Who runs our country?

Posted: October 5, 2006 in News & Views

2 guesses!

WRONG! It ain’t Bush and his cowboys.

Democrats? Guess again. Give up? Read on…

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And NO it Ain’t the Godfather either…

Last week the London Review of Books did a great service to free speech in this country by enabling Prof. John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago to have a debate on the Israeli Lobby that he thought would never take place. The event was titled “The Israel Lobby – Does it Have Too Much Influence on U.S. Foreign Policy?” and its main purpose was to debate the pros and cons of a paper Mearsheimer wrote with Prof. Stephen Walt of Harvard University called “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.” It was a perfect opportunity for the much criticized national media to report on a key issue in our foreign policy.

The debaters included two well-known Israel proponents, Martin Indyk and Dennis Ross, an Israeli former cabinet minister Shlomo Ben-Ami, and two supporters of Mearsheimer’s stance (if not views), Rashid Khalidi of Columbia University and Tony Judt of New York University.

If anyone had any question about whether the Israel Lobby existed or not, the debate did much to establish its effectiveness if not define its character.

Rashid Khalidi argued that on certain national issues, such as abortion, gun control and Israel, there was no debate at all. On Israel, why is that so? He wondered: Does it have anything to do with long-term American attitudes toward the Middle East, toward Islam? And was President Bush’s abrupt turn after 9/11 to war against the Middle East, Arabs, and Islam merely feeding into the general anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, anti-Middle East paranoia?

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Yet no one denied the fact that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee – the epitome of the Lobby – was one of the most powerful forces on Capitol Hill. Khalidi reminded the audience of the framing of the debate it does in Congress, from the resolutions it drafts, to the congressmen it harasses, to the candidates for public office that it vets. It works tirelessly to demonstrate that U.S. and Israeli interests are exactly the same.

Tony Judt, who is Jewish himself, commented that most Jews saw no daylight between Israeli and the U.S. policies. And this is a result of the effectiveness of the Lobby. It has been easy to persuade Jews to think that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic by nature.

But to what extent is the current administration typical of U.S. government – Israel Lobby relations? Is the close collaboration between the Bush administration and Sharon-Olmert government typical of the relationship? The current AIPAC leadership “straight-jackets” American policy toward the Palestinians, whereas in Israel, there is more of a willingness to negotiate. But can, in fact, the American government demand that Israel follow a particular policy it is opposed to? Indyk and Ross said no, but Judt argued that it was because the American government was unwilling to do to Israel what it has done in the past to any number of European states when it has objected to their policies.

There seems little possibility that this extraordinary event will ever be repeated, given the distaste of the Israel lobbyists of Walt and Mearsheimer, but it is badly needed in every major community in the country.

Source: CNI Foundation

Does a group of such special interests belong in our country? We act as if we’re a colony of Israel.

The Puppet

About AIPAC

AIPAC has been connected to several controversial events.

In 1982, AIPAC was able to convince the US Congress and President Reagan to veto a French-supported UN resolution condemning the Israeli Invasion of Lebanon, which called for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli soldiers from Lebanon to allow for the safe evacuation of Palestinians. This caused some critics in the media to argue that the “Reagan administration could not commit itself to concrete action to stop the killing in Lebanon”. The United States defended its vote stating that the proposed resolution would allow the PLO to retain its weapons during the evacuation, thus allowing it to potentially carry out attacks throughout the evacuation.

In 1992, AIPAC president David Steiner had to resign when he was tape recorded boasting about his political influence, saying he had “cut a deal” with the Bush administration to give more aid to Israel. He had arranged for “almost a billion dollars in other goodies,” he added and was “negotiating” with the incoming Clinton administration over appointing a pro-Israeli Secretary of State. Steiner also stated AIPAC had “a dozen people in (the Clinton) headquarters. And they are all going to get big jobs.”

Haim Katz told the Washington Times that he taped the conversation because “as someone Jewish, I am concerned when a small group has a disproportionate power. I think that hurts everyone, including Jews. If David Steiner wants to talk about the incredible, disproportionate clout AIPAC has, the public should know about it.”

Espionage allegations
AIPAC espionage scandal

  • In May 2005, the Justice Department announced that Lawrence Anthony Franklin, a U.S. Air Force Reserve colonel, had been arrested and charged with providing classified information about potential attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. The one-count criminal complaint did not identify AIPAC by name, but described a luncheon meeting in which, allegedly, Franklin disclosed top-secret information to two AIPAC officials.
  • In August 2005, former AIPAC policy director Steven Rosen and AIPAC senior Iran analyst Keith Weissman were indicted for illegally conspiring to gather and disclose classified national security information to Israel.
  • On January 20, 2006, Judge T. S. Ellis III sentenced Lawrence Anthony Franklin to 151 months (almost 13 years) in prison and fined him $10,000.
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Comments
  1. […] donors. Though no 2008 presidential candidates are on the program, Obama is hosting a reception for AIPAC members — as is archrival Hillary Rodham Clinton. The JUF leaders accompanying Senator Obama […]

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