestinians.

This was well understood by Israel’s early leaders. David Ben-Gurion told Nahum Goldmann, the president of the World Jewish Congress:

If I were an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country . . . We come from Israel, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that?

Since then, Israeli leaders have repeatedly sought to deny the Palestinians’ national ambitions. When she was prime minister, Golda Meir famously remarked that ‘there is no such thing as a Palestinian.’ Pressure from extremist violence and Palestinian population growth has forced subsequent Israeli leaders to disengage from the Gaza Strip and consider other territorial compromises, but not even Yitzhak Rabin was willing to offer the Palestinians a viable state. Ehud Barak’s purportedly generous offer at Camp David would have given them only a disarmed set of Bantustans under de facto Israeli control. The tragic history of the Jewish people does not obligate the US to help Israel today no matter what it does.

Israel’s backers also portray it as a country that has sought peace at every turn and shown great restraint even when provoked. The Arabs, by contrast, are said to have acted with great wickedness. Yet on the ground, Israel’s record is not distinguishable from that of its opponents. Ben-Gurion acknowledged that the early Zionists were far from benevolent towards the Palestinian Arabs, who resisted their encroachments – which is hardly surprising, given that the Zionists were trying to create their own state on Arab land. In the same way, the creation of Israel in 1947-48 involved acts of ethnic cleansing, including executions, massacres and rapes by Jews, and Israel’s subsequent conduct has often been brutal, belying any claim to moral superiority. Between 1949 and 1956, for example, Israeli security forces killed between 2700 and 5000 Arab infiltrators, the overwhelming majority of them unarmed. The IDF murdered hundreds of Egyptian prisoners of war in both the 1956 and 1967 wars, while in 1967, it expelled between 100,000 and 260,000 Palestinians from the newly conquered West Bank, and drove 80,000 Syrians from the Golan Heights.

During the first intifada, the IDF distributed truncheons to its troops and encouraged them to break the bones of Palestinian protesters. The Swedish branch of Save the Children estimated that ‘23,600 to 29,900 children required medical treatment for their beating injuries in the first two years of the intifada.’ Nearly a third of them were aged ten or under. The response to the second intifada has been even more violent, leading Ha’aretz to declare that ‘the IDF . . . is turning into a killing machine whose efficiency is awe-inspiring, yet shocking.’ The IDF fired one million bullets in the first days of the uprising. Since then, for every Israeli lost, Israel has killed 3.4 Palestinians, the majority of whom have been innocent bystanders; the ratio of Palestinian to Israeli children killed is even higher (5.7:1). It is also worth bearing in mind that the Zionists relied on terrorist bombs to drive the British from Palestine, and that Yitzhak Shamir, once a terrorist and later prime minister, declared that ‘neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat.’

The Palestinian resort to terrorism is wrong but it isn’t surprising. The Palestinians believe they have no other way to force Israeli concessions. As Ehud Barak once admitted, had he been born a Palestinian, he ‘would have joined a terrorist organisation’.

So if neither strategic nor moral arguments can account for America’s support for Israel, how are we to explain it?

The explanation is the unmatched power of the Israel Lobby. We use ‘the Lobby’ as shorthand for the loose coalition of individuals and organisations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction. This is not meant to suggest that ‘the Lobby’ is a unified movement with a central leadership, or that individuals within it do not disagree on certain issues. Not all Jewish Americans are part of the Lobby, because Israel is not a salient issue for many of them. In a 2004 survey, for example, roughly 36 per cent of American Jews said they were either ‘not very’ or ‘not at all’ emotionally attached to Israel.

Jewish Americans also differ on specific Israeli policies. Many of the key organisations in the Lobby, such as the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organisations, are run by hardliners who generally support the Likud Party’s expansionist policies, including its hostility to the Oslo peace process. The bulk of US Jewry, meanwhile, is more inclined to make concessions to the Palestinians, and a few groups – such as Jewish Voice for Peace – strongly advocate such steps. Despite these differences, moderates and hardliners both favour giving steadfast support to Israel.

Not surprisingly, American Jewish leaders often consult Israeli officials, to make sure that their actions advance Israeli goals. As one activist from a major Jewish organisation wrote, ‘it is routine for us to say: “This is our policy on a certain issue, but we must check what the Israelis think.” We as a community do it all the time.’ There is a strong prejudice against criticising Israeli policy, and putting pressure on Israel is considered out of order. Edgar Bronfman Sr, the president of the World Jewish Congress, was accused of ‘perfidy’ when he wrote a letter to President Bush in mid-2003 urging him to persuade Israel to curb construction of its controversial ‘security fence’. His critics said that ‘it would be obscene at any time for the president of the World Jewish Congress to lobby the president of the United States to resist policies being promoted by the government of Israel.’

Similarly, when the president of the Israel Policy Forum, Seymour Reich, advised Condoleezza Rice in November 2005 to ask Israel to reopen a critical border crossing in the Gaza Strip, his action was denounced as ‘irresponsible’: ‘There is,’ his critics said, ‘absolutely no room in the Jewish mainstream for actively canvassing against the security-related policies . . . of Israel.’ Recoiling from these attacks, Reich announced that ‘the word “pressure” is not in my vocabulary when it comes to Israel.’

Jewish Americans have set up an impressive array of organisations to influence American foreign policy, of which AIPAC is the most powerful and best known. In 1997, Fortune magazine asked members of Congress and their staffs to list the most powerful lobbies in Washington. AIPAC was ranked second behind the American Association of Retired People, but ahead of the AFL-CIO and the National Rifle Association. A National Journal study in March 2005 reached a similar conclusion, placing AIPAC in second place (tied with AARP) in the Washington ‘muscle rankings’.

The Lobby also includes prominent Christian evangelicals like Gary Bauer, Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed and Pat Robertson, as well as Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, former majority leaders in the House of Representatives, all of whom believe Israel’s rebirth is the fulfilment of biblical prophecy and support its expansionist agenda; to do otherwise, they believe, would be contrary to God’s will. Neo-conservative gentiles such as John Bolton; Robert Bartley, the former Wall Street Journal editor; William Bennett, the former secretary of education; Jeane Kirkpatrick, the former UN ambassador; and the influential columnist George Will are also steadfast supporters.

The US form of government offers activists many ways of influencing the policy process. Interest groups can lobby elected representatives and members of the executive branch, make campaign contributions, vote in elections, try to mould public opinion etc. They enjoy a disproportionate amount of influence when they are committed to an issue to which the bulk of the population is indifferent. Policymakers will tend to accommodate those who care about the issue, even if their numbers are small, confident that the rest of the population will not penalise them for doing so.

In its basic operations, the Israel Lobby is no different from the farm lobby, steel or textile workers’ unions, or other ethnic lobbies. There is nothing improper about American Jews and their Christian allies attempting to sway US policy: the Lobby’s activities are not a conspiracy of the sort depicted in tracts like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. For the most part, the individuals and groups that comprise it are only doing what other special interest groups do, but doing it very much better. By contrast, pro-Arab interest groups, in so far as they exist at all, are weak, which makes the Israel Lobby’s task even easier.

The Lobby pursues two broad strategies. First, it wields its significant influence in Washington, pressuring both Congress and the executive branch. Whatever an individual lawmaker or policymaker’s own views may be, the Lobby tries to make supporting Israel the ‘smart’ choice. Second, it strives to ensure that public discourse portrays Israel in a positive light, by repeating myths about its founding and by promoting its point of view in policy debates. The goal is to prevent critical comments from getting a fair hearing in the political arena. Controlling the debate is essential to guaranteeing US support, because a candid discussion of US-Israeli relations might lead Americans to favour a different policy.

A key pillar of the Lobby’s effectiveness is its influence in Congress, where Israel is virtually immune from criticism. This in itself is remarkable, because Congress rarely shies away from contentious issues. Where Israel is concerned, however, potential critics fall silent. One reason is that some key members are Christian Zionists like Dick Armey, who said in September 2002: ‘My No. 1 priority in foreign policy is to protect Israel.’ One might think that the No. 1 priority for any congressman would be to protect America. There are also Jewish senators and congressmen who work to ensure that US foreign policy supports Israel’s interests.

Another source of the Lobby’s power is its use of pro-Israel congressional staffers. As Morris Amitay, a former head of AIPAC, once admitted, ‘there are a lot of guys at the working level up here’ – on Capitol Hill – ‘who happen to be Jewish, who are willing . . . to look at certain issues in terms of their Jewishness . . . These are all guys who are in a position to make the decision in these areas for those senators . . . You can get an awful lot done just at the staff level.’

AIPAC itself, however, forms the core of the Lobby’s influence in Congress. Its success is due to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda, and to punish those who challenge it. Money is critical to US elections (as the scandal over the lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s shady dealings reminds us), and AIPAC makes sure that its friends get strong financial support from the many pro-Israel political action committees. Anyone who is seen as hostile to Israel can be sure that AIPAC will direct campaign contributions to his or her political opponents. AIPAC also organises letter-writing campaigns and encourages newspaper editors to endorse pro-Israel candidates.

There is no doubt about the efficacy of these tactics. Here is one example: in the 1984 elections, AIPAC helped defeat Senator Charles Percy from Illinois, who, according to a prominent Lobby figure, had ‘displayed insensitivity and even hostility to our concerns’. Thomas Dine, the head of AIPAC at the time, explained what happened: ‘All the Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy. And the American politicians – those who hold public positions now, and those who aspire – got the message.’

AIPAC’s influence on Capitol Hill goes even further. According to Douglas Bloomfield, a former AIPAC staff member, ‘it is common for members of Congress and their staffs to turn to AIPAC first when they need information, before calling the Library of Congress, the Congressional Research Service, committee staff or administration experts.’ More important, he notes that AIPAC is ‘often called on to draft speeches, work on legislation, advise on tactics, perform research, collect co-sponsors and marshal votes’.

The bottom line is that AIPAC, a de facto agent for a foreign government, has a stranglehold on Congress, with the result that US policy towards Israel is not debated there, even though that policy has important consequences for the entire world. In other words, one of the three main branches of the government is firmly committed to supporting Israel. As one former Democratic senator, Ernest Hollings, noted on leaving office, ‘you can’t have an Israeli policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here.’ Or as Ariel Sharon once told an American audience, ‘when people ask me how they can help Israel, I tell them: “Help AIPAC.”’

Thanks in part to the influence Jewish voters have on presidential elections, the Lobby also has significant leverage over the executive branch. Although they make up fewer than 3 per cent of the population, they make large campaign donations to candidates from both parties. The Washington Post once estimated that Democratic presidential candidates ‘depend on Jewish supporters to supply as much as 60 per cent of the money’. And because Jewish voters have high turn-out rates and are concentrated in key states like California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania, presidential candidates go to great lengths not to antagonise them.

Key organisations in the Lobby make it their business to ensure that critics of Israel do not get important foreign policy jobs. Jimmy Carter wanted to make George Ball his first secretary of state, but knew that Ball was seen as critical of Israel and that the Lobby would oppose the appointment. In this way any aspiring policymaker is encouraged to become an overt supporter of Israel, which is why public critics of Israeli policy have become an endangered species in the foreign policy establishment.

When Howard Dean called for the United States to take a more ‘even-handed role’ in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Senator Joseph Lieberman accused him of selling Israel down the river and said his statement was ‘irresponsible’. Virtually all the top Democrats in the House signed a letter criticising Dean’s remarks, and the Chicago Jewish Star reported that ‘anonymous attackers . . . are clogging the email inboxes of Jewish leaders around the country, warning – without much evidence – that Dean would somehow be bad for Israel.’

This worry was absurd; Dean is in fact quite hawkish on Israel: his campaign co-chair was a former AIPAC president, and Dean said his own views on the Middle East more closely reflected those of AIPAC than those of the more moderate Americans for Peace Now. He had merely suggested that to ‘bring the sides together’, Washington should act as an honest broker. This is hardly a radical idea, but the Lobby doesn’t tolerate even-handedness.

During the Clinton administration, Middle Eastern policy was largely shaped by officials with close ties to Israel or to prominent pro-Israel organisations; among them, Martin Indyk, the former deputy director of research at AIPAC and co-founder of the pro-Israel Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP); Dennis Ross, who joined WINEP after leaving government in 2001; and Aaron Miller, who has lived in Israel and often visits the country. These men were among Clinton’s closest advisers at the Camp David summit in July 2000. Although all three supported the Oslo peace process and favoured the creation of a Palestinian state, they did so only within the limits of what would be acceptable to Israel. The American delegation took its cues from Ehud Barak, co-ordinated its negotiating positions with Israel in advance, and did not offer independent proposals. Not surprisingly, Palestinian negotiators complained that they were ‘negotiating with two Israeli teams – one displaying an Israeli flag, and one an American flag’.

The situation is even more pronounced in the Bush administration, whose ranks have included such fervent advocates of the Israeli cause as Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, I. Lewis (‘Scooter’) Libby, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and David Wurmser. As we shall see, these officials have consistently pushed for policies favoured by Israel and backed by organisations in the Lobby.

The Lobby doesn’t want an open debate, of course, because that might lead Americans to question the level of support they provide. Accordingly, pro-Israel organisations work hard to influence the institutions that do most to shape popular opinion.

The Lobby’s perspective prevails in the mainstream media: the debate among Middle East pundits, the journalist Eric Alterman writes, is ‘dominated by people who cannot imagine criticising Israel’. He lists 61 ‘columnists and commentators who can be counted on to support Israel reflexively and without qualification’. Conversely, he found just five pundits who consistently criticise Israeli actions or endorse Arab positions. Newspapers occasionally publish guest op-eds challenging Israeli policy, but the balance of opinion clearly favours the other side. It is hard to imagine any mainstream media outlet in the United States publishing a piece like this one.

‘Shamir, Sharon, Bibi – whatever those guys want is pretty much fine by me,’ Robert Bartley once remarked. Not surprisingly, his newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, along with other prominent papers like the Chicago Sun-Times and the Washington Times, regularly runs editorials that strongly support Israel. Magazines like Commentary, the New Republic and the Weekly Standard defend Israel at every turn.

Editorial bias is also found in papers like the New York Times, which occasionally criticises Israeli policies and sometimes concedes that the Palestinians have legitimate grievances, but is not even-handed. In his memoirs the paper’s former executive editor Max Frankel acknowledges the impact his own attitude had on his editorial decisions: ‘I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert . . . Fortified by my knowledge of Israel and my friendships there, I myself wrote most of our Middle East commentaries. As more Arab than Jewish readers recognised, I wrote them from a pro-Israel perspective.’

News reports are more even-handed, in part because reporters strive to be objective, but also because it is difficult to cover events in the Occupied Territories without acknowledging Israel’s actions on the ground. To discourage unfavourable reporting, the Lobby organises letter-writing campaigns, demonstrations and boycotts of news outlets whose content it considers anti-Israel. One CNN executive has said that he sometimes gets 6000 email messages in a single day complaining about a story. In May 2003, the pro-Israel Committee for Accurate Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) organised demonstrations outside National Public Radio stations in 33 cities; it also tried to persuade contributors to withhold support from NPR until its Middle East coverage becomes more sympathetic to Israel. Boston’s NPR station, WBUR, reportedly lost more than $1 million in contributions as a result of these efforts. Further pressure on NPR has come from Israel’s friends in Congress, who have asked for an internal audit of its Middle East coverage as well as more oversight.

The Israeli side also dominates the think tanks which play an important role in shaping public debate as well as actual policy. The Lobby created its own think tank in 1985, when Martin Indyk helped to found WINEP. Although WINEP plays down its links to Israel, claiming instead to provide a ‘balanced and realistic’ perspective on Middle East issues, it is funded and run by individuals deeply committed to advancing Israel’s agenda.

The Lobby’s influence extends well beyond WINEP, however. Over the past 25 years, pro-Israel forces have established a commanding presence at the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). These think tanks employ few, if any, critics of US support for Israel.

Take the Brookings Institution. For many years, its senior expert on the Middle East was William Quandt, a former NSC official with a well-deserved reputation for even-handedness. Today, Brookings’s coverage is conducted through the Saban Center for Middle East Studies, which is financed by Haim Saban, an Israeli-American businessman and ardent Zionist. The centre’s director is the ubiquitous Martin Indyk. What was once a non-partisan policy institute is now part of the pro-Israel chorus.

Where the Lobby has had the most difficulty is in stifling debate on university campuses. In the 1990s, when the Oslo peace process was underway, there was only mild criticism of Israel, but it grew stronger with Oslo’s collapse and Sharon’s access to power, becoming quite vociferous when the IDF reoccupied the West Bank in spring 2002 and employed massive force to subdue the second intifada.

The Lobby moved immediately to ‘take back the campuses’. New groups sprang up, like the Caravan for Democracy, which brought Israeli speakers to US colleges. Established groups like the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and Hillel joined in, and a new group, the Israel on Campus Coalition, was formed to co-ordinate the many bodies that now sought to put Israel’s case. Finally, AIPAC more than tripled its spending on programmes to monitor university activities and to train young advocates, in order to ‘vastly expand the number of students involved on campus . . . in the national pro-Israel effort’.

The Lobby also monitors what professors write and teach. In September 2002, Martin Kramer and Daniel Pipes, two passionately pro-Israel neo-conservatives, established a website (Campus Watch) that posted dossiers on suspect academics and encouraged students to report remarks or behaviour that might be considered hostile to Israel. This transparent attempt to blacklist and intimidate scholars provoked a harsh reaction and Pipes and Kramer later removed the dossiers, but the website still invites students to report ‘anti-Israel’ activity.

Groups within the Lobby put pressure on particular academics and universities. Columbia has been a frequent target, no doubt because of the presence of the late Edward Said on its faculty. ‘One can be sure that any public statement in support of the Palestinian people by the pre-eminent literary critic Edward Said will elicit hundreds of emails, letters and journalistic accounts that call on us to denounce Said and to either sanction or fire him,’ Jonathan Cole, its former provost, reported. When Columbia recruited the historian Rashid Khalidi from Chicago, the same thing happened. It was a problem Princeton also faced a few years later when it considered wooing Khalidi away from Columbia.

A classic illustration of the effort to police academia occurred towards the end of 2004, when the David Project produced a film alleging that faculty members of Columbia’s Middle East Studies programme were anti-semitic and were intimidating Jewish students who stood up for Israel. Columbia was hauled over the coals, but a faculty committee which was assigned to investigate the charges found no evidence of anti-semitism and the only incident possibly worth noting was that one professor had ‘responded heatedly’ to a student’s question. The committee also discovered that the academics in question had themselves been the target of an overt campaign of intimidation.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of all this is the efforts Jewish groups have made to push Congress into establishing mechanisms to monitor what professors say. If they manage to get this passed, universities judged to have an anti-Israel bias would be denied federal funding. Their efforts have not yet succeeded, but they are an indication of the importance placed on controlling debate.

A number of Jewish philanthropists have recently established Israel Studies programmes (in addition to the roughly 130 Jewish Studies programmes already in existence) so as to increase the number of Israel-friendly scholars on campus. In May 2003, NYU announced the establishment of the Taub Center for Israel Studies; similar programmes have been set up at Berkeley, Brandeis and Emory. Academic administrators emphasise their pedagogical value, but the truth is that they are intended in large part to promote Israel’s image. Fred Laffer, the head of the Taub Foundation, makes it clear that his foundation funded the NYU centre to help counter the ‘Arabic [sic] point of view’ that he thinks is prevalent in NYU’s Middle East programmes.

No discussion of the Lobby would be complete without an examination of one of its most powerful weapons: the charge of anti-semitism. Anyone who criticises Israel’s actions or argues that pro-Israel groups have significant influence over US Middle Eastern policy – an influence AIPAC celebrates – stands a good chance of being labelled an anti-semite. Indeed, anyone who merely claims that there is an Israel Lobby runs the risk of being charged with anti-semitism, even though the Israeli media refer to America’s ‘Jewish Lobby’. In other words, the Lobby first boasts of its influence and then attacks anyone who calls attention to it. It’s a very effective tactic: anti-semitism is something no one wants to be accused of.

Europeans have been more willing than Americans to criticise Israeli policy, which some people attribute to a resurgence of anti-semitism in Europe. We are ‘getting to a point’, the US ambassador to the EU said in early 2004, ‘where it is as bad as it was in the 1930s’. Measuring anti-semitism is a complicated matter, but the weight of evidence points in the opposite direction. In the spring of 2004, when accusations of European anti-semitism filled the air in America, separate surveys of European public opinion conducted by the US-based Anti-Defamation League and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that it was in fact declining. In the 1930s, by contrast, anti-semitism was not only widespread among Europeans of all classes but considered quite acceptable.

The Lobby and its friends often portray France as the most anti-semitic country in Europe. But in 2003, the head of the French Jewish community said that ‘France is not more anti-semitic than America.’ According to a recent article in Ha’aretz, the French police have reported that anti-semitic incidents declined by almost 50 per cent in 2005; and this even though France has the largest Muslim population of any European country. Finally, when a French Jew was murdered in Paris last month by a Muslim gang, tens of thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets to condemn anti-semitism. Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin both attended the victim’s memorial service to show their solidarity.

No one would deny that there is anti-semitism among European Muslims, some of it provoked by Israel’s conduct towards the Palestinians and some of it straightforwardly racist. But this is a separate matter with little bearing on whether or not Europe today is like Europe in the 1930s. Nor would anyone deny that there are still some virulent autochthonous anti-semites in Europe (as there are in the United States) but their numbers are small and their views are rejected by the vast majority of Europeans.

Israel’s advocates, when pressed to go beyond mere assertion, claim that there is a ‘new anti-semitism’, which they equate with criticism of Israel. In other words, criticise Israeli policy and you are by definition an anti-semite. When the synod of the Church of England recently voted to divest from Caterpillar Inc on the grounds that it manufactures the bulldozers used by the Israelis to demolish Palestinian homes, the Chief Rabbi complained that this would ‘have the most adverse repercussions on . . . Jewish-Christian relations in Britain’, while Rabbi Tony Bayfield, the head of the Reform movement, said: ‘There is a clear problem of anti-Zionist – verging on anti-semitic – attitudes emerging in the grass-roots, and even in the middle ranks of the Church.’ But the Church was guilty merely of protesting against Israeli government policy.

Critics are also accused of holding Israel to an unfair standard or questioning its right to exist. But these are bogus charges too. Western critics of Israel hardly ever question its right to exist: they question its behaviour towards the Palestinians, as do Israelis themselves. Nor is Israel being judged unfairly. Israeli treatment of the Palestinians elicits criticism because it is contrary to widely accepted notions of human rights, to international law and to the principle of national self-determination. And it is hardly the only state that has faced sharp criticism on these grounds.

In the autumn of 2001, and especially in the spring of 2002, the Bush administration tried to reduce anti-American sentiment in the Arab world and undermine support for terrorist groups like al-Qaida by halting Israel’s expansionist policies in the Occupied Territories and advocating the creation of a Palestinian state. Bush had very significant means of persuasion at his disposal. He could have threatened to reduce economic and diplomatic support for Israel, and the American people would almost certainly have supported him. A May 2003 poll reported that more than 60 per cent of Americans were willing to withhold aid if Israel resisted US pressure to settle the conflict, and that number rose to 70 per cent among the ‘politically active’. Indeed, 73 per cent said that the United States should not favour either side.

Yet the administration failed to change Israeli policy, and Washington ended up backing it. Over time, the administration also adopted Israel’s own justifications of its position, so that US rhetoric began to mimic Israeli rhetoric. By February 2003, a Washington Post headline summarised the situation: ‘Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical on Mideast Policy.’ The main reason for this switch was the Lobby.

The story begins in late September 2001, when Bush began urging Sharon to show restraint in the Occupied Territories. He also pressed him to allow Israel’s foreign minister, Shimon Peres, to meet with Yasser Arafat, even though he (Bush) was highly critical of Arafat’s leadership. Bush even said publicly that he supported the creation of a Palestinian state. Alarmed, Sharon accused him of trying ‘to appease the Arabs at our expense’, warning that Israel ‘will not be Czechoslovakia’.

Bush was reportedly furious at being compared to Chamberlain, and the White House press secretary called Sharon’s remarks ‘unacceptable’. Sharon offered a pro forma apology, but quickly joined forces with the Lobby to persuade the administration and the American people that the United States and Israel faced a common threat from terrorism. Israeli officials and Lobby representatives insisted that there was no real difference between Arafat and Osama bin Laden: the United States and Israel, they said, should isolate the Palestinians’ elected leader and have nothing to do with him.

The Lobby also went to work in Congress. On 16 November, 89 senators sent Bush a letter praising him for refusing to meet with Arafat, but also demanding that the US not restrain Israel from retaliating against the Palestinians; the administration, they wrote, must state publicly that it stood behind Israel. According to the New York Times, the letter ‘stemmed’ from a meeting two weeks before between ‘leaders of the American Jewish community and key senators’, adding that AIPAC was ‘particularly active in providing advice on the letter’.

By late November, relations between Tel Aviv and Washington had improved considerably. This was thanks in part to the Lobby’s efforts, but also to America’s initial victory in Afghanistan, which reduced the perceived need for Arab support in dealing with al-Qaida. Sharon visited the White House in early December and had a friendly meeting with Bush.

In April 2002 trouble erupted again, after the IDF launched Operation Defensive Shield and resumed control of virtually all the major Palestinian areas on the West Bank. Bush knew that Israel’s actions would damage America’s image in the Islamic world and undermine the war on terrorism, so he demanded that Sharon ‘halt the incursions and begin withdrawal’. He underscored this message two days later, saying he wanted Israel to ‘withdraw without delay’. On 7 April, Condoleezza Rice, then Bush’s national security adviser, told reporters: ‘“Without delay” means without delay. It means now.’ That same day Colin Powell set out for the Middle East to persuade all sides to stop fighting and start negotiating.

Israel and the Lobby swung into action. Pro-Israel officials in the vice-president’s office and the Pentagon, as well as neo-conservative pundits like Robert Kagan and William Kristol, put the heat on Powell. They even accused him of having ‘virtually obliterated the distinction between terrorists and those fighting terrorists’. Bush himself was being pressed by Jewish leaders and Christian evangelicals. Tom DeLay and Dick Armey were especially outspoken about the need to support Israel, and DeLay and the Senate minority leader, Trent Lott, visited the White House and warned Bush to back off.

The first sign that Bush was caving in came on 11 April – a week after he told Sharon to withdraw his forces – when the White House press secretary said that the president believed Sharon was ‘a man of peace’. Bush repeated this statement publicly on Powell’s return from his abortive mission, and told reporters that Sharon had responded satisfactorily to his call for a full and immediate withdrawal. Sharon had done no such thing, but Bush was no longer willing to make an issue of it.

Meanwhile, Congress was also moving to back Sharon. On 2 May, it overrode the administration’s objections and passed two resolutions reaffirming support for Israel. (The Senate vote was 94 to 2; the House of Representatives version passed 352 to 21.) Both resolutions held that the United States ‘stands in solidarity with Israel’ and that the two countries were, to quote the House resolution, ‘now engaged in a common struggle against terrorism’. The House version also condemned ‘the ongoing support and co-ordination of terror by Yasser Arafat’, who was portrayed as a central part of the terrorism problem. Both resolutions were drawn up with the help of the Lobby. A few days later, a bipartisan congressional delegation on a fact-finding mission to Israel stated that Sharon should resist US pressure to negotiate with Arafat. On 9 May, a House appropriations subcommittee met to consider giving Israel an extra $200 million to fight terrorism. Powell opposed the package, but the Lobby backed it and Powell lost.

In short, Sharon and the Lobby took on the president of the United States and triumphed. Hemi Shalev, a journalist on the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv, reported that Sharon’s aides ‘could not hide their satisfaction in view of Powell’s failure. Sharon saw the whites of President Bush’s eyes, they bragged, and the president blinked first.’ But it was Israel’s champions in the United States, not Sharon or Israel, that played the key role in defeating Bush.

The situation has changed little since then. The Bush administration refused ever again to have dealings with Arafat. After his death, it embraced the new Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas, but has done little to help him. Sharon continued to develop his plan to impose a unilateral settlement on the Palestinians, based on ‘disengagement’ from Gaza coupled with continued expansion on the West Bank. By refusing to negotiate with Abbas and making it impossible for him to deliver tangible benefits to the Palestinian people, Sharon’s strategy contributed directly to Hamas’s electoral victory. With Hamas in power, however, Israel has another excuse not to negotiate. The US administration has supported Sharon’s actions (and those of his successor, Ehud Olmert). Bush has even endorsed unilateral Israeli annexations in the Occupied Territories, reversing the stated policy of every president since Lyndon Johnson.

US officials have offered mild criticisms of a few Israeli actions, but have done little to help create a viable Palestinian state. Sharon has Bush ‘wrapped around his little finger’, the former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft said in October 2004. If Bush tries to distance the US from Israel, or even criticises Israeli actions in the Occupied Territories, he is certain to face the wrath of the Lobby and its supporters in Congress. Democratic presidential candidates understand that these are facts of life, which is the reason John Kerry went to great lengths to display unalloyed support for Israel in 2004, and why Hillary Clinton is doing the same thing today.

Maintaining US support for Israel’s policies against the Palestinians is essential as far as the Lobby is concerned, but its ambitions do not stop there. It also wants America to help Israel remain the dominant regional power. The Israeli government and pro-Israel groups in the United States have worked together to shape the administration’s policy towards Iraq, Syria and Iran, as well as its grand scheme for reordering the Middle East.

Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical. Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this claim. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure. According to Philip Zelikow, a former member of the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and now a counsellor to Condoleezza Rice, the ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The ‘unstated threat’ was the ‘threat against Israel’, Zelikow told an audience at the University of Virginia in September 2002. ‘The American government,’ he added, ‘doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.’

On 16 August 2002, 11 days before Dick Cheney kicked off the campaign for war with a hardline speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Washington Post reported that ‘Israel is urging US officials not to delay a military strike against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.’ By this point, according to Sharon, strategic co-ordination between Israel and the US had reached ‘unprecedented dimensions’, and Israeli intelligence officials had given Washington a variety of alarming reports about Iraq’s WMD programmes. As one retired Israeli general later put it, ‘Israeli intelligence was a full partner to the picture presented by American and British intelligence regarding Iraq’s non-conventional capabilities.’

Israeli leaders were deeply distressed when Bush decided to seek Security Council authorisation for war, and even more worried when Saddam agreed to let UN inspectors back in. ‘The campaign against Saddam Hussein is a must,’ Shimon Peres told reporters in September 2002. ‘Inspections and inspectors are good for decent people, but dishonest people can overcome easily inspections and inspectors.’

At the same time, Ehud Barak wrote a New York Times op-ed warning that ‘the greatest risk now lies in inaction.’ His predecessor as prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, published a similar piece in the Wall Street Journal, entitled: ‘The Case for Toppling Saddam’. ‘Today nothing less than dismantling his regime will do,’ he declared. ‘I believe I speak for the overwhelming majority of Israelis in supporting a pre-emptive strike against Saddam’s regime.’ Or as Ha’aretz reported in February 2003, ‘the military and political leadership yearns for war in Iraq.’

As Netanyahu suggested, however, the desire for war was not confined to Israel’s leaders. Apart from Kuwait, which Saddam invaded in 1990, Israel was the only country in the world where both politicians and public favoured war. As the journalist Gideon Levy observed at the time, ‘Israel is the only country in the West whose leaders support the war unreservedly and where no alternative opinion is voiced.’ In fact, Israelis were so gung-ho that their allies in America told them to damp down their rhetoric, or it would look as if the war would be fought on Israel’s behalf.

Within the US, the main driving force behind the war was a small band of neo-conservatives, many with ties to Likud. But leaders of the Lobby’s major organisations lent their voices to the campaign. ‘As President Bush attempted to sell the . . . war in Iraq,’ the Forward reported, ‘America’s most important Jewish organisations rallied as one to his defence. In statement after statement community leaders stressed the need to rid the world of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.’ The editorial goes on to say that ‘concern for Israel’s safety rightfully factored into the deliberations of the main Jewish groups.’

Although neo-conservatives and other Lobby leaders were eager to invade Iraq, the broader American Jewish community was not. Just after the war started, Samuel Freedman reported that ‘a compilation of nationwide opinion polls by the Pew Research Center shows that Jews are less supportive of the Iraq war than the population at large, 52 per cent to 62 per cent.’ Clearly, it would be wrong to blame the war in Iraq on ‘Jewish influence’. Rather, it was due in large part to the Lobby’s influence, especially that of the neo-conservatives within it.

The neo-conservatives had been determined to topple Saddam even before Bush became president. They caused a stir early in 1998 by publishing two open letters to Clinton, calling for Saddam’s removal from power. The signatories, many of whom had close ties to pro-Israel groups like JINSA or WINEP, and who included Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Bernard Lewis, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, had little trouble persuading the Clinton administration to adopt the general goal of ousting Saddam. But they were unable to sell a war to achieve that objective. They were no more able to generate enthusiasm for invading Iraq in the early months of the Bush administration. They needed help to achieve their aim. That help arrived with 9/11. Specifically, the events of that day led Bush and Cheney to reverse course and become strong proponents of a preventive war.

At a key meeting with Bush at Camp David on 15 September, Wolfowitz advocated attacking Iraq before Afghanistan, even though there was no evidence that Saddam was involved in the attacks on the US and bin Laden was known to be in Afghanistan. Bush rejected his advice and chose to go after Afghanistan instead, but war with Iraq was now regarded as a serious possibility and on 21 November the president charged military planners with developing concrete plans for an invasion.

Other neo-conservatives were meanwhile at work in the corridors of power. We don’t have the full story yet, but scholars like Bernard Lewis of Princeton and Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins reportedly played important roles in persuading Cheney that war was the best option, though neo-conservatives on his staff – Eric Edelman, John Hannah and Scooter Libby, Cheney’s chief of staff and one of the most powerful individuals in the administration – also played their part. By early 2002 Cheney had persuaded Bush; and with Bush and Cheney on board, war was inevitable.

Outside the administration, neo-conservative pundits lost no time in making the case that invading Iraq was essential to winning the war on terrorism. Their efforts were designed partly to keep up the pressure on Bush, and partly to overcome opposition to the war inside and outside the government. On 20 September, a group of prominent neo-conservatives and their allies published another open letter: ‘Even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack,’ it read, ‘any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.’ The letter also reminded Bush that ‘Israel has been and remains America’s staunchest ally against international terrorism.’ In the 1 October issue of the Weekly Standard, Robert Kagan and William Kristol called for regime change in Iraq as soon as the Taliban was defeated. That same day, Charles Krauthammer argued in the Washington Post that after the US was done with Afghanistan, Syria should be next, followed by Iran and Iraq: ‘The war on terrorism will conclude in Baghdad,’ when we finish off ‘the most dangerous terrorist regime in the world’.

This was the beginning of an unrelenting public relations campaign to win support for an invasion of Iraq, a crucial part of which was the manipulation of intelligence in such a way as to make it seem as if Saddam posed an imminent threat. For example, Libby pressured CIA analysts to find evidence supporting the case for war and helped prepare Colin Powell’s now discredited briefing to the UN Security Council. Within the Pentagon, the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group was charged with finding links between al-Qaida and Iraq that the intelligence community had supposedly missed. Its two key members were David Wurmser, a hard-core neo-conservative, and Michael Maloof, a Lebanese-American with close ties to Perle. Another Pentagon group, the so-called Office of Special Plans, was given the task of uncovering evidence that could be used to sell the war. It was headed by Abram Shulsky, a neo-conservative with long-standing ties to Wolfowitz, and its ranks included recruits from pro-Israel think tanks. Both these organisations were created after 9/11 and reported directly to Douglas Feith.

Like virtually all the neo-conservatives, Feith is deeply committed to Israel; he also has long-term ties to Likud. He wrote articles in the 1990s supporting the settlements and arguing that Israel should retain the Occupied Territories. More important, along with Perle and Wurmser, he wrote the famous ‘Clean Break’ report in June 1996 for Netanyahu, who had just become prime minister. Among other things, it recommended that Netanyahu ‘focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq – an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right’. It also called for Israel to take steps to reorder the entire Middle East. Netanyahu did not follow their advice, but Feith, Perle and Wurmser were soon urging the Bush administration to pursue those same goals. The Ha’aretzcolumnist Akiva Eldar warned that Feith and Perle ‘are walking a fine line between their loyalty to American governments . . . and Israeli interests’.

Wolfowitz is equally committed to Israel. The Forward once described him as ‘the most hawkishly pro-Israel voice in the administration’, and selected him in 2002 as first among 50 notables who ‘have consciously pursued Jewish activism’. At about the same time, JINSA gave Wolfowitz its Henry M. Jackson Distinguished Service Award for promoting a strong partnership between Israel and the United States; and the Jerusalem Post, describing him as ‘devoutly pro-Israel’, named him ‘Man of the Year’ in 2003.

Finally, a brief word is in order about the neo-conservatives’ prewar support of Ahmed Chalabi, the unscrupulous Iraqi exile who headed the Iraqi National Congress. They backed Chalabi because he had established close ties with Jewish-American groups and had pledged to foster good relations with Israel once he gained power. This was precisely what pro-Israel proponents of regime change wanted to hear. Matthew Berger laid out the essence of the bargain in the Jewish Journal: ‘The INC saw improved relations as a way to tap Jewish influence in Washington and Jerusalem and to drum up increased support for its cause. For their part, the Jewish groups saw an opportunity to pave the way for better relations between Israel and Iraq, if and when the INC is involved in replacing Saddam Hussein’s regime.’

Given the neo-conservatives’ devotion to Israel, their obsession with Iraq, and their influence in the Bush administration, it isn’t surprising that many Americans suspected that the war was designed to further Israeli interests. Last March, Barry Jacobs of the American Jewish Committee acknowledged that the belief that Israel and the neo-conservatives had conspired to get the US into a war in Iraq was ‘pervasive’ in the intelligence community. Yet few people would say so publicly, and most of those who did – including Senator Ernest Hollings and Representative James Moran – were condemned for raising the issue. Michael Kinsley wrote in late 2002 that ‘the lack of public discussion about the role of Israel . . . is the proverbial elephant in the room.’ The reason for the reluctance to talk about it, he observed, was fear of being labelled an anti-semite. There is little doubt that Israel and the Lobby were key factors in the decision to go to war. It’s a decision the US would have been far less likely to take without their efforts. And the war itself was intended to be only the first step. A front-page headline in the Wall Street Journal shortly after the war began says it all: ‘President’s Dream: Changing Not Just Regime but a Region: A Pro-US, Democratic Area Is a Goal that Has Israeli and Neo-Conservative Roots.’

Pro-Israel forces have long been interested in getting the US military more directly involved in the Middle East. But they had limited success during the Cold War, because America acted as an ‘off-shore balancer’ in the region. Most forces designated for the Middle East, like the Rapid Deployment Force, were kept ‘over the horizon’ and out of harm’s way. The idea was to play local powers off against each other – which is why the Reagan administration supported Saddam against revolutionary Iran during the Iran-Iraq War – in order to maintain a balance favourable to the US.

This policy changed after the first Gulf War, when the Clinton administration adopted a strategy of ‘dual containment’. Substantial US forces would be stationed in the region in order to contain both Iran and Iraq, instead of one being used to check the other. The father of dual containment was none other than Martin Indyk, who first outlined the strategy in May 1993 at WINEP and then implemented it as director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council.

By the mid-1990s there was considerable dissatisfaction with dual containment, because it made the United States the mortal enemy of two countries that hated each other, and forced Washington to bear the burden of containing both. But it was a strategy the Lobby favoured and worked actively in Congress to preserve. Pressed by AIPAC and other pro-Israel forces, Clinton toughened up the policy in the spring of 1995 by imposing an economic embargo on Iran. But AIPAC and the others wanted more. The result was the 1996 Iran and Libya Sanctions Act, which imposed sanctions on any foreign companies investing more than $40 million to develop petroleum resources in Iran or Libya. As Ze’ev Schiff, the military correspondent of Ha’aretz, noted at the time, ‘Israel is but a tiny element in the big scheme, but one should not conclude that it cannot influence those within the Beltway.’

By the late 1990s, however, the neo-conservatives were arguing that dual containment was not enough and that regime change in Iraq was essential. By toppling Saddam and turning Iraq into a vibrant democracy, they argued, the US would trigger a far-reaching process of change throughout the Middle East. The same line of thinking was evident in the ‘Clean Break’ study the neo-conservatives wrote for Netanyahu. By 2002, when an invasion of Iraq was on the front-burner, regional transformation was an article of faith in neo-conservative circles.

Charles Krauthammer describes this grand scheme as the brainchild of Natan Sharansky, but Israelis across the political spectrum believed that toppling Saddam would alter the Middle East to Israel’s advantage. Aluf Benn reported in Ha’aretz (17 February 2003):

Senior IDF officers and those close to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, such as National Security Adviser Ephraim Halevy, paint a rosy picture of the wonderful future Israel can expect after the war. They envision a domino effect, with the fall of Saddam Hussein followed by that of Israel’s other enemies . . . Along with these leaders will disappear terror and weapons of mass destruction.

Once Baghdad fell in mid-April 2003, Sharon and his lieutenants began urging Washington to target Damascus. On 16 April, Sharon, interviewed in Yedioth Ahronoth, called for the United States to put ‘very heavy’ pressure on Syria, while Shaul Mofaz, his defence minister, interviewed in Ma’ariv, said: ‘We have a long list of issues that we are thinking of demanding of the Syrians and it is appropriate that it should be done through the Americans.’ Ephraim Halevy told a WINEP audience that it was now important for the US to get rough with Syria, and the Washington Post reported that Israel was ‘fuelling the campaign’ against Syria by feeding the US intelligence reports about the actions of Bashar Assad, the Syrian president.

Prominent members of the Lobby made the same arguments. Wolfowitz declared that ‘there has got to be regime change in Syria,’ and Richard Perle told a journalist that ‘a short message, a two-worded message’ could be delivered to other hostile regimes in the Middle East: ‘You’re next.’ In early April, WINEP released a bipartisan report stating that Syria ‘should not miss the message that countries that pursue Saddam’s reckless, irresponsible and defiant behaviour could end up sharing his fate’. On 15 April, Yossi Klein Halevi wrote a piece in the Los Angeles Times entitled ‘Next, Turn the Screws on Syria’, while the following day Zev Chafets wrote an article for the New York Daily News entitled ‘Terror-Friendly Syria Needs a Change, Too’. Not to be outdone, Lawrence Kaplan wrote in the New Republic on 21 April that Assad was a serious threat to America.

Back on Capitol Hill, Congressman Eliot Engel had reintroduced the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act. It threatened sanctions against Syria if it did not withdraw from Lebanon, give up its WMD and stop supporting terrorism, and it also called for Syria and Lebanon to take concrete steps to make peace with Israel. This legislation was strongly endorsed by the Lobby – by AIPAC especially – and ‘framed’, according to the Jewish Telegraph Agency, ‘by some of Israel’s best friends in Congress’. The Bush administration had little enthusiasm for it, but the anti-Syrian act passed overwhelmingly (398 to 4 in the House; 89 to 4 in the Senate), and Bush signed it into law on 12 December 2003.

The administration itself was still divided about the wisdom of targeting Syria. Although the neo-conservatives were eager to pick a fight with Damascus, the CIA and the State Department were opposed to the idea. And even after Bush signed the new law, he emphasised that he would go slowly in implementing it. His ambivalence is understandable. First, the Syrian government had not only been providing important intelligence about al-Qaida since 9/11: it had also warned Washington about a planned terrorist attack in the Gulf and given CIA interrogators access to Mohammed Zammar, the alleged recruiter of some of the 9/11 hijackers. Targeting the Assad regime would jeopardise these valuable connections, and thereby undermine the larger war on terrorism.

Second, Syria had not been on bad terms with Washington before the Iraq war (it had even voted for UN Resolution 1441), and was itself no threat to the United States. Playing hardball with it would make the US look like a bully with an insatiable appetite for beating up Arab states. Third, putting Syria on the hit list would give Damascus a powerful incentive to cause trouble in Iraq. Even if one wanted to bring pressure to bear, it made good sense to finish the job in Iraq first. Yet Congress insisted on putting the screws on Damascus, largely in response to pressure from Israeli officials and groups like AIPAC. If there were no Lobby, there would have been no Syria Accountability Act, and US policy towards Damascus would have been more in line with the national interest.

Israelis tend to describe every threat in the starkest terms, but Iran is widely seen as their most dangerous enemy because it is the most likely to acquire nuclear weapons. Virtually all Israelis regard an Islamic country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons as a threat to their existence. ‘Iraq is a problem . . . But you should understand, if you ask me, today Iran is more dangerous than Iraq,’ the defence minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, remarked a month before the Iraq war.

Sharon began pushing the US to confront Iran in November 2002, in an interview in the Times. Describing Iran as the ‘centre of world terror’, and bent on acquiring nuclear weapons, he declared that the Bush administration should put the strong arm on Iran ‘the day after’ it conquered Iraq. In late April 2003, Ha’aretz reported that the Israeli ambassador in Washington was calling for regime change in Iran. The overthrow of Saddam, he noted, was ‘not enough’. In his words, America ‘has to follow through. We still have great threats of that magnitude coming from Syria, coming from Iran.’

The neo-conservatives, too, lost no time in making the case for regime change in Tehran. On 6 May, the AEI co-sponsored an all-day conference on Iran with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the Hudson Institute, both champions of Israel. The speakers were all strongly pro-Israel, and many called for the US to replace the Iranian regime with a democracy. As usual, a bevy of articles by prominent neo-conservatives made the case for going after Iran. ‘The liberation of Iraq was the first great battle for the future of the Middle East . . . But the next great battle – not, we hope, a military battle – will be for Iran,’ William Kristol wrote in the Weekly Standard on 12 May.

The administration has responded to the Lobby’s pressure by working overtime to shut down Iran’s nuclear programme. But Washington has had little success, and Iran seems determined to create a nuclear arsenal. As a result, the Lobby has intensified its pressure. Op-eds and other articles now warn of imminent dangers from a nuclear Iran, caution against any appeasement of a ‘terrorist’ regime, and hint darkly of preventive action should diplomacy fail. The Lobby is pushing Congress to approve the Iran Freedom Support Act, which would expand existing sanctions. Israeli officials also warn they may take pre-emptive action should Iran continue down the nuclear road, threats partly intended to keep Washington’s attention on the issue.

One might argue that Israel and the Lobby have not had much influence on policy towards Iran, because the US has its own reasons for keeping Iran from going nuclear. There is some truth in this, but Iran’s nuclear ambitions do not pose a direct threat to the US. If Washington could live with a nuclear Soviet Union, a nuclear China or even a nuclear North Korea, it can live with a nuclear Iran. And that is why the Lobby must keep up constant pressure on politicians to confront Tehran. Iran and the US would hardly be allies if the Lobby did not exist, but US policy would be more temperate and preventive war would not be a serious option.

It is not surprising that Israel and its American supporters want the US to deal with any and all threats to Israel’s security. If their efforts to shape US policy succeed, Israel’s enemies will be weakened or overthrown, Israel will get a free hand with the Palestinians, and the US will do most of the fighting, dying, rebuilding and paying. But even if the US fails to transform the Middle East and finds itself in conflict with an increasingly radicalised Arab and Islamic world, Israel will end up protected by the world’s only superpower. This is not a perfect outcome from the Lobby’s point of view, but it is obviously preferable to Washington distancing itself, or using its leverage to force Israel to make peace with the Palestinians.

Can the Lobby’s power be curtailed? One would like to think so, given the Iraq debacle, the obvious need to rebuild America’s image in the Arab and Islamic world, and the recent revelations about AIPAC officials passing US government secrets to Israel. One might also think that Arafat’s death and the election of the more moderate Mahmoud Abbas would cause Washington to press vigorously and even-handedly for a peace agreement. In short, there are ample grounds for leaders to distance themselves from the Lobby and adopt a Middle East policy more consistent with broader US interests. In particular, using American power to achieve a just peace between Israel and the Palestinians would help advance the cause of democracy in the region.

But that is not going to happen – not soon anyway. AIPAC and its allies (including Christian Zionists) have no serious opponents in the lobbying world. They know it has become more difficult to make Israel’s case today, and they are responding by taking on staff and expanding their activities. Besides, American politicians remain acutely sensitive to campaign contributions and other forms of political pressure, and major media outlets are likely to remain sympathetic to Israel no matter what it does.

The Lobby’s influence causes trouble on several fronts. It increases the terrorist danger that all states face – including America’s European allies. It has made it impossible to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a situation that gives extremists a powerful recruiting tool, increases the pool of potential terrorists and sympathisers, and contributes to Islamic radicalism in Europe and Asia.

Equally worrying, the Lobby’s campaign for regime change in Iran and Syria could lead the US to attack those countries, with potentially disastrous effects. We don’t need another Iraq. At a minimum, the Lobby’s hostility towards Syria and Iran makes it almost impossible for Washington to enlist them in the struggle against al-Qaida and the Iraqi insurgency, where their help is badly needed.

There is a moral dimension here as well. Thanks to the Lobby, the United States has become the de facto enabler of Israeli expansion in the Occupied Territories, making it complicit in the crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians. This situation undercuts Washington’s efforts to promote democracy abroad and makes it look hypocritical when it presses other states to respect human rights. US efforts to limit nuclear proliferation appear equally hypocritical given its willingness to accept Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which only encourages Iran and others to seek a similar capability.

Besides, the Lobby’s campaign to quash debate about Israel is unhealthy for democracy. Silencing sceptics by organising blacklists and boycotts – or by suggesting that critics are anti-semites – violates the principle of open debate on which democracy depends. The inability of Congress to conduct a genuine debate on these important issues paralyses the entire process of democratic deliberation. Israel’s backers should be free to make their case and to challenge those who disagree with them, but efforts to stifle debate by intimidation must be roundly condemned.

Finally, the Lobby’s influence has been bad for Israel. Its ability to persuade Washington to support an expansionist agenda has discouraged Israel from seizing opportunities – including a peace treaty with Syria and a prompt and full implementation of the Oslo Accords – that would have saved Israeli lives and shrunk the ranks of Palestinian extremists. Denying the Palestinians their legitimate political rights certainly has not made Israel more secure, and the long campaign to kill or marginalise a generation of Palestinian leaders has empowered extremist groups like Hamas, and reduced the number of Palestinian leaders who would be willing to accept a fair settlement and able to make it work. Israel itself would probably be better off if the Lobby were less powerful and US policy more even-handed.

There is a ray of hope, however. Although the Lobby remains a powerful force, the adverse effects of its influence are increasingly difficult to hide. Powerful states can maintain flawed policies for quite some time, but reality cannot be ignored for ever. What is needed is a candid discussion of the Lobby’s influence and a more open debate about US interests in this vital region. Israel’s well-being is one of those interests, but its continued occupation of the West Bank and its broader regional agenda are not. Open debate will expose the limits of the strategic and moral case for one-sided US support and could move the US to a position more consistent with its own national interest, with the interests of the other states in the region, and with Israel’s long-term interests as well.

 

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on The Israel Lobby

Has the Jewish Lobby Destroyed Americans’ First Amendment Rights?


NOVANEWS

Has the Israel Lobby Destroyed Americans’ First Amendment Rights?

The Israel Lobby has shown its power over Americans’ perceptions and ability to exercise free speech via its influence in media, entertainment and ability to block university tenure appointments, such as those of Norman Finkelstein and Steven Salaita. Indeed, the power of the Israel Lobby is today so widely recognized and feared that editors, producers, and tenure committees anticipate the lobby’s objections in advance and avoid writers, subjects, and professors judged unacceptable to the lobby.

The latest example is The American Conservative’s firing of former CIA case officer Philip Giraldi.  Giraldi wrote an article for the Unz Review about Israel’s influence over American foreign policy in the Middle East.  The article didn’t say anything that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz hadn’t said already. The editor of The American Conservative, where Giraldi had been a contributor for a decade and a half, was terrified that the magazine was associated with a critic of Israel and quickly terminated the relationship. Such abject cowardice as the editor of The American Conservative showed is a true measure of the power of the Israel Lobby.

Many seasoned experts believe that without the influence of the Israel Lobby, particularly as exerted by the Jewish Neoconservatives, the United States would not have been at war in the Middle East and North Africa for the last 16 years. These wars have done nothing for the US but harm, and they have cost taxpayers trillions of dollars and caused extensive death and destruction in seven countries and a massive refugee flow into Europe.

For a superpower such as the United States not to be in control of its own foreign policy is a serious matter. Giraldi is correct and patriotic to raise this concern. Giraldi makes sensible recommendations for correcting Washington’s lack of control over its own policy. But instead of analysis and debate the result is Giraldi’s punishment by an editor of a conservative publication anticipating the Israel Lobby’s wishes.

Americans should think about the fact that Israel is the only country on earth that it is impermissible to criticize. Anyone who criticizes Israeli policy, especially toward the Palestinians, or remarks on Israel’s influence, is branded an “anti-Semite.” Even mild critics who are trying to steer Israel away from making mistakes, such as former President Jimmy Carter, are branded “anti-Semites.”  

The Israel Lobby’s purpose in labeling a critic an “anti-Semite” is to discredit the criticism as an expression of dislike or hatred of Jews. In other words, the criticism is presented as merely an expression of the person’s aversion to Jewishness. A persistent critic is likely to be charged with trying to incite a new holocaust.  

It is possible to criticize the policy of Germany, France, Spain, UK, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, China, Iran, the US, indeed, every other country without being called anti-German, Anti-French, Anti-British, Anti-American, etc., although US policy in the Middle East is so closely aligned with Israel’s that the Israel Lobby regards critics of US Middle East policy as hostile to Israel. Despite the failures of US policy, it is getting more and more difficult to criticize it without the risk of being branded “unpatriotic,” and possibly even a “Muslim sympathizer” and “anti-Semite.”

Screengrab: Trump speaks before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Source: The American Conservative)

The power of the Israel Lobby is seen in many places. For example, the US Congress demands that RT, a news service, register as a Russian agent, but AIPAC, before whom every year the US Congress pays its homage and submission, does not have to register as an Israeli agent.

The many anomalies in the Israel Lobby’s power pass unremarked. For example, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) defines criticism of Israeli policies as defamation and brands critics “anti-Semites.” In other words, the ADL itself is set up in the business of defamation or name-calling. The incongruity of an organization created to oppose defamation engaging in defamation as its sole purpose passes unremarked.

Israel is very proud of its power over the United States. Israeli political leaders have a history of bragging about their power over America. But if an American complains about it, he is a Jew-hater. The only safe way for an American to call attention to the power Israel has over the US is to brag about it. It is OK to acknowledge Israel’s power if you put it in a good light, but not if you complain about it.

So, let me put it this way: Israel’s unique ability to discredit all criticism of its policies as a mere expression of anti-Jewish sentiment is the greatest public relations success in the history of PR. The stupidity of the goy is easily overcome by the more capable Jew. Hats off to Israel for outwitting the dumbshit Americans and taking over their foreign policy. Perhaps Israel should take over US domestic policy as well. Or have they already? It has been 30 years since the Federal Reserve has had a non-Jewish Chairman, and for the past three years Stanley Fischer, the former chairman of the Central Bank of Israel, has been Vice Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Since the Clinton regime, the Treasury Secretaries have been predominately Jewish. We can say that their financial talent makes them natural candidates for these positions, but it is disingenuous to deny the influence of this small minority in American life. This influence becomes a problem when it is used to silence free speech.?

Here is Giraldi:


How I Got Fired

October 03, 2017 “The Unz Review” – 

Two weeks ago, I wrote for Unz.com an article entitled “America’s Jews Are Driving America’s Wars.” It sought to make several points concerning the consequences of Jewish political power vis-à-vis some aspects of U.S. foreign policy. It noted that some individual American Jews and organizations with close ties to Israel, whom I named and identified, are greatly disproportionately represented in the government, media, foundations, think tanks and lobbying that is part and parcel of the deliberations that lead to formulation of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Inevitably, those policies are skewed to represent Israeli interests and do serious damage to genuine American equities in the region. This tilt should not necessarily surprise anyone who has been paying attention and was noted by Nathan Glazer, among others, as long ago as 1976.

The end result of Israel centric policymaking in Washington is to produce negotiators like Dennis Ross, who consistently supported Israeli positions in peace talks, so much so that he was referred to as “Israel’s lawyer.” It also can result in wars, which is of particular concern given the current level of hostility being generated by these same individuals and organizations relating to Iran. This group of Israel advocates is as responsible as any other body in the United States for the deaths of thousands of Americans and literally millions of mostly Muslim foreigners in unnecessary wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. It has also turned the U.S. into an active accomplice in the brutal suppression of the Palestinians. That they have never expressed any remorse or regret and the fact that the deaths and suffering don’t seem to matter to them are clear indictments of the sheer inhumanity of the positions they embrace.

The claims that America’s Middle Eastern wars have been fought for Israel are not an anti-Semitic delusion. Some observers, including former high government official Philip Zelikow, believe that Iraq was attacked by the U.S. in 2003 to protect Israel. On April 3rd, just as the war was starting, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz headlined “The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history.” It then went on to describe how “In the course of the past year, a new belief has emerged in [Washington]: the belief in war against Iraq. That ardent faith was disseminated by a small group of 25 or 30 neoconservatives, almost all of them Jewish, almost all of them intellectuals (a partial list: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Eliot Abrams, Charles Krauthammer), people who are mutual friends and cultivate one another.”

And the deference to a Jewish proprietary interest in Middle Eastern policy produces U.S. Ambassadors to Israel who are more comfortable explaining Israeli positions than in supporting American interests. David Friedman, the current Ambassador, spoke last week defending illegal Israeli settlements, which are contrary to official U.S. policy, arguing that they represented only 2% of the West Bank. He did not mention that the land controlled by Israel, to include a security zone, actually represents 60% of the total area.

My suggestion for countering the overrepresentation of a special interest in policy formulation was to avoid putting Jewish government officials in that position by, insofar as possible, not giving them assignments relating to policy in the Middle East. As I noted in my article, that was, in fact, the norm regarding Ambassadors and senior foreign service assignments to Israel prior to 1995, when Bill Clinton broke precedent by appointing Australian citizen Martin Indyk to the position. I think, on balance, it is eminently sensible to avoid putting people in jobs where they will likely have conflicts of interest.

Another solution that I suggested for American Jews who are strongly attached to Israel and find themselves in a position that considers policy for that country and its neighbors would be to recuse themselves from the deliberations, just as a judge who finds himself personally involved in a judicial proceeding might withdraw. It would seem to me that, depending on the official’s actual relationship with Israel, it would be a clear conflict of interest to do otherwise.

The argument that such an individual could protect American interests while also having a high level of concern for a foreign nation with contrary interests is at best questionable. As George Washington observed in his farewell address, “…a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification…”

My article proved to be quite popular, particularly after former CIA officer Valerie Plame tweeted her approval of it and was viciously and repeatedly attacked, resulting in a string of abject apologies on her part. As a reasonably well-known public figure, Plame attracted a torrent of negative press, in which I, as the author of the piece being tweeted, was also identified and excoriated. In every corner of the mainstream media I was called “a well-known anti-Semite,” “a long time anti-Israel fanatic,” and, ironically, “a somewhat obscure character.”

The widespread criticism actually proved to be excellent in terms of generating real interest in my article. Many people apparently wanted to read it even though some of the attacks against me and Plame deliberately did not provide a link to it to discourage such activity. As of this writing, it has been opened and viewed 130,000 times and commented on 1,250 times. Most of the comments were favorable. Some of my older pieces, including The Dancing Israelis and Why I Still Dislike Israel have also found a new and significant readership as a result of the furor.

One of the implications of my original article was that Jewish advocacy groups in the United States are disproportionately powerful, capable of using easy access to the media and to compliant politicians to shape policies that are driven by tribal considerations and not necessarily by the interests of most of the American people. Professors John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, in their groundbreaking book “The Israel Lobby”, observed how the billions of dollars given to Israel annually “cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds… {and] is due largely to the activities of the Israel lobby—a loose coalition of individuals and organizations who openly work to push U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction.”

Those same powerful interests are systematically protected from criticism or reprisal by constantly renewed claims of historic and seemingly perpetual victimhood. But within the Jewish community and media, that same Jewish power is frequently exalted. It manifests itself in boasting about the many Jews who have obtained high office or who have achieved notoriety in the professions and in business. In a recent speech, Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz put it this way, “People say Jews are too powerful, too strong, too rich, we control the media, we’ve too much this, too much that and we often apologetically deny our strength and our power. Don’t do that! We have earned the right to influence public debate, we have earned the right to be heard, we have contributed disproportionately to success of this country.” He has also discussed punishing critics of Israel, “Anyone that does [that] has to be treated with economic consequences. We have to hit them in the pocketbook. Don’t ever, ever be embarrassed about using Jewish power. Jewish power, whether it be intellectual, academic, economic, political– in the interest of justice is the right thing to do.”

My article, in fact, began with an explanation of that one aspect of Jewish power, its ability to promote Israeli interests freely and even openly while simultaneously silencing critics. I described how any individual or “any organization that aspires to be heard on foreign policy knows that to touch the live wire of Israel and American Jews guarantees a quick trip to obscurity. Jewish groups and deep pocket individual donors not only control the politicians, they own and run the media and entertainment industries, meaning that no one will hear about or from the offending party ever again.”

With that in mind, I should have expected that there would be a move made to “silence” me. It came three days after my article appeared. The Editor of The American Conservative (TAC) magazine and website, where I have been a regular and highly rated contributor for nearly 15 years, called me and abruptly announced that even though my article had appeared on another site, it had been deemed unacceptable and TAC would have to sever its relationship with me. I called him a coward and he replied that he was not.

I do not know exactly who on the TAC board decided to go after me. Several board members who are good friends apparently were not even informed about what was going on when firing me was under consideration. I do not know whether someone coming from outside the board applied pressure in any way, but there is certainly a long history of friends of Israel being able to remove individuals who have offended against the established narrative, recently exemplified by the hounding of now-ex-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel who had the temerity to state that “the Jewish lobby intimidates lots of people” in Washington. As Gilad Atzmon has observed one of the most notable features of Jewish power is the ability to stifle any discussion of Jewish power by gentiles.

But the defenestration by TAC, which I will survive, also contains a certain irony. The magazine was co-founded in 2002 by Pat Buchanan and the article by him that effectively launched the publication in the following year was something called “Whose War?” Buchanan’s initial paragraphs tell the tale:

“The War Party may have gotten its war. But it has also gotten something it did not bargain for. Its membership lists and associations have been exposed and its motives challenged. In a rare moment in U.S. journalism, Tim Russert put this question directly to Richard Perle: ‘Can you assure American viewers … that we’re in this situation against Saddam Hussein and his removal for American security interests? And what would be the link in terms of Israel?’ Suddenly, the Israeli connection is on the table, and the War Party is not amused. Finding themselves in an unanticipated firefight, our neoconservative friends are doing what comes naturally, seeking student deferments from political combat by claiming the status of a persecuted minority group. People who claim to be writing the foreign policy of the world superpower, one would think, would be a little more manly in the schoolyard of politics. Not so. Former Wall Street Journal editor Max Boot kicked off the campaign. When these ‘Buchananites toss around neoconservative—and cite names like Wolfowitz and Cohen—it sometimes sounds as if what they really mean is ‘Jewish conservative.’ Yet Boot readily concedes that a passionate attachment to Israel is a ‘key tenet of neoconservatism.’ He also claims that the National Security Strategy of President Bush ‘sounds as if it could have come straight out from the pages of Commentary magazine, the neocon bible.’ (For the uninitiated, Commentary, the bible in which Boot seeks divine guidance, is the monthly of the American Jewish Committee.)”

Pat is right on the money. He was pretty much describing the same group that I have written about and raising the same concern, i.e. that the process had led to an unnecessary war and will lead to more unless it is stopped by exposing and marginalizing those behind it. Pat was, like me, called an anti-Semite and even worse for his candor. And guess what? The group that started the war that has since been deemed the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history is still around and they are singing the same old song.

And TAC has not always been so sensitive to certain apparently unacceptable viewpoints, even in my case. I write frequently about Israel because I believe it and its supporters to be a malign influence on the United States and a threat to national security. In June 2008, I wrote a piece called “The Spy Who Loves Us” about Israeli espionage against the U.S. It was featured on the cover of the magazine and it included a comment about the tribal instincts of some American Jews: “In 1996, ten years after the agreement that concluded the [Jonathan] Pollard [Israeli spying] affair, the Pentagon’s Defense Investigative Service warned defense contractors that Israel had ‘espionage intentions and capabilities’ here and was aggressively trying to steal military and intelligence secrets. It also cited a security threat posed by individuals who have ‘strong ethnic ties’ to Israel, stating that ‘Placing Israeli nationals in key industries is a technique utilized with great success.’”

Three days later, another shoe dropped. I was supposed to speak at a panel discussion critical of Saudi Arabia on October 2nd. The organizer, the Frontiers of Freedom foundation, emailed me to say my services would no longer be required because “the conference will not be a success if we get sidetracked into debating, discussing, or defending the substance of your writings on Israel.”

Last Saturday morning, Facebook blocked access to my article for a time because it “contained a banned word.” I can safely assume that such blockages will continue and that invitations to speak at anti-war or foreign policy events will be in short supply from now on as fearful organizers avoid any possible confrontation with Israel’s many friends.

Would I do something different if I were to write my article again today? Yes. I would have made clearer that I was not writing about all or most American Jews, many of whom are active in the peace movement and, like my good friend Jeff Blankfort and Glenn Greenwald, even figure among the leading critics of Israel. My target was the individuals and Jewish “establishment” groups I specifically named, that I consider to be the activists for war. And I refer to them as “Jews” rather than neoconservatives or Zionists as some of them don’t identify by those political labels while to blame developments on Zios or neocons is a bit of an evasion in any event. Writing “neoconservatives” suggests some kind of fringe or marginal group, but we are actually talking about nearly all major Jewish organizations and many community leaders.

Many, possibly even most, Jewish organizations in the United States openly state that they represent the interests of the state of Israel. The crowd stoking fears of Iran is largely Jewish and is, without exception, responsive to the frequently expressed desires of the self-defined Jewish state to have the United States initiate hostilities. This often means supporting the false claim that Tehran poses a serious threat against the U.S. as a pretext for armed conflict. Shouldn’t that “Jewish” reality be on the table for consideration when one is discussing the issue of war versus peace in America?

When all is said and done the punishment that has been meted out to me and Valerie Plame proves my point. The friends of Israel rule by coercion, intimidation and through fear. If we suffer through a catastrophic war with Iran fought to placate Benjamin Netanyahu many people might begin to ask “Why?” But identifying the real cause would involve criticism of what some American Jews have been doing, which is not only fraught with consequences, but is something that also will possibly become illegal thanks to Congressional attempts to criminalize such activity. We Americans will stand by mutely as we begin to wonder what has happened to our country. And some who are more perceptive will even begin to ask why a tiny client state has been allowed to manipulate and bring ruin on the world’s only super power. Unfortunately, at that point, it will be too late to do anything about it.

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Zionist Pro-‘Israel’ activists thrown out of UK Parliament


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Two Zionist pro-I$rahell activists were removed from the House of Lords during a pro-Palestinian event for breaching Houses of Parliament rules and regulations on Wednesday.

Pro-I$raHell  Zionist activist and journalist Jerry Lewis and Jonathan Hoffman were removed by police after refusing repeated requests to switch off their recording device by Lord Warner, who was chairing the event.

The meeting was organised by the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), a London based Palestinian advocacy group, under the heading: “Balfour Declaration, no marking, no celebration, it is an apology”.

PRC representative, Sameh Habeeb, informed MEMO that the Zionist parliamentary correspondent, Jerry Lewis “broke into the meeting”. Habeeb said that this was an invitation only event and guests were requested to confirm their attendance prior to the meeting.

The organisers say that they had to be extra vigilant following the misrepresentation of their previous meeting in October by members of the pro-Zionist lobby who accused the chair, Baroness Jenny Tonge, of ‘anti-Semitism’.

A parliamentary inquiry committee at the British House of Commons, however, acquitted Tonge of anti-Semitism.

Habeeb said that Lewis, who has a parliamentary accreditation as a journalist, was not invited to the meeting but he came in middle of the seminar and switched on his recording device, even though it was a violation of the rules of the Parliamentary Estate.

To record, Zionist Lewis needed permission from the event chair and the Black Rod office, which he failed to do.

Following his refusal to turn the camera off, police confiscated his Parliament Press pass and led him out of the building.

Zionist Hoffman was also requested to leave the meeting for his disruptive and disrespectful conduct towards the chair. He also used abusive language against Lord Warner and event’s audience.

Zionist Hoffman has a history of attending pro-Palestinian meetings in order to cause disruption.

In their press release, the PRC commended Lord Warner and asked all participants to respect the rules of the House.

The Centre also believes that pro-Zionist activists are attempting to sabotage discussions and freedom of expression in the UK by constant smear campaigns, lies and misinformation.

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Will Trump apply the “America First” principle to the Nazi regime?


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Will Trump apply the “America First” principle to the Israeli regime?

If Trump wants to be “the president of a safe country,” then he has to protect America from a bloodthirsty country that has devoured innocent men, women and children in the Middle East.

Dear Trump: “America First” or Israel First? The answer to that question will make a profound statement about you personally.
It has been reported that Trump is trying to develop a series of “safe zones” in Syria in order to make things easier for the people who are currently suffering in the region.[1] Trump rightly thinks that the Syrian war has created total disaster in Europe as well. He said:

“I’ll absolutely do safe zones in Syria for the people. I think that Europe has made a tremendous mistake by allowing these millions of people to go into Germany and various other countries. And all you have to do is take a look. It’s… it’s a disaster what’s happening over there. I don’t want that to happen here [the US].”[2]

Sure, Europe has certainly made a categorical error, but what fueled that error? Was the six-trillion dollar war an accident? Or was there a specific entity that actually lit the fire in the region?

You see, Trump does not want to go that far because the answer will inexorably lead him to the Israeli regime, which Trump himself has vowed to support.

The Syrian war could have ended overnight if serious politicians in Washington has manned up and told the Israeli regime that they would no longer support their essentially Talmudic maneuvering.

And here again Trump’s “America First” is a room full of smoke precisely because Trump does not want to criticize or challenge the Israeli regime, the very entity that seeks perpetual wars all over the Middle East. If Trump wants to be “the president of a safe country,” then he has to protect America from a bloodthirsty country that has devoured innocent men, women and children in the Middle East.

The Trump administration has recently stopped “hundreds of millions of dollars in assets that the Obama administration previously authorized for the Palestinians in President Obama’s final days in office.”[3]

The money was supposed to be sent to places like the West Bank and Gaza in order to help the largely poor and dehumanized population there. Ari Lieberman of the Neocon magazine FrontPage quickly put out a ridiculous article saying that Obama sends $221 million to terrorist-funding Palestinian Authority.” David Horowitz, the founder of the same magazine, has just come out and declared that Obama is an anti-Semite.

We can ignore people like Lieberman and Horowitz because they will never get to the heart of the issue. The central question that neither Trump nor Lieberman will ever answer in a rational fashion is that we are pouring at least $3 billion every single year to Israel! Is this really helping the “America First” principle? And who’s going to stop that diabolical enterprise?

It has also been reported that if the UN recognizes a Palestinian State, the Trump administration will cut their funding by 40 percent.[4] If Trump wants to reduce the amount of money we spend in the Middle East, fine.

But how again can he look at reasonable people in the eye and continue to pour at least $3 billion to the state of Israel each year? How can the Israeli regime continue to steal lands while Trump is being completely silent? The Gaza water shortage is still a disaster,[5] and as Israeli historian Ilan Pappe would have argued, it is “the biggest prison on earth.” Nothing has been said about this.


Now Trump is marshalling a bogus argument with respect to the Iraq war and the oil. “We should’ve kept the oil when we got out,” he said.

“And, you know, it’s very interesting, had we taken the oil, you wouldn’t have ISIS because they fuel themselves with the oil. That’s where they got the money. They got the money […] when we left, we left Iraq, which wasn’t a government.

“We created a vacuum and ISIS formed. But had we taken the oil something else very good would’ve happened. They would not have been able to fuel their rather unbelievable drive to destroy large portions of the world,”[6]

He’s got to be kidding. What we are seeing here is that Trump is implicitly articulating some of the unspoken premises of the capitalist system, which always seeks to feast on other people’s wealth and labor. Trump said: “If we took the oil you wouldn’t have ISIS. And we would have had wealth. We have spent right now $6 trillion in the Middle East. And our country is falling apart.”

Yes, the war in Iraq will cost more than six trillion dollars, but you’re going to balance that diabolical equation by taking the oil? Was the oil yours in the first place? Did you work for it? Was it your labor that put it there? Did the Iraqis create the war in order for them to face the consequences? Or did our predecessors try to kill innocent lives to get the oil and to protect Israel?

Trump’s statement here goes to the heart of the problem with the capitalist system, whose apologists proclaim that capitalism is just economic exchange when in reality it is a system in which the rich and the powerful get to suspend the moral and political law and prey on other people’s labor.

Trump should also understand that cheap labor, which the capitalist system supports, is also part of the huge migration in the US. The CEOs of big companies would prefer to pay migrant workers minimum wage instead of paying decent Americans a living wage. As history has shown us, nations cannot survive without a living wage. (Henry Ford obviously understood that.)

This does not mean that everyone in a nation will get the same amount of money, but it does rule out the predatory nature of the capitalist oligarchy, which always seeks cheap labor and gives the worker a wage out of which he can never support a family. This form of predatory vice always kills economic progress and even nations. As E. Michael Jones points out,

“The trajectory of free market capitalism replicated itself with uncanny regularity in every society which valued usury over human labor.

“In ancient Greece as in medieval Florence, unrestrained appetite led to slave rebellions like the Ciompi uprising in Florence, which, once crushed, led to ‘an aristocracy of money and of wealth, which prepared the way for the decline of the Greek states.’”[7]

Jones is right on target when he deconstructs the capitalist system this way:

“There is nothing reasonable about ‘economic rationality’ which seeks, on the one hand, only to get the highest possible wage for the lowest possible effort, or on the other hand, to get the greatest possible effort for the lowest possible wage.

“In other words, there is no rationality in doing business routinely with the view to getting the most that is possible while giving the least that it is possible in return.

“Depriving the worker of a living wage inevitably concentrates wealth in the hands of the few. It makes it impossible for the worker to save, and, moreover, some even have to borrow in order to make ends meet.

“The rich then inevitably get involved in lending to them at interest, and this further concentrates wealth in their hands until society collapses because lending money at interest to someone who can’t even pay back the principle is automatically going to lead to greater wealth for the rich.”[8]


Will he challenge the Israeli Mafia?

Trump reminds me of the looting of Church property that took place after the Reformation. The late economist and historian R. H. Tawney, author of Religion and the Rise of Capitalism: A Historical Study, said of that event: “The upstart aristocracy of the future had their teeth in the carcass, and, having tasted blood, they were not to be whipped off by a sermon.”[9]

It seems that Trump has already tasted blood, and it appears that he is not going to be whipped off by any reasonable deal with the Palestinian.

If Trump aspires to make a difference in the Middle East, he needs to get down to business and ask the Israeli regime to abide by the moral and political order. Unless he does that, Trump’s foreign policy and “America First” will continued to be littered with contradictions. And we all know that internal contradictions are sign of a failing system. As my dear friend Mark Dankof told me a few days ago, Trump:

“must not allow the Israeli Lobby and the militarist element in the National Security establishment to derail P5+1. He must stop the support of illegal settlements in Occupied Territories and this idiotic talk of relocating the American Embassy in Jerusalem.

“His recent rhetoric about ‘rebuilding the military’ in the context of a Trillion Dollar National Security Establishment and a $21 trillion dollar debt is unsettling. The Flynn, Pompeo, Mattis, and Haley appointments are of concern to me, especially the last three. His pick for American ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, is a dangerous man.”

Trump’s “America First” is not anti-Semitic, as one idiot in the LA Times has perversely articulated.[10] Trump’s America first is pro-Israel. And if people want to be serious, “America First” was neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Palestinian.

If writers in the LA Times do not want to insult history, they will find out that nearly all the Founding Fathers upheld some kind of “America First.” George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, among others, would have taken issues with Trump for not applying “America First” to the nation of Israel.

In short, Trump has a great opportunity to make a difference. He has witnessed the disastrous nature of perpetual wars and the capitalist system, and he certainly cannot deny the historical fact that Israel has been one of the main villains in this perennial conflict. He seems to understand the Syrian situation. But will he go all the way?

Only time will tell.


[1] Carlo Muñoz, “Trump eyes ‘safe zones’ in Syria despite fears of deeper U.S. involvement in war,” Washington Times, January 25, 2017.

[2] “Trump says he’ll order ‘safe zones’ for Syria, regrets not ‘taking’ oil out of Iraq,” Russia Today, January 26, 2017.

[3] “Trump’s State Department Freezes Obama’s $221 Million Payout to Palestinians,” Sputnik News, January 27, 2017.

[4] Nathan Guttman, “Trump May Cut Funding to UN If It Recognizes Palestinian State,” Jewish Daily Forward, January 26, 2017; see also Michael Wilner and Tovah Lazaroff, “Trump will threaten UN bodies over Palestinian Membership,” Jerusalem Post, January 25, 2017.

[5] “Gaza’s water shortage worsening, no easy solutions seen,” Daily Times (Pakistan), January 27, 2017.

[6] “Trump says he’ll order ‘safe zones’ for Syria, regrets not ‘taking’ oil out of Iraq,” Russia Today, January 26, 2017.

[7] E. Michael Jones, Barren Metal: A History of Capitalism as the Conflict Between Labor and Usury (South Bend: Fidelity Press, 2014), 43.

[8] Ibid., 44-45.

[9] Quoted in ibid., 375.

[10] Brian Bennett, “’America First,’ a phrase with a loaded anti-Semitic and isolationist history,” LA Times, January 20, 2017.

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The Lobby P2: The Training Session


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In part two of The Lobby, our undercover reporter joins a delegation from the Nazi Jewish Embassy at last year’s Labour Party Conference. The programme reveals how accusations of anti-Semitism were made against key Labour Party members – and how a former official at the Nazi Jewish Embassy was upset when her background was revealed.

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THE STRATEGIC FUNCTIONS OF U.S. AID TO ISRAHELL


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THE STRATEGIC FUNCTIONS OF U.S. AID TO ISRAEL

By Stephen Zunes

Dr. Zunes is an assistant professor in the Department of Politics at the University of San Francisco.

Since 1992, the U.S. has offered Israel an additional $2 billion annually in loan guarantees. Congressional researchers have disclosed that between 1974 and 1989, $16.4 billion in U.S. military loans were converted to grants and that this was the understanding from the beginning. Indeed, all past U.S. loans to Israel have eventually been forgiven by Congress, which has undoubtedly helped Israel’s often-touted claim that they have never defaulted on a U.S. government loan. U.S. policy since 1984 has been that economic assistance to Israel must equal or exceed Israel’s annual debt repayment to the United States. Unlike other countries, which receive aid in quarterly installments, aid to Israel since 1982 has been given in a lump sum at the beginning of the fiscal year, leaving the U.S. government to borrow from future revenues. Israel even lends some of this money back through U.S. treasury bills and collects the additional interest.

In addition, there is the more than $1.5 billion in private U.S. funds that go to Israel annually in the form of $1 billion in private tax-deductible donations and $500 million in Israeli bonds. The ability of Americans to make what amounts to tax-deductible contributions to a foreign government, made possible through a number of Jewish charities, does not exist with any other country. Nor do these figures include short- and long-term commercial loans from U.S. banks, which have been as high as $1 billion annually in recent years.

Total U.S. aid to Israel is approximately one-third of the American foreign-aid budget, even though Israel comprises just .001 percent of the world’s population and already has one of the world’s higher per capita incomes. Indeed, Israel’s GNP is higher than the combined GNP of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. With a per capita income of about $14,000, Israel ranks as the sixteenth wealthiest country in the world; Israelis enjoy a higher per capita income than oil-rich Saudi Arabia and are only slightly less well-off than most Western European countries.

AID does not term economic aid to Israel as development assistance, but instead uses the term “economic support funding.” Given Israel’s relative prosperity, U.S. aid to Israel is becoming increasingly controversial. In 1994, Yossi Beilen, deputy foreign minister of Israel and a Knesset member, told the Women’s International Zionist organization, “If our economic situation is better than in many of your countries, how can we go on asking for your charity?” ❑


 U.S. Aid to Israel: What U.S. Taxpayer Should Know

by Tom Malthaner

This morning as I was walking down Shuhada Street in Hebron, I saw graffiti marking the newly painted storefronts and awnings. Although three months past schedule and 100 percent over budget, the renovation of Shuhada Street was finally completed this week. The project manager said the reason for the delay and cost overruns was the sabotage of the project by the Israeli settlers of the Beit Hadassah settlement complex in Hebron. They broke the street lights, stoned project workers, shot out the windows of bulldozers and other heavy equipment with pellet guns, broke paving stones before they were laid and now have defaced again the homes and shops of Palestinians with graffiti. The settlers did not want Shuhada St. opened to Palestinian traffic as was agreed to under Oslo 2. This renovation project is paid for by USAID funds and it makes me angry that my tax dollars have paid for improvements that have been destroyed by the settlers.

Most Americans are not aware how much of their tax revenue our government sends to Israel. For the fiscal year ending in September 30, 1997, the U.S. has given Israel $6.72 billion: $6.194 billion falls under Israel’s foreign aid allotment and $526 million comes from agencies such as the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Information Agency and the Pentagon. The $6.72 billion figure does not include loan guarantees and annual compound interest totalling $3.122 billion the U.S. pays on money borrowed to give to Israel. It does not include the cost to U.S. taxpayers of IRS tax exemptions that donors can claim when they donate money to Israeli charities. (Donors claim approximately $1 billion in Federal tax deductions annually. This ultimately costs other U.S. tax payers $280 million to $390 million.)

When grant, loans, interest and tax deductions are added together for the fiscal year ending in September 30, 1997, our special relationship with Israel cost U.S. taxpayers over $10 billion.

Since 1949 the U.S. has given Israel a total of $83.205 billion. The interest costs borne by U.S. tax payers on behalf of Israel are $49.937 billion, thus making the total amount of aid given to Israel since 1949 $133.132 billion. This may mean that U.S. government has given more federal aid to the average Israeli citizen in a given year than it has given to the average American citizen.

I am angry when I see Israeli settlers from Hebron destroy improvements made to Shuhada Street with my tax money. Also, it angers me that my government is giving over $10 billion to a country that is more prosperous than most of the other countries in the world and uses much of its money for strengthening its military and the oppression of the Palestinian people. ❑

“U.S. Aid to Israel: Interpreting the ‘Strategic Relationship”‘

by Stephen Zunes

“The U.S. aid relationship with Israel is unlike any other in the world,” said Stephen Zunes during a January 26 CPAP presentation. “In sheer volume, the amount is the most generous foreign aid program ever between any two countries,” added Zunes, associate professor of Politics and chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at the University of San Francisco.

He explored the strategic reasoning behind the aid, asserting that it parallels the “needs of American arms exporters” and the role “Israel could play in advancing U.S. strategic interests in the region.”

Although Israel is an “advanced, industrialized, technologically sophisticated country,” it “receives more U.S. aid per capita annually than the total annual [Gross Domestic Product] per capita of several Arab states.” Approximately a third of the entire U.S. foreign aid budget goes to Israel, “even though Israel comprises just…one-thousandth of the world’s total population, and already has one of the world’s higher per capita incomes.”

U.S. government officials argue that this money is necessary for “moral” reasons-some even say that Israel is a “democracy battling for its very survival.” If that were the real reason, however, aid should have been highest during Israel’s early years, and would have declined as Israel grew stronger. Yet “the pattern…has been just the opposite.” According to Zunes, “99 percent of all U.S. aid to Israel took place after the June 1967 war, when Israel found itself more powerful than any combination of Arab armies….”

The U.S. supports Israel’s dominance so it can serve as “a surrogate for American interests in this vital strategic region.” “Israel has helped defeat radical nationalist movements” and has been a “testing ground for U.S. made weaponry.” Moreover, the intelligence agencies of both countries have “collaborated,” and “Israel has funneled U.S. arms to third countries that the U.S. [could] not send arms to directly,…Iike South Africa, like the Contras, Guatemala under the military junta, [and] Iran.” Zunes cited an Israeli analyst who said: “‘It’s like Israel has just become another federal agency when it’s convenient to use and you want something done quietly.”‘ Although the strategic relationship between the United States and the Gulf Arab states in the region has been strengthening in recent years, these states “do not have the political stability, the technological sophistication, [or] the number of higher-trained armed forces personnel” as does Israel.

Matti Peled, former Israeli major general and Knesset member, told Zunes that he and most Israeli generals believe this aid is “little more than an American subsidy to U.S. arms manufacturers,” considering that the majority of military aid to Israel is used to buy weapons from the U.S. Moreover, arms to Israel create more demand for weaponry in Arab states. According to Zunes, “the Israelis announced back in 1991 that they supported the idea of a freeze in Middle East arms transfers, yet it was the United States that rejected it.”

In the fall of 1993-when many had high hopes for peace-78 senators wrote to former President Bill Clinton insisting that aid to Israel remain “at current levels.” Their “only reason” was the “massive procurement of sophisticated arms by Arab states.” The letter neglected to mention that 80 percent of those arms to Arab countries came from the U.S. “I’m not denying for a moment the power of AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee], the pro-Israel lobby,” and other similar groups, Zunes said. Yet the “Aerospace Industry Association which promotes these massive arms shipments…is even more influential.” This association has given two times more money to campaigns than all of the pro-Israel groups combined. Its “force on Capitol Hill, in terms of lobbying, surpasses that of even AIPAC.” Zunes asserted that the “general thrust of U.S. policy would be pretty much the same even if AIPAC didn’t exist. We didn’t need a pro-Indonesia lobby to support Indonesia in its savage repression of East Timor all these years.” This is a complex issue, and Zunes said that he did not want to be “conspiratorial,” but he asked the audience to imagine what “Palestinian industriousness, Israeli technology, and Arabian oil money…would do to transform the Middle East…. [W]hat would that mean to American arms manufacturers? Oil companies? Pentagon planners?”

“An increasing number of Israelis are pointing out” that these funds are not in Israel’s best interest. Quoting Peled, Zunes said, “this aid pushes Israel ‘toward a posture of callous intransigence’ in terms of the peace process.” Moreover, for every dollar the U.S. sends in arms aid, Israel must spend two to three dollars to train people to use the weaponry, to buy parts, and in other ways make use of the aid. Even “main-stream Israeli economists are saying [it] is very harmful to the country’s future.”

The Israeli paper Yediot Aharonot described Israel as “‘the godfather’s messenger’ since [Israel] undertake[s] the ‘dirty work’ of a godfather who ‘always tries to appear to be the owner of some large, respectable business.”‘ Israeli satirist B. Michael refers to U.S. aid this way: “‘My master gives me food to eat and I bite those whom he tells me to bite. It’s called strategic cooperation.” ‘To challenge this strategic relationship, one cannot focus solely on the Israeli lobby but must also examine these “broader forces as well.” “Until we tackle this issue head-on,” it will be “very difficult to win” in other areas relating to Palestine.

“The results” of the short-term thinking behind U.S. policy “are tragic,” not just for the “immediate victims” but “eventually [for] Israel itself” and “American interests in the region.” The U.S. is sending enormous amounts of aid to the Middle East, and yet “we are less secure than ever”-both in terms of U.S. interests abroad and for individual Americans. Zunes referred to a “growing and increasing hostility [of] the average Arab toward the United States.” In the long term, said Zunes, “peace and stability and cooperation with the vast Arab world is far more important for U.S. interests than this alliance with Israel.”

This is not only an issue for those who are working for Palestinian rights, but it also “jeopardizes the entire agenda of those of us concerned about human rights, concerned about arms control, concerned about international law.” Zunes sees significant potential in “building a broad-based movement around it.”

The above text is based on remarks, delivered on. 26 January, 2001 by Stephen Zunes – Associate Professor of Politics and Chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at San Francisco University. ❑

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on THE STRATEGIC FUNCTIONS OF U.S. AID TO ISRAHELL

Cynthia McKinney: every candidate for Congress has to sign a pledge to vote for ‘Israel’.


NOVANEWS

Former US lawmaker Cynthia McKinney says every candidate for Congress has to sign a pledge to vote for supporting the military superiority of ‘Israel’.

Image result for JEWISH LOBBY LOGO

Cynthia McKinney is the bravest woman in politics. When she was in congress she introduced a bill (HR 1106) to have then President Bush impeached for the Iraq has WMD lies. She also exposed the Dyncorp sex slave trade and confronted Rumsfeld over the Pentagon’s missing billions. (video of the congressional proceedings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esvf-GOO8EM ) She is as Red pilled as they come and has balls of steel to come out swinging.

Her congressional district was eventually Gerrymandered out of existence.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Cynthia McKinney: every candidate for Congress has to sign a pledge to vote for ‘Israel’.


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