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THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND US FOREIGN POLICY
#1
THE ISRAELI LOBBY AND US FOREIGN POLICY


The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy is a controversial working paper written by John Mearsheimer, political science professor at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt, academic dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, in 2006. It claims that U.S. Middle East policy is not in America's national interest and is driven primarily by the "Israel Lobby", a "loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer US foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction". The paper was originally commissioned in 2002 by The Atlantic Monthly, which then rejected it.The paper was finally published in March, 2006 by the London Review of Books.
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#2
US-ISRAEL TIES BAD FOR PEACE
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/A...13205B.htm

George Soros, the billionaire investor, has added his voice to the debate over the role of Israel's lobby in shaping US foreign policy.

In the current issue of the New York Review of Books, Soros takes issue with "the pervasive influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC]" in Washington and says the Bush administration's close ties with Israel are obstacles to a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

Soros, who is Jewish but not often engaged in Israeli affairs, echoed arguments that have fuelled debate in academia, foreign policy think tanks and parts of the US Jewish community.

"The pro-Israel lobby has been remarkably successful in suppressing criticism," wrote Soros. Politicians challenge it at their peril and dissenters risk personal vilification, he said.

AIPAC has consistently declined comment on such charges, but many of its supporters have been vocal in dismissing them.

Historian Michael Oren, speaking at AIPAC's 2007 conference in March, said the group was not merely a lobby for Israel. "It is the embodiment of a conviction as old as this (American) nation itself that belief in the Jewish state is tantamount to belief in these United States," he said in a keynote speech.

The long-simmering debate bubbled to the surface a year ago, when two prominent academics, Stephen Walt of Harvard and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, published a 12,500-word essay entitled "The Israel Lobby" and featuring the fiercest criticism of AIPAC since it was founded in 1953.

AIPAC now has more than 100,000 members and is rated one of the most influential special interest groups in the United States, its political clout comparable with such lobbies as the National Rifle Association.

The AIPAC members are all US citizens and the group receives no funding from the Israeli government.

Its annual conference in Washington attracts a Who's Who of American politics, both Republicans and Democrats.

Unwavering support

Mearsheimer and Walt said the lobby had persuaded successive administrations to align themselves too closely with Israel.

"The pro-Israel lobby has been remarkably successful in suppressing criticism"

George Soros, the billionaire investor

"The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread 'democracy' has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardised not only US security but much of the rest of the world," they wrote.

No other lobby group has managed to divert US foreign policy so far from the US national interest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US interests and those of Israel are essentially identical, they wrote.

The two academics said that pressure from Israel and its lobby in Washington played an important role in President George Bush's decision to attack Iraq, an arch-enemy of Israel, in 2003.

Mearsheimer and Walt found no takers for their essay in the US publishing world. When it was eventually published in the London Review of Books, they noted it would be hard to imagine any mainstream media outlet in the United States publishing such a piece.

It has been drawing criticism that ranged from shoddy scholarship to anti-Semitism, chiefly from conservative fellow academics and political supporters of the present relationship between Washington and Israel.

In his contribution to the debate, Soros said: "A much-needed self-examination of American policy in the Middle East has started in this country; but it can't make much headway as long as AIPAC retains powerful influence in both the Democratic and Republican parties."

That influence is reflected by the fact that Israel is the largest recipient of US aid in the world.

Going mainstream


Carter's book provoked angry reactions more
in the US than in Israel [AP]
Mearsheimer and Walt are now working on expanding their article into a book - to be published in September by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The company has not commented on online reports that it paid the two authors a $750,000 advance and plans to print one million copies.

Another mainstream publisher, Simon and Schuster, already discovered that not only is it possible to publish criticism of Israel but it can also be good for the bottom line.

Former president Jimmy Carter's book "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid" shot up the bestseller lists after its publication last November; stayed there for more than three months and is still selling well.

It had an initial print run of 300,000 copies and there are now 485,000 copies in print, said Victoria Meyer, a spokeswoman for Simon and Schuster.

Carter's book and its reference to apartheid provoked angry reactions - more in the United States than in Israel, where leftists opposed to the occupation of the West Bank have been accusing the government of apartheid practices for years and where the word has lost its shock value.

In response to charges of bias and anti-Semitism, Carter said he wanted to provoke a discussion of issues debated routinely and freely in Israel but rarely in the United States.

"This reluctance to criticize any policies of the Israeli government is because of the extraordinary lobbying efforts of the American Israel Political Action Committee and the absence of any significant contrary voices," he wrote in the Los Angeles Times during a tour to promote his book. "It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine."

According to Oren, the pro-AIPAC historian, the Carter book and the Mearsheimer-Walt paper had the same "insidious thesis" and suffered from the same flaw - ignoring oil as a driving element in US policies on the Middle East.



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#3
THE FINAL ACT OF SUBMISSION

Scott Ritter
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info...e17533.htm

In the months leading up to President Bush’s ill-fated invasion of Iraq, I traveled around the world speaking to various international groups, including many parliamentary assemblies. I spoke about democracy and the need of any nation or group of nations espousing democracy as a standard to embrace the ideals and values of justice and due process in accordance with the rule of law. I spoke of international law, especially as it was manifested in the charter of the United Nations (a document signed and adopted by all of the countries I visited).

Invariably, my presentation focused on the nation in question, whether it was Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Japan or Great Britain, and the status of its relationship with the United States. As an American, I said, I appreciated each nation’s embrace of the United States as a friend and ally. However, as a strong believer in the rule of law, I deplored the trend among America’s so-called friends to facilitate a needless confrontation which would severely harm the U.S. in the long run. These nations were hesitant to stand up to the United States even though they knew the course of action planned for Iraq was wrong.

Such permissive submission was deplorable, and invariably led to a comment from me about the status of genuine sovereignty in the face of American imperial power. If a nation was incapable of defending its sovereign values and interests, then it should simply acknowledge its status as a colony of the United States, pull down its disgraced national flag and raise the Stars and Stripes.

Now the tables have turned. Americans, through the will of the people as expressed in the November 2006 election, voiced their dissatisfaction with the conduct of the American war in Iraq, and empowered a new Democratic-controlled Congress to reassert itself as a separate but equal branch of government—especially when it came to matters pertaining to war and the threat of war.

This new Democratic leadership has failed egregiously. Not only has the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, been unable to orchestrate any meaningful legislation to bring the war in Iraq to an end, but in mid-March she carelessly greased the tracks for a whole new conflict. By excising language from a defense appropriations bill which would have required President Bush to seek the approval of Congress prior to initiating any military attack on Iran, Pelosi terminated any hope of slowing down the Bush administration’s mad rush to war.

Despite the fact that Congress was only stating through this language a simple reflection of constitutional mandate, Speaker Pelosi and others felt that the inclusion of such verbiage put the security of the state of Israel at risk by eliminating important “policy options” for the president of the United States. In short, Israeli national security interests trumped the Constitution of the United States.

I consider myself to be a friend of Israel, a status which has been demonstrated repeatedly through words and deeds from January-February 1991, when I was involved in the effort to stop Iraq Scud missiles from striking Israel during the 1991 Gulf War, to the period between October 1994 and June 1998 when I served as the lead liaison between the United Nations weapons inspectors and Israeli intelligence, working to find a final accounting of Iraq’s proscribed weapons of mass destruction. I know only too well the precarious reality of Israel’s security situation, and am sympathetic to its need to proactively deal with threats before they manifest themselves in a manner which threatens Israel’s ability to survive as a nation-state.

However, as an American who served on active duty in time of war as an officer of Marines, I also remember the oath I took to “uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” As such, I am troubled by the recent actions of Speaker Pelosi and other members of Congress who have not only abrogated their collective responsibility to uphold and defend the Constitution but have taken actions which, under normal circumstances and involving any other nation, would border on treasonous. Our collective duty as Americans must center on defending the very document, the Constitution, which defines who we are and what we are as a people and a nation. To have our elected representatives flagrantly push aside their constitutional responsibilities in the name of the security interests of another nation is unthinkable. And yet it has just happened, apparently without consequence.

Sadly, the new Democratic Congress has cemented its status as yet another iteration of a system which long ago sold its soul to special interests. Democrats can cackle about Republican scandals, including the Jack Abramoff affair, which brought down Rep. Tom DeLay among others. But history will show that the Pelosi-led sellout to Israeli special interests endangered the viability and security of America as a sovereign state governed by the rule of law more than Jack Abramoff ever could.

In this time of constitutional crisis, the American people need to wake up and demand that the basic tenets of the Constitution be adhered to. Congress is solely empowered by the Constitution to declare war. Demanding that the president of the United States adhere to this prerequisite is a logical and patriotic stance. Allowing any non-American interest, even one possessing such highly charged political and emotional sensitivities as Israel, to dictate otherwise represents nothing more than a capitulation of sovereignty. We the people need to rally around this defense of sovereignty. We must demand not only that Congress reassert its constitutional responsibilities and authority by demanding the president obey the letter of the law when it comes to war, whether against Iran or any other nation, but also to place in check the anti-American activities of one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, D.C., the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee.

For decades AIPAC has operated in the shadows of American foreign policy decision-making, exerting its influence on elected officials away from the public scrutiny of the very constituents who elected those officials to begin with. It is impossible to hold someone accountable for actions that are kept secret, and as such AIPAC’s ability to secretly influence American foreign and national security policies represents a flagrant insult and threat to the very essence of American democracy. I am not advocating the dissolution of AIPAC. However, I am demanding that AIPAC be treated as any other representative of a foreign nation is treated. It should have to register as an agent of a foreign power so that the totality of its interactions with American officials can become a part of the public record. We require this of all other nations, including our good friends the British.

To state that AIPAC, and by extension Israel, is above the law in this regard is to acknowledge the reality that American national sovereignty no longer matters when it comes to the state of Israel. So be it. But then we are, collectively, no better than those nations I mocked prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 as “colonies” of the United States. So if we are to continue to permit AIPAC to operate as an undeclared agent of a foreign nation, and to influence American foreign and national security policymaking at the expense of our Constitution, then we should acknowledge our true status as nothing more than a colony of Israel, pull down the Stars and Stripes and raise the Star of David over our nation’s capitol. While representing the final act of submission, it would also be the first truly honest act that occurred in Washington, D.C., in many years.

Scott Ritter has had an extensive and distinguished career in government service. He is an intelligence specialist with a 12-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps including assignments in the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. Rising to the rank of Major, Ritter spent several months of the Gulf War serving under General Norman Schwarzkopf with US Central Command headquarters in Saudi Arabia, where he played an instrumental role in formulating and implementing combat operations targeting Iraqi mobile missile launchers which threatened Israel.

This article was first published at http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_...ubmission/

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#4
AND THE WINNER IS ... THE ISRAEL LOBBY
Pepe Escobar
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info...e20026.htm

They're all here - and they're all ready to party. The three United States presidential candidates - John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Madam House speaker Nancy Pelosi. Most US senators and virtually half of the US Congress. Vice President Dick Cheney's wife, Lynne. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. And a host of Jewish and non-Jewish political and academic heavy-hitters among the 7,000 participants.

Such star power wattage, a Washington version of the Oscars, is the stock in trade of AIPAC - the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the crucial player in what is generally known as the Israel lobby and which holds its annual Policy Conference this week in Washington at which most of the heavyweights will deliver lectures.

Few books in recent years have been as explosive or controversial as The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy, written by Stephen Walt from Harvard University and John Mearsheimer from the University of Chicago, published in 2007. In it, professors Walt and Mearsheimer argued the case of the Israeli lobby not as "a cabal or conspiracy that 'controls' US foreign policy", but as an extremely powerful interest group made up of Jews and non-Jews, a "loose coalition of individuals and organizations tirelessly working to move US foreign policy in Israel's direction".

Walt and Mearsheimer also made the key point that "anyone who criticizes Israeli actions or says that pro-Israel groups have significant influence over US Middle East policy stands a good chance of being labeled an anti-Semite". Anyone for that matter who "says that there is an Israeli lobby" also runs the risk of being charged with anti-Semitism.

All the candidates in the House say yeah
Republican presidential candidate McCain is opening this year's AIPAC jamboree; Clinton and Obama are closing it on Wednesday. Walt and Mearsheimer's verdict on the dangerous liaisons between presidential candidates and AIPAC remains unimpeachable: "None of the candidates is likely to criticize Israel in any significant way or suggest that the US ought to pursue a more evenhanded policy in the region. And those who do will probably fall by the wayside."

Take what Clinton said in February at an AIPAC meeting in New York: "Israel is a beacon of what's right in a neighborhood overshadowed by the wrongs of radicalism, extremism, despotism and terrorism." A year before, Clinton was in favor of sitting and talking to Iran's leadership.

And take what Obama said in March at an AIPAC meeting in Chicago; no reference at all to Palestinian "suffering", as he had done on the campaign trail in March 2007. Obama also made it clear he would do nothing to alter the US-Israeli relationship.

No wonder AIPAC is considered by most members of the US Congress as more powerful than the National Rifle Association or the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

AIPAC has explicit Zionist roots. The founder, "Si" Kenen, was head of the American Zionist Council in 1951. The body was reorganized as a US lobby - the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs - in 1953-4, and then renamed AIPAC in 1959. Under Tom Dine, in the 1970s, it was turned into a mass organization with more than 150 employees and a budget of up to US$60 million today. Dine was later ousted because he was considered not hawkish enough.

The top leadership - mostly former AIPAC presidents - is always more hawkish on the Middle East than most Jewish Americans. AIPAC only dropped its opposition to a Palestinian state - without endorsing it - when Ehud Barak became Israeli prime minister in 1999.

AIPAC keeps a very close relationship with an array of influential think-tanks, like the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy, the Hudson Institute, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the Middle East Forum, the The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Sprinkled neo-cons in these think-tanks can be regarded as a microcosm of the larger Israel lobby - Jews and non-Jews (It's important to remember that Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser and five other neo-cons drafted the infamous "A Clean Break" document to Benjamin Netanyahu in 1996 - the ultimate road map for hardcore regime change all over the Middle East.)

The house that AIPAC built
AIPAC in the US Congress is a rough beast indeed. Former president Bill Clinton defined it as "stunningly effective". Former speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich called it "the most effective general-interest group across the entire planet". The New York Times as "the most important organization affecting America's relationship with Israel". Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, before his involvement in a corruption scandal, said. "Thank God we have AIPAC, the greatest supporter and friend we have in the whole world."

AIPAC maintains a virtual stranglehold over the US Congress. Critics of the Israel lobby other than Walt and Mearsheimer also contend that AIPAC essentially prevents any possibility of open debate on US policy towards Israel. Compare it with a 2004 report by the Pentagon's Defense Science Board, according to which "Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies".

AIPAC should not be crossed. It rewards those who support its agenda, and punishes those who don't. In the end, it's all about money - specifically campaign contributions. From 2000 to 2004, according to the Washington Post, AIPAC honchos contributed an average of $72,000 each to campaigns and political committees. For pro-AIPAC politicians, money simply pours from all over the US.

Every member of the US Congress receives AIPAC's bi-weekly newsletter, the Near East Report. Walt and Mearsheimer stress that Congressmen and their staff "usually turn to AIPAC when they need info; AIPAC is called upon to draft speeches, work on legislation, advise on tactics, research, collect co-sponsors and marshal votes".

Hillary Clinton has learned long ago she should not cross AIPAC. Clinton used to support a Palestinian state in 1998. She even embraced Suha Arafat, Yasser's wife, in 1999. After much scolding, she suddenly became a vigorous defender of Israel, and years later wholeheartedly supported the 2006 Israeli war against Hezbollah in Lebanon. Clinton may have gotten the bulk of Jewish American donations for her 2008 presidential campaign.

Rice also learned about facts on the ground. She tried to restart the eternally moribund "peace process" when visiting the Middle East in March 2007. Before the trip, she got an AIPAC letter signed by no less than 79 US senators telling her not to talk to the new Palestinian unity government until it "recognized Israel, renounced terror and agreed to abide by Palestinian-Israeli agreements".

AIPAC and Iraq
It has become relatively fashionable for some members of the Israeli lobby to deny any involvement in the build-up towards the war on Iraq. But few remember what AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr told the New York Sun in January 2003: "Quietly lobbying Congress to approve the use of force in Iraq was one of AIPAC's successes over the past year."

And in a New Yorker profile of Steven Rosen, AIPAC's policy director during the run-up to the war on Iraqi, it was stated that "AIPAC lobbied Congress in favor of the Iraqi war".

Compare it with a 2007 Gallup study based on 13 different polls, according to which 77% of American Jews were opposed to the Iraq war, compared to 52% of Americans.

Walt and Mearsheimer contend "the war was due in large part to the lobby's influence, and especially its neo-con wing. The lobby is not always representative of the larger community for which it often claims to speak."

AIPAC and Iran
Now it is Iran time. Walt and Mearsheimer contend "the lobby is fighting to prevent the US from reversing course and seeking a rapprochement with Tehran. They continue to promote an increasingly confrontational and counterproductive policy instead". Not much different from the embattled Olmert, who told Germany's Focus magazine in April 2007 that "it would take 10 days ... and 1,000 Tomahawk cruise missiles" to set back Iran's nuclear program.

A measure of Walt and Mearsheimer's power to rattle reputations is that the Zionist establishment had to bring out all its big guns to refute their argument, again and again.

Walt and Mearsheimer are no ideologues. They are realpolitik practitioners - very much at ease in the top circles of US foreign policy establishment. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of their book is that they argued four points that the establishment never mentions in public. Essentially these are:

The US has already won its major wars in the Middle East, against Arab secular nationalism and against communism, and does not need Israel quite as much.

Israel is now so much more powerful than all Arab nations combined that it can take care of itself.

The unconditional support for Israel, regardless of its outrageous deeds, does harm US interests, destabilizes pro-US regimes like Hosi Mubarak's Egypt and King Abdullah's Jordan, and plays into the hands of Salafi-jihadi radicals.

Fighting Israel's wars on its behalf is the surefire way to lead to the collapse of US power in the Middle East.

Walt and Mearsheimer also seem not to accept that oil, and rivalry with Russia and China, have also played a crucial part in why the US went to war in Iraq and may attack Iran in the near future. Anyway only insiders as themselves - with unassailable establishment credentials - could have started, at the highest levels of public debate, a serious discussion of extreme pro-Zionism in the public and political life of the US.

Meanwhile, the power of the lobby seems unassailable. In March 2007, the US Congress was trying to attach a provision to a Pentagon spending bill that would have required President George W Bush to get congressional approval before attacking Iran. AIPAC was strongly against it - because it viewed the legislation as taking the military option "off the table". The provision was killed. Congressman Dennis Kucinich said this was due to AIPAC.

AIPAC made a lot of waves in 2002, when the theme of the annual meeting was "America and Israel standing against terror". Everyone bashed Arafat, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria at the same time - just as in PNAC's letter to Bush in April 2002 claiming that Israel was also fighting an "axis of evil" alongside the US.

During AIPAC's jamboree in 2004, Bush received 23 standing ovations defending his Iraq policy. Last year, the star was Cheney, making the case for the troop "surge" in Iraq. Pelosi was dutifully present. But it was pastor John Hagee, whose endorsement McCain recently refused, who really made a killing - even though Hagee maintains that "anti-Semitism is the result of the Jews' rebellion against God".

On Iran, Hagee definitely set the tone: "It is 1938; Iran is Germany and [President Mahmud] Ahmadinejad is the new [Adolf] Hitler. We must stop Iran's nuclear threat and stand boldly with Israel." He received multiple standing ovations. McCain may be sure to get the same treatment this year - and he'll certainly have no trouble remaining on message.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

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#5
THE POLITICS OF AN ISRAELI EXTERMINATION CAMPAIGN:
Backers, Apologists and Arms Suppliers


James Petras
January 2, 2009  


Introduction
Because of the unconditional support of the entire political class in the US, from the White House to Congress, including both Parties, incoming and outgoing elected officials and all the principle print and electronic mass media, the Israeli Government feels no compunction in publicly proclaiming a detailed and graphic account of its policy of mass extermination of the population of Gaza.

Israel’s sustained and comprehensive bombing campaign of every aspect of governance, civic institutions and society is directed toward destroying civilized life in Gaza.  Israel’s totalitarian vision is driven by the practice of a permanent purge of Arab Palestine informed by Zionism, an ethno-racist ideology, promulgated by the Jewish state and justified, enforced and pursued by its organized backers in the United States.  

The facts of Israeli extermination have become known:  In the first six days of round the clock terror bombing of major and minor populations centers, the Jewish State has murdered and seriously maimed over 2,500 people, mostly dismembered and burned in the open ovens of missile fire.  Scores of children and women have been slaughtered as well as defenseless civilians and officials.

They have sealed off all access to Gaza and declared it a military, free fire zone, while expanding their target to include the entire population of 1.5 millions semi-starved prisoners.  According to the Boston Globe (December 30, 2008): Israeli military officials said their target lists have expanded to include the vast support network on which the Islamist movement relies to stay in power “…we are trying to hit the whole spectrum, because everything is connected and everything supports terrorism against Israel (my emphasis)”.  A top Israeli in its secret police apparatus is quoted saying, “Hamas’ civilian infrastructure is a very sensitive target” (ibid).  What the Israeli Jewish politicians and military planners designate as “Hamas” is the entire social service network, the entire government and the vast majority of economic activity, embracing almost the entire 1.5 million imprisoned residents of Gaza.

Israel’s ‘target’ list thus involves the ‘total population’, using the totality of its non-nuclear weaponry and for an unlimited time period (until the ‘bitter end’ according to the Israeli Prime Minister).  Israel’s defense ministry spokesman has emphatically reiterated the Jewish’s state’s totalitarian war concept emphasizing the targeting of civilians: “Hamas has used ostensibly civilian operations as a cover for military activities.  Anything affiliated with Hamas is a legitimate target.”

Like all totalitarians in the past, the Jewish state boasts of having systematically pre-planned the extermination campaign – months in advance – up to and including the precise hour and day of the bombing to coincide with inflicting the maximum murder of civilians:  The rockets and bombs fell as children were leaving school, as graduating police cadets were receiving their diplomas and as frantic mothers ran out from their homes to find their sons and daughters.

The mass military extermination campaign was a follow up of its non-stop total economic embargo and unremitting selective assassination campaign of the previous two years:  Both were designed to purge Palestine of its Arab population, first via mass hunger, disease, humiliation and violent intimidation and the proxy power grab by the PLO Quislings under Zionist puppet Abbas.  When they discovered that mass hunger and selective Israeli murder only strengthened the population’s links to its democratically elected government and the resolve of the Hamas government to resist Israel, the Israeli regimes unleashed its entire arsenal of weapons, including its new ‘American gifts’ up-to-date 1000 pound ‘bunker buster’ bombs and high tech missiles to incinerate large numbers of human beings within their deadly radius and to obliterate Palestinian civilization.

Moving directly from its totalitarian vision to its military blueprint to the savaging of Palestinian population centers, the Jewish state destroyed the principle university with over 18,000 students (mostly women), mosques, pharmacies, electrical and water lines, power stations, fishing villages, fishing boats and the little fishing port that provided a meager supply of fish for the starving population.  They destroyed roads, transport facilities, food warehouses, science buildings, small factories, shops and apartments.  They destroyed a women’s dormitory at the university.  In the words of the Israel leader: “…because everything is connected to everything…” it is necessary to destroy each and every facet of life, which allows humans to exist with some dignity and independence.  

The Israeli totalitarian leaders knew with confidence that they could act and they could kill with impunity, locally and before the entire world, because of the influence of the US Zionist Power Configuration in and over the US White House and Congress.  They knew they had the full backing of all the major Israeli political parties (Right, Left and Center), trade unions, mass media and especially public opinion.  Israeli state terror is backed by 81% of Jewish Israelis according to a poll taken by Israel’s Channel 10 (Financial Times December 30, 2008).  Israeli totalitarian violence and extermination of Palestinians is extremely popular among the Jewish electorate, especially in raising support for the Labor Party candidate Minister Ehud Barak.  They knew they would ‘succeed’ with virtually no casualties because they bombed, burned and dismembered a defenseless population totally lacking the minimum means to defend themselves from F16 bombers, helicopter gun ships and missile assaults.  The vile depravity of the assault on the defenseless population is matched by the utter cowardice of the Israeli military command and its cheering bloodthirsty public ensconced behind their aerial monopoly.  They suffered no threats of aerial retaliation, no wounded or dead pilots, helicopter gunners, as wave after wave swept in and over a defenseless imprisoned population in a crowded and besieged ghetto.

Hundreds of tanks and armored carriers are prepared to invade once the cities and towns have been leveled, once the population is too weakened by starvation to resist, once the leaders and fighters have been murdered and the normal Palestinian institutions of law and order have been pulverized, making way for the corrupt thuggish collaborators of the so-called Palestinian Authority…then and only then, will the Israeli General staff risk the skin of a precious Jewish ‘soldier’ and risk the anxiety and worry of their kin in Israel and the US.

Overseas Allies:  The Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations (PMAJO)

From the moment that the Israeli Government decided it would destroy the newly elected Hamas government and punish the democratic electorate of Gaza with starvation and murder, the entire Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) in the US, including the PMAJO, pulled all stops in implementing the Israeli policy.  The PMAJO encompasses the fifty-two Jewish organizations with the largest membership, with the greatest financial clout and the most influential backers.  The most prominent lobbyist within the PMAJO is AIPAC, which has over 100,000 members and 150 full-time operatives in Washington actively pressuring the US Congress, the White House and all administrative agencies whose policies may relate to the interests of the State of Israel.  However Israeli political extends far beyond its non-governmental agencies.  Over two score legislators in the Congress and over a dozen senators are committed Zionists who automatically back Israel’s policies and push for US funding and armaments for its military machine.  Top officials in key administrative positions, in Treasury, Commerce and the National Security Council, senior functionaries in the Pentagon and top advisers on Middle East affairs are also life-long, fanatically committed Zionists, who consistently and unreservedly back the policies of the State of Israel.

Equally important, the majority of the largest film, print and electronic media are owned or deeply influenced by Jewish-Zionist media moguls who are committed to slanting the ‘news’ in favor of Israel.  The composition and influence of the ZPC is central to understanding three main characteristics of Israel’s power: (1)  Israel can commit what leading United Nations and international human rights experts have defined as ‘crimes against humanity’ with total impunity; (2) Israel can secure an unlimited supply of the most technologically advanced and destructive weapons and use them without limit on a civilian population in violation of even US Congressional restrictions and (3) scores of almost unanimous United Nations condemnations of the construction of genocidal apartheid barriers against a native population, starvation embargoes and the current extermination campaign in Gaza are always vetoed by the US representative.

Many critics of Israel’s genocide in Gaza also condemn what they call ‘the complicity’ of Washington or ‘the United States’ without clearly identifying the actual socio-political forces influencing policy-makers or the ‘dual’ political loyalties and identities of the ‘American’ politicians who have long-standing and deep allegiances to Israel.  As a consequence, most critics fail to counter, protest or even identify the ideology and politics of the organized power configurations which define US complicity with Israel, who intimidate potential critics, who write and mouth the pro-Israel editorials in the mass media and who filter out any criticism, any truth…even when Israel engages in sustained bloody extermination campaigns.

The ZPC and the Israeli War of Extermination in Gaza
The ZPC played a major role in all stages of Israel’s extermination campaign against Gaza including a sustained propaganda effort. The ZPC orchestrated a massive successful campaign through the extensive network of American mass media, which it controls and influences.  It fabricated an image of the Hamas administration in Gaza as a terrorist organization, which allegedly seized power through violence – totally denying its rise to power through internationally supervised, democratic elections and its defense of its electoral mandate against a US-Israeli backed PLO military takeover.  The entire Zionist Jewish leadership backed Israel’s land grabs, its ghetto wall around Palestinians, the hundreds of road blocks, the Jewish settlers violently taking over Palestinian homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the criminal, genocidal Israeli economic embargo on Gaza designed to systematically starve the Palestinians into submission.  Throughout the two years of this Israeli extermination campaign, American Zionists played a major role in leading the servile US government at home and abroad in backing each totalitarian measure:  The vast majority of local synagogues became bully-pulpits defending the starvation and degradation of 1.5 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza caged on all sides by deadly force and the ‘walling off’ into economically and socially devastating cantons of the 4.5 million West Bank Palestinian population under foreign occupation.  The US Congress shamelessly followed the Zionist lead, backing every single criminal measure taken by the State of Israel and approving dozens of resolutions, which in most cases were entirely written by AIPAC lobbyists acting as unregistered agents of the Israeli government (contrary to US federal statute, which requires foreign agents and lobbyists to be registered as such).  Israel’s demands for the most up-to-date US warplanes, including F-16s, Apache helicopter gun ships, and 1,000 pound bombs were secured by dint of effort of the AIPAC lobbyists and their clients in the US Congress.  In other words, the American ZPC created the ideological cover and military instruments for Israel’s ‘total war’ against the defenseless Palestinian population.  Equally important, prominent Zionist leaders in the US Congress and members of the foreign policy establishment blocked or vetoed any international criticism of Israel – securing its impunity and immunity from any of the Congressional sanctions usually enacted against criminal states.  In other words, Israeli policy makers operated with the knowledge that there would be no negative economic, diplomatic and military repercussions to their launching the planned Gaza extermination campaign because they knew, in advance, that ‘their people’ were in total control of US Middle East policy to the extent of actually repeating verbatim each and every propaganda lie in defense of Israel’s total war against the entire population of Gaza.

In Defense of Israel’s War of Extermination
The Zionist-controlled US print media, in particular the New York Times and the Washington Post, systematically fabricated an account that fit perfectly with Israel’s official line defending its massive assault on Gaza:  Omitting any historical account of the hundreds of Israeli armed incursions and ‘targeted’ assassinations of Palestinian leaders and officials (even in their own homes) which repeatedly violated the ‘cease fire’ agreed by Hamas and provoked its retaliation in self-defense of its people; omitting the years of an Israeli enforced starvation embargo of food and essentials that threatened the lives of 1.5 million Palestinians and led to the desperate efforts of the elected Hamas leadership to secure supplies for the people’s survival via tunnels across the Egyptian border and through missile attacks against Israel to pressure the Jewish state to negotiate an end of the criminal blockade.

The Conference of President of the Major American Jewish Organizations, and the vast majority of Jewish communal groups and congregations, gave enthusiastic and unanimous support to Israel’s total war, its extermination campaign against the captive Palestinian population of Gaza.  Even as images and reports of the massive destruction, killing and wounding of over 2,500 defenseless Palestinians filtered in the mass media, not a single major Jewish organization broke ranks; only individuals and small groups protested. All the ‘Majors’ persisted in the politics of the Big Lie: the destruction of hospitals, mosques, universities, roads, apartments, pharmacies and fishing ports were all labeled ‘Hamas targets’.  The systematic all-out assault by uncontested helicopter gunships against 1.5 millions civilians was erased by tendentious accounts of Hamas’ homemade missiles falling ineffectively near Israeli towns.  

A close reading of the most important propaganda organ of the PMAJO, The Daily Alert (TDA), during the first 5 days of Israel’s assault, reveals the propaganda tack taken by the leadership of the pro-Israel power configuration.   TDA systematically worked to achieve the following:

1.      Exaggerate the threats to Israel by the Palestinian missiles from Gaza, citing 4 Israeli deaths, while omitting any mention of the 2,500 Palestinian dead and wounded and the total destruction of their economy and living conditions (without safe water, electricity, food, cooking fuel, medicine and heat in the winter).

2.      Promote Israel’s military assault as ‘defensive’, directed at eliminating Hamas rocket attacks while omitting mention of Israel’s clearly stated purpose of destroying all civil organizations, social welfare agencies, educational facilities, medical clinics and public security institutions connected in any way with the elected Hamas government and any auxiliary agencies.

3.      Cite select statement from Israel’s allies and clients (Washington, the US media, Germany and the UK) blaming Hamas for the conflict without mentioning the vast majority of countries in the United Nations General Assembly condemning Israel’s brutality.

4.      Reproduce Israeli slanders against any and all international human rights leaders and organizations that condemn the Jewish state’s policy of genocide against the native Palestinians.  In this regard, TDA is the foremost ‘genocide denier’ in the United States and, perhaps outside of Israel, in the world.

5.      Repeatedly cite Israeli political and military leaders’ claims of acting ‘with restraint’, ‘safeguarding civilians’, and ‘targeting military objectives’, even in the face of reports and images of mass civilian destruction and loss of life documented in the vast majority of (non-US) Western media.

6.      Defend every Israeli bombing mission, every day, every hour, of every building, every home, and every economic, religious and educational institution in Gaza as ‘defensive’ or a ‘reprisal’, all the while quoting some of the most notorious, unconditional, perennial apologists of Israeli violence as if they were unbiased intellectuals, including Benny ‘Nuke Tehran’ Morris, Marty Peretz and Amos Oz.

7.      The Daily Alert quotes US writers, journalists and editors who praise and defend Israel’s ‘total war’ without identifying their long-standing affiliation and identification with Zionist organizations, giving the false image of a wide spectrum of opinion behind the assault.  Never has even the most moderate Jewish or Gentile critic of Israel’s massive extermination campaign appeared in any issues of The Daily Alert.

The principle American Jewish organizations have bombarded the US Congress, influencing, intimidating and purchasing the craven so-called ‘representatives’ of the American people, the media and public notables with lies in defense of Israel’s total war to exterminate a people.  Their public, brazen, open complicity in genocide can be considered crime against humanity: The willful promotion of acts of a state designed to destroy an entire people.  

And yet these willing accomplices, these ‘willing executioners’ of state mass murder go uncontested within the US political class. One of their leading mouthpieces in the incoming Obama Administration, Chief Presidential Adviser David Axelrod, even cites an Obama campaign speech defending Israeli assaults on the people of Gaza.  

Israel arrogantly repudiates all calls to end this mass murder, because Israel knows that ‘its people’ are still in control of US policy toward the Middle East and will use their power in the new president’s administration to block any condemnation of this crime.  

To date the entire human rights and anti-war movements have failed to even mention, let along challenge, the most powerful propaganda and political organizations, which influence US policy and manipulate the mass media in favor of Israel’s extermination campaign.  They will play no restraining role on Israel’s totalitarian policies as long as its principle US backers are free to lie, manipulate and defend each and every crime.  

There is little hope for an independent US Congressional policy as long as Israel’s war of extermination in Gaza can be defended by the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (and Zionist zealot) Congressman Howard Berman in the following terms:  “Israel has a right, indeed a duty, to defend itself in response to the hundreds of rockets and mortars fired from Gaza over the past week.  No government in world would sit by and allow its citizens to be subjected to this kind of indiscriminate bombardment.  The loss of innocent life is a terribly tragedy and the blame for that tragedy lies with Hamas.”  Thus Congressman Berman cynically omits the 2 years of Israel’s embargo, the daily ‘targeted’ assassinations of Palestinians, the ‘targeted’ missile attacks against civilians, the land, sea and air blockades and the blatant ‘targeted’ destruction of the infrastructure of Gaza.  No government, indeed a democratically elected Islamist government, can stand by while its people are starved and murdered into submission.  But according to the respected Congressmen Bermans of the world, only the lives of Jews matter, not the growing thousands of murdered, dismembered and mutilated citizens of Gaza – they do not count as people!

What is to be Done
Israel’s crimes against humanity demand a public response: social action, which will force it to cease and desist from its campaign to exterminate the people of Gaza.  Because the Jewish state has assaulted a vast array of Palestinian social institutions, which resonate with those in our own society, we can and should mobilize them to condemn and boycott their counterparts in Israel:

1.      We should urge the entire academic community to denounce Israel’s bombardment of the Islamic University of Gaza and the total destruction of all of its science facilities.  An organized boycott of Israeli universities and all academic exchanges, especially scientific, should become university policy throughout the country.  Special attention should be paid to the 450 US university presidents, who in the recent past, denounced a call by British academics for a boycott and who remain silent and complicit in the face of Israel’s total physical annihilation of all ten faculties for 20,000 Palestinian university students.

2.      All American health workers, doctors, nurses, technicians, should organize and denounce Israel’s medical embargo against the 1.5 million Palestinians crowded into the Gaza Strip.  They must condemn Israel’s bombardment of Gaza’s Children’s Hospital, the neighborhood pharmacies and the attacks on any transport of those critically wounded Palestinian victims of its aerial and missile attacks.  Medical personnel should raise the fundamental ethical issues regarding the collaboration of US medical personnel and programs with the Jewish State’s ‘total war’ policies of extermination.

3.      All citizens should demand the end of all US military aid to Israel, especially F-16 fighter planes, Apache attack helicopters, missiles, 1000 pound ‘bunker buster’ bombs used by the Israeli armed forces on the civilian infrastructure of Gaza and the murder and maiming of over 2,500 Palestinians, civilians, civil servants, police and national militia.  In pursuit of a cutoff of US military aid to Israel, every effort should be made to target and denounce the most forceful, aggressive and successful Zionist advocates and lobbyists who influence the elected members of the US Congress and White House on foreign military aid budgets.  No progress in ending US military aid for Israel’s ethnic cleansing will succeed unless the peace movement and others appalled by Israel’s mass murder tackles the Zionist lobby head on.  This includes boycotts, rebuttals and demonstrations against the AIPAC, the Jewish Anti-Defamation League and the other 50 leading American Jewish organizations, which initiate and secure US governmental endorsement of Israel’s extermination policies.

4.      US religious institutions should forcefully denounce Israel’s crimes against humanity, including its demolition of 5 mosques, uniting all faiths (Christian, Moslem, Buddhist) and especially reaching out to the tiny minority of rabbis and observant Jews willing to forthrightly denounce the totalitarian practices of the Israeli state.

5.      Port and long shore workers, sailors and other maritime workers and officials should boycott the handling of all trade with Israel and denounce its Navy’s violent illegal assault, in international waters, of civilian fishing boats and vessels carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.  No ships carrying Israeli products should be loaded or unloaded as long as Israel maintains its criminal military blockade of the port facilities of Gaza.

6.      Tens of millions of US citizens subject to the one-sided pro-Israel bias of the electronic and print media, the lop-sided presentations of Zionist ‘op-ed’ writers, ‘news’ reports and the self-styled Middle East experts, should demand equal time, coverage and reportage for non-Zionist specialists, analysts and commentators.  We should demand the end of euphemisms and fabrications, which convert victims into aggressors and exterminators into victims.

7.      We should wage a battle of ideas everywhere (in every public forum) against the efforts by the Zionist Power Configuration to monopolize discussion over the Israeli policy of genocide, to censor, intimidate and slander critics of Israeli apartheid – as UN General Assembly President Manuel d’Escoto so aptly calls Israel’s Ghetto Wall surrounding Palestinian villages.  The outpouring of public protest over Israel’s war of extermination is an enormous step forward in countering the Zionist monopoly of the mass media and encouraging the tens of millions of Americans who clearly recognize and privately despise Israel’s crimes against humanity and resent the local Zionist elite’s thuggery against those who speak out.  Mass pressure on elected representative may sway some to reconsider their abject servility to their Zionist ‘contributors’ and their ‘Israel First’ Congressional colleagues.

8.      A patriotic nationwide campaign should demand that the Israel lobby, especially AIPAC, come clean and register as a foreign agent of the State of Israel.  This might undermine the Lobby’s appeal to American Jews, reduce its influence over Congress and open up judicial processes and investigations over its abuse of tax-exemptions, money-laundering and lead to revelations over its treasonous procurement of confidential US state documents for a foreign power.  There is a powerful political and legal basis for such a denial of the ‘Lobby’s’ tax-exempt status and legality, apart from the transparent and overwhelming evidence that all Zionist organizations act as transmission belts for Israeli state policies:  In the early 1950’s up to 1963, the forerunner of AIPAC was obligated to register as a foreign agent of the State of Israel.  More recently, an Israeli prosecutor presented evidence that the Israeli-Jewish Agency and its US counterparts were laundering billions of dollars especially for the funding of Israeli colonial settlements on occupied Palestinian land, condemned as illegal under international law.  Congressional hearings, law suits and further published research would reveal the role of the Lobby as a Fifth Column for the State of Israel against the interest of the people of the United States.

Until we neutralize the pervasive power of the Zionist Power Configuration in all of its manifestations – in American public and civic life – and its deep penetration of American legislative and executive offices, we will fall short of preventing Israel from receiving the arms, funding and political backing to sustain its wars of ethnic extermination.

When told that the great majority of the world’s people are sickened and incensed by Israel’s mass murder of the citizens of Gaza, we can easily imagine the contemptuous dismissal by Israel’s top leaders, paraphrasing Joseph Stalin: How many bombers, missiles, fighter planes and powerful lobbies do they (the outraged people of the world) have?



James Petras is the author of Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of US Power, Clarity Press 2008.
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#6
ISRAEL's SIEGE OF WASHINGTON
http://www.middle-east-online.com/english/?id=29777

Israel is using the two arsenals it is most comfortable with - military force to kill, injure, terrorize and displace thousands of Palestinian civilians, and the equivalent political overkill to bludgeon the American political establishment into total submission, notes Rami G. Khouri.


BEIRUT -- If the Israeli attack on Gaza that started 18 days ago was designed partly to send a message to incoming U.S. President Barack Obama, the U.S. Congress in the past week seems to have joined the battle to handcuff the new president and lay down the law for him, even before he takes office.


Obama has tried to remain aloof and stay out of the political battle over the Gaza war by making no substantive statements about it. Israel and its many supporters in Washington have different plans for him. He stayed away from the war, but they have brought the war to him -- shoving it down his throat as his first pre-incumbency lesson in how American presidents behave vis-à-vis Israel’s desires -- if they wish to remain in power.


The House of Representatives voted last Friday by 390-5 for a resolution that completely backed Israel in its onslaught against Gaza, specifically affirming “Israel's right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza". A day earlier, the Senate overwhelmingly supported Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorism.


Such extraordinary one-sided support for Israel by the United States Congress mirrors the same position taken by the administration. Both President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in press meetings that Hamas was to blame for the current war and the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza, and that any ceasefire had to ensure that Hamas stopped attacking Israel. They seemed incomprehensibly blind to Israel’s combined strangulation of and assault on Gaza. (And as this goes to press, comes the story of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert bragging about forcing George Bush and Condi Rice to abstain from the UN call for a ceasefire that Rice helped draft.)


This almost irrational absolute support for Israel in both the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. government occurs while a chorus of international condemnation of Israel for using excessive force includes calls by some United Nations officials and respectable non-governmental organizations to investigate whether Israel has committed “war crimes.”


Israel is using the two arsenals it is most comfortable with -- military force to kill, injure, terrorize and displace thousands of Palestinian civilians, and the equivalent political overkill to bludgeon the American political establishment into total submission.


After six decades of trying, Israel has been unable to turn Palestinians into vassals and subservient slaves -- but it has succeeded in transforming an otherwise impressive American political governance system into a herd of castrated cattle who cower before the threats that Israel’s Washington-based henchmen and hit men hold over them.


Gaza will get its ceasefire soon, but will Washington ever find relief from the choking stranglehold of Israel’s political thugs?


These Congressional votes in the past few days were not an unusual event, sadly, but rather a routine reaffirmation of the chokehold that Israel enjoys over the elected representatives of an otherwise healthy democracy. For example, two years ago, when Israel attacked Lebanon with similar ferocity, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 410-8 to support the Israeli onslaught and to condemn Hamas and Hizbullah for "unprovoked and reprehensible armed attacks against Israel."


Two years before that, in 2004, the House voted 407-9 to support President Bush’s position that it was "unrealistic" for Israel to return completely to its pre-June 1967 borders.


On no other foreign policy issue does the U.S. Congress collectively stick its head in its back pocket, turn off its power of independent judgment, and disregard the impact of its decisions on how the United States is perceived around the world. Nowhere else in the world does the U.S. Congress vote according to the interests of a foreign country, rather than according to the U.S. national interest. This kind of blind, whole-hearted plunge into a maelstrom of pro-Israeli fanaticism and zealotry reflects precisely how strong the pro-Israeli lobby is in the United States, and how weak are the voices of reason, balance and justice as drivers of American foreign policy.


This is the distorted reality that Obama will inherit in a week’s time, and what an ugly thing it is. It captures the worst of all worlds all rolled into one -- the vicious, hysterical force of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States that buys and terrorizes politicians as easily as buying bags of peanuts at a circus; the anemic, mindless and spineless Arab governments who stand naked before Israel and the United States, and shameless before their own people; and the American political establishment that behaves on this issue, with a handful of brave and decent exceptions, in a most un-American manner in the face of the omniscient pro-Israeli forces that decide if they live or die politically.


None of this is surprising or new. It only amazes me that Americans expect us to take them seriously and not to laugh -- or throw up -- when they preach to us about promoting democracy.

Rami G. Khouri is Editor-at-large of The Daily Star, and Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, in Beirut, Lebanon.

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