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|Posted: Sat, 2006 May 13 14:55:31 Post subject: Big Brother - världspolisens framväxt - start på 1890-talet
|Big Brother - världspolisens framväxt - start på 1890-talet
Man kan gå till The Modern History Project och söka på Cecil Rhodes:
Och sen gå till:
The Power Elite Exposed
The march towards global socialism under elite control
The Open Conspiracy
för att få reda på hur planerna lagts upp för att skapa en världspolis för en global slavstat - ett 1984 samhälle under Big Brother.
|The Open Conspiracy
While there are conspiracies going on in the world today, the pursuit of world government now is no longer conspiratorial in the sense of being hidden or secret. Rather, it's what socialist author H.G. Wells called "The Open Conspiracy," as prominent people such as Bill Clinton have openly written in support of world government. It will probably be a World Socialist Government, synthesizing western capitalism and eastern communism. In fact, Joseph Stalin in a speech at Sverdlov University in April 1924 pronounced that "the amalgamation and collaboration of nations within a single world system of economy... constitutes the material basis for the victory of Socialism." And regarding what world government will ultimately mean, it will be authoritarian and repressive, for as Lord Acton wrote: "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."
In 1891, gold and diamond magnate Cecil Rhodes formed a secret society, the "Society of the Elect", to "absorb the wealth of the world" and "to take the government of the whole world," according to Rhodes. According to Prof. Carroll Quigley, Bill Clinton's mentor at Georgetown University, in The Anglo-American Establishment, Rhodes' conspiratorial secret society lasted almost 60 years. By that time, enough members of the society and Rhodes Scholars had penetrated the areas of politics, economics, journalism and education, so that the society was simply replaced by a network of power elite, who would openly pursue world government.
According to Quigley:
|"The [Rhodes] scholarships were merely a façade to conceal the secret society, or, more accurately, they were to be one of the instruments by which members of the secret society could carry out Rhodes' purpose." |
And in case anyone doubts the credibility of Prof. Quigley regarding this matter, The Washington Post article (March 23, 1975) about him and his information obtained from the power elite's "secret records" was titled "The Professor Who Knew Too Much."
Cecil Rhodes' secret society was comprised of a small "Circle of Initiates" and a larger semi-secret "Association of Helpers" which formed Round Table Groups. Members of these groups along with members of the Fabian (Socialist) Society as well as "The Inquiry" (a group formed by President Woodrow Wilson's chief advisor, Col. Edward M. House) formed the Royal Institute of International Affairs in Great Britain, and its American branch, the CFR. Both Prof. Quigley in Tragedy and Hope and CFR member Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. in A Thousand Days have referred to the CFR as a "front" for the power elite. And in Men and Powers, former West Germany chancellor Helmut Schmidt referred to the CFR as "the foreign policy elite," which prepared people for "top-level missions" in government and "other centers of international policy" and "had very silent but effective ways of seeing to its own succession."
Members of Rhodes' secret society networked with Fabian Socialists, who established the London School of Economics in 1895. One early Fabian, H.G. Wells, in New Worlds for Old explained what he called "a plot," whereby heads of state would come and go, but bureaucrats trained at the London School of Economics, for example, would remain in government making rules and regulations furthering the goals of the Fabian Socialists.
Wells broke with the Fabians, not in terms of goals, but only in believing they should be open about them, as he explained the coming synthesis of western capitalism and eastern communism into a world socialist government. In this regard, he authored The Open Conspiracy: Blue Prints for a World Revolution (1928) and The New World Order (1939), in which he said sovereign states (nations) would end and "countless people... will hate the new world order... and will die protesting against it."
The power elite understood that it would be difficult to get the people of the world to accept a world government all at once, and so a gradualistic approach was suggested. Association of Helpers member and Canadian Rhodes scholar P.E. Corbett in Post-War Worlds (1942) wrote:
|"A world association binding together and coordinating regional groupings of states may evolve toward one universal federal government... World government is the ultimate aim, but there is more chance of attaining it by gradual development." |
Man kan sen fortsätta in i vår nutid - våren 2006 och få reda på vad som händer i Big Brothers Storbritannien:
7/7 Reports: You will lose your privacy but next attacks can't be prevented
USA:s Big Brother samhälle:
PART 1: Police state USA and Big Brother's most cool tool
Och USA:s samarbete med Israel:
The Israel Lobby
Och man kan se en video:
Martial Law 9/11: Rise of the Police State (Alex Jones)
Last edited by 11-09-01.blogspot.com on Sat, 2006 May 13 19:56:46; edited 14 times in total
|Posted: Sat, 2006 May 13 15:04:55 Post subject:
7/7 Reports: You will lose your privacy but next attacks can't be prevented
|7/7 Reports: You will lose your privacy but next attacks can't be prevented
Official report reveals multiple "failures", raises many questions, calls for heavier police presence in public but Government still will not allow a public inquiry and tells us they can't prevent next attack.
Steve Watson / Infowars | May 12 2006
Downing Street has again ruled out a public inquiry into the July 7 bombings, despite fresh calls from survivors and relatives of victims, reports the Evening Standard here in London.
The ruling came as two official reports into the attacks concluded that the chances of preventing the July 7 atrocities could have increased if extra resources had been in place sooner.
The reports, carried out by The cross-party Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) and the Home Office also between them confirmed that two of the bombers had been under MI5 surveillance before the bombings. It was further revealed that a third bomber, Germaine Lindsay, was also known to MI5 who had reports, pictures and even his telephone number in its files.
The ISC report claims that MI5 missed a catalogue of clues that could have prevented the bombings. However, the London Times reported last December that MI5 and MI6 had specifically warned Tony Blair before the July 7 suicide bombings that Al-Qaeda was planning a “high priority” attack specifically aimed at the London underground system.
You can't have it both ways, either they "warned of a high priority attack" or they "missed a catalogue of clues", which is it?
The source of this information was a leaked four-page report by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), signed off by the heads of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, the government eavesdropping centre. This indicates that good people within British Intelligence are desperately trying to get the word out that the official line is hokum.
The ISC report has concluded that more police are needed on the streets of major UK cities and also warned that there would be an "inevitable" rise in intrusive activity by security services in the face of the terror threat.
The report recommended a more transparent threat level and alert system, and called for improvements to the way the Security Service MI5 and Special Branches tackle "home-grown" terrorism. The members said they were "concerned that more was not done sooner" about the terror threat from UK citizens.
No longer is "Al Qaeda" the main threat, now apparently all UK citizens could be terrorists.
The official line on whether the bombers were acting alone or not is however still unclear. This latest report states that they "probably" received expert bombmaking assistance from an unknown individual, and they also had a series of highly suspicious contacts with an unknown individual or individuals in Pakistan for several months before the bombings.
Previous to this the government had stated in April of this year that the bombers HAD definitely acted alone and that there was no Al Qaeda involvement.
However, previous to that, in January of this year, a leaked MI5 report stated that they had "no insight " into whether the bombers acted alone, if there was a wider network connection, and if 7/7 was linked to 21/7.
Yet before that, in August 2005, an inquiry involving MI5, MI6, the listening centre at GCHQ, and the police
concluded DEFINITIVELY that there was no "mastermind" of the operation and it was not linked to the follow up failed operation on 21/7.
And initially, in the weeks after 7/7 it was reported that there WAS an Al Qaeda Mastermind behind both operations, and that he had been caught in Zambia. This turned out to be Haroon Rashid Aswat. As soon as terror experts began to reveal that this man was an asset of MI6, the official line changed and has never been clear since.
How can they go from knowing there was a mastermind, to definitively knowing there wasn't one, that the operations were not linked and the bombers acted alone to then having "no insight" on any of this stuff and then back again?
Furthermore the initial story that the bombs were high powered explosives carefully created by a bomb making mastermind (who was also apparently captured, and has since disappeared), were then altered 180 degrees to the story that the bombs were put together from cheap homemade material. Now, the latest reports seem to have taken this full circle by stating that the bombers "received expert bombmaking assistance".
It has also still not been made clear whether the bombs were on timers or were detonated by the bombers. Both these scenarios have been reported as fact.
It is painfully clear that the authorities have changed the official line again and again according to information that is leaked out in the public domain. Still they will not allow a public inquiry. This is because someone knows that if a truly independent inquiry were held the whole sorry scam would be blown wide open.
All these whitewash reports do is clear the government and the intelligence services of any blame. They have no basis in reality as is confirmed by the fact that they directly contradict previous reports without bringing any new evidence to light.
Speaking to the London Guardian, one 7/7 survivor, Rachel North, made clear her dissatisfaction, saying: "These meetings that led to these reports took place behind closed doors ... They were internal investigations and I am not surprised that the politicians and security services have examined their work in secret and subsequently found themselves not to blame."
The latest ISC report also concluded that although some attacks have been prevented since 7/7, the next attack cannot be stopped.
So we have government reports stating that our privacy will be heavily impacted and a greater police presence is needed, but that they cannot prevent the next terror attacks.
No longer are we being told that we must give up liberty for security, we are just simply being told to give up liberty regardless of security.
It is not good enough to say that our liberties need to be restricted because of 7/7 but that we cannot have a public inquiry, and in any case that this will not prevent further attacks. It is also not good enough for the government to investigate itself and conclude that it needs more power and control over the population.
They admit that they completely failed to protect the population yet the spin is that it was because of a lack of resources. So it was due to "a lack of resources" that 4 bombers got on to tube trains, and this requires thousands more armed police everywhere and new laws that simply do away with civil liberties altogether.
The reason behind the decision not to allow a public inquiry according to Tony Blair's official spokesman is that the call for public scrutiny has to be balanced with "the need not to distract from the ongoing work of the security services and agencies".
Funny that because leaked reports by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) have admitted that MI5 "have run out of leads" on the bombings. So they have exhausted their investigation yet we cannot now have a public inquiry because the investigation is ongoing. Again, you cannot have it both ways, which is it?
We were told IMMEDIATELY in the days after the attacks that there was to be no inquiry, despite calls from the opposition party, because it would hinder the investigation.
We were told by Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer that "now is not the time" for an inquiry, but for a decision on what legal steps were needed against terror. Since when do you debate and pass laws into public in response to an event of terrorism before you even know what has happened, who has carried it out or the reasoning behind it?
We were told by ministers "For goodness sake, let's focus on what's important here and that is for the police and the security services to follow up every single lead they've got," . Well evidently they've done that now so can we have an inquiry please?
We were then told AGAIN in December that there was still to be no public enquiry because it would divert attention and resources away from pressing security and community issues, and take too long. There will also never be a criminal trial because the bombers died in the attacks.
More demands from MPs earlier this year told hold an inquiry were also dismissed out of hand. It seems that the government is above the law and only they will tell us what happened, why it happened and what needs to be done about it.
The fallout of 7/7 is all around us in the UK now. This is the face of New Labour's "New Britain". Increased numbers of armed police everywhere with the right to now stop and search anyone they choose to under vamped up anti-terror laws. We now live in a Pro-active, police state, where you are a pre-criminal, that is a criminal until proven otherwise.
And this is what our police now look like in "New Britain". They wear black ski masks, combat trousers and army boots, just like SAS agents.
The Huge black machine guns armed police carry are totally impractical and should an incident occur where they would have to use them, the high output of rounds and spray of bullets they would fire would inevitably cause unnecessary casualties in a bustling city like London.
They are purely designed to look effective and put the fear of life into the population, as are the ski-masks and the combat garb. The more immune people become to them, the more frightening and controlling they will become.
This pattern will continue long as we keep letting the government take away our rights whilst fully admitting that they are failing us and thus must have more control over everything we do. In a free society the government is supposed to serve the population, not the other way round. This is precisely why there needs to be a public inquiry into 7/7 now, before more attacks are carried out and this course of action in the aftermath becomes the norm.
What questions need to be raised in a 7/7 public inquiry? Check the London Bombings Archive for evidence of government prior knowledge, cover ups and complicity and post your comments here.
INFOWARS: BECAUSE THERE'S A WAR ON FOR YOUR MIND
|Posted: Sat, 2006 May 13 15:08:21 Post subject:
PART 1: Police state USA and Big Brother's most cool tool
|PART 1: Police state USA and Big Brother's most cool tool
by Amy Worthington
Senate Minority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) calls this Congress the "most corrupt" in history.1 U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) often uses the term "police state" to describe our national state of affairs. George Bush is making the most expansive claims to unbridled power since America’s War for Independence, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT).2 Former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who proved Bush lied to launch us into war with Iraq, says "fascist forces have seized control of the levers of power."3 Americans are being told that their Republic has become a fascist police state—they just need ears to hear.
In a fascist police state, the dictator secures his power with support from private corporations which are given special privileges and, thus, benefit from doing business with dictators. Continuously bribed by 28,000 corporate lobbyists in D.C.,4 Congress is doing its part to build a fascist state in America.
During President Bush’s recent State of the Union speech, these tainted legislators perpetually rose to their feet to applaud the spewing of what a New York Times editorial called "misleading analogies, propaganda slogans and false choices."5 Their bootlicking recalls a by-gone Soviet era when endless rows of robotic Central Party members applauded the likes of Stalin to ensure their next breath of oxygen.
Passing the fascist laws
they never read
After passage of the Patriot Act of 2001, Rep. Paul told Insight Magazine that the 2,200-page bill was not made available to Congress to read before the vote.6 So the most corrupt Congress in history rubber stamped the most fascist legislation they had never read. Our constitution enumerates inalienable rights that are emphatically restated in the first 10 amendments commonly known as "The Bill of Rights." Under the Patriot Act, the "right" to free speech, peaceable assembly and security in one’s person, papers and effects have been relegated to "privileges" that government can take away at any time. Patriot Act authority has suspended the right to due process and a prompt and public trial; it even cancelled protection against cruel and unusual punishment. Agents serving the fascist state can freely wire-tap our phones, enter our homes/offices, search and seize without warrant and detain us indefinitely without charges—ostensibly to keep America safe.
As we go to press, the original Patriot Act, which had a sunset clause, is now in the final stages of being amended and passed by Congress as a permanent feature of America’s fascist landscape.
The ink had barely dried on the Patriot Act when Congress passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002. Rep. Paul stated that Congress also did not read the 500-page bill that gave birth to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).7 DHS, a creepy intelligence gathering apparatus reminiscent of the Nazi SS, has merged 22 federal agencies and their databases, employing nearly a quarter million workers. The New York Times columnist William Safire told the American people that, under DHS, "You are a suspect."8 Rep. Paul confirms that "the Department represents a huge new increase in the size and scope of the federal government that will mostly serve to spy on the American people."9
Fascist—to the bones
Michael Chertoff was appointed by Bush in 2004 to head DHS. Chertoff appears to be an identical twin of founding Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin, giving us a stark flashback to the Russian Revolution of 1917. That lucrative Wall Street operation, which unleashed murderous communist tyranny upon hundreds of millions of people for nearly the entire 20thcentury, was funded and directed from New York by a clique of Yale-graduated Skull and Bones members in business with the Averell Harriman family.10 George Herbert Walker, great grandfather of the Skull and Bones fascist now occupying the White House, was a Harriman partner when Lenin granted to Harriman’s Wall Street syndicate lucrative Russian resource concessions.11 Lenin also made Harriman partner Max May of Wall Street’s Guaranty Trust the first vice president of Russia’s Soviet Ruskombank.12
Yale’s powerful Skull and Bones network also has a predilection for fascism, as clearly illustrated by the Harriman-Bush involvement in secret funding of the German Nazis during the 1930s.13 Our present commander-in-chief’s grandfather, Prescott Sheldon Bush, was a Harriman partner involved in business dealings with Hitler’s war machine even after WWII began.14 Prescott shamelessly failed to divest himself of more than a dozen "enemy national" relationships that continued as late as 1951.15
As we witness the progression of runaway fascism under the administration of Prescott’s grandson, we must recall that the Skull and Bones syndicate, so adept at bringing nations to heel with war and revolution, created the CIA in 1947 under direction of Bonesman Robert A. Lovett.16 Our burgeoning fascist state is a raging metastasis of the syndicate’s obsession with power, made possible by it’s ritualistic secrecy and iron-fisted control of U.S. intelligence for the last 60 years. Our present generation of ruling Bonesmen is now brazenly merging the hideous Soviet and Nazi models into a hybrid for the new U.S. Homeland Security state.
Congress reforms "intelligence"
In 2004, a clueless and/or compromised Congress rubber-stamped the Intelligence Reform Act, a bill weighing in at over 3,000 pages. This Orwellian horror created the Department of National Intelligence (DNI). All 15 U.S. intelligence agencies now report to DNI mega-commissar John Negroponte, a veteran of the Iran-Contra scandal. This shady new law also establishes a counter-terrorism center and provides for a spy satellite network capable of monitoring private communications systems. It mandates that all drivers licenses and birth certificates be standardized, thereby creating a national ID system. Some provisions of the Intelligence Reform Act were classified "top secret" and congressmen were not allowed to read them.17 Americans have yet to discover what malignant ramifications the DNI may hold for the future.
In June, 2005, George Bush placed a portion of the FBI under his personal control, creating the National Security Service. This secret police apparatus, to be operated by the White House, will have no congressional oversight.18 In October, 2005, Bush created by executive order the National Clandestine Service, a new sticky arm of the CIA empowered to carry out covert operations, spying and dirty tricks within the United States.19 How many Gestapo units does a Fuhrer need?
Meantime, we saw the true fascist face of Chertoff’s Homeland Security megalith last year when he called together some 50 big corporations, including Microsoft, Oracle and Verizon, to enlist their help in watching and tracking the activities of Americans. He told them that Homeland Security was considering hiring a non-profit group to gather information on citizens and send their names for scrutiny to Homeland Security.20
This is the classic fascist formula—corporations invited by Homeland Security to enrich themselves by keeping 300 million Americans under surveillance as suspicious characters. The Department is now collecting a gargantuan amount of information, on every citizen—from every imaginable source— with its new "dataveillance" system called "Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight and Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE)." By sifting through mountains of computerized information, Chertoff’s Gestapo may now identify our "critical patterns of behavior" in order to assess our "motives and intentions."21
An extremely paranoid surveillance state emerges
Homeland Security is grooming law enforcement agencies across the nation to keep a suspicious eye on everyone. A 2004 Homeland Security memo22 sent to police departments and sheriffs’ offices all over the nation instructed law enforcement personnel to watch the masses for body language since a scratch here, a twitch there could give away a would-be terrorist attempting to blend into everyday American life while planning an attack. The memo warned of anyone who shows arrogance or expresses "dislike of attitudes and decisions of the U.S. government," implying that dissent is synonymous with terrorism and to consider as suspect an emotionless face or "a pale face from the recent shaving of a beard."
It also warned that a terrorist might find waiting in a grocery store line intolerable. So we learn that to prevent suspicion, good Homeland citizens must refrain from twitching or scratching in public and maintain a happy face at the grocery store.
The Washington Post noted that each of the U.S. military branches is also spying domestically on American citizens. This has been confirmed by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence who was outraged when he told The Washington Post last November, "We are deputizing the military to spy on law-abiding Americans in America."23
One tentacle of this domestic military spy apparatus is the Pentagon’s Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), a conglomeration of powerful directorates which collect and analyze names of persons considered a threat to the infrastructure of the fascist state.24
Professor of politics Christopher Pyle explains that the Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF) unite military analysts with law enforcement agents as part of "one big club effectively destroying the Fourth Amendment against unlimited search and seizure."25
Commentator Steve Weissman confirms that the JTTF, FBI and local cops are quietly building their own ad-hoc secret police.26
The Pentagon—with its huge network of intelligence agencies—is reportedly engaged in a power struggle with Congress and the new DNI. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is infamous for trying to make his own foreign policy. 27 He has created a new intelligence apparatus of his very own, the Strategic Support Branch (SSB). According to The New York Times, Rumsfeld’s SSB networks, now deployed in nations across the globe, are immune from both congressional oversight and media examination.28
Special operations teams now roam the planet to perpetrate Rumsfeld’s personal black ops missions with no records kept and no questions asked.29 Some of these operations are headed up by Lt. General William Boykin30 who calls the U.S. Army the "House of God"—war, militarism and coercive surveillance being a sort of fascist religion, you see.
The Pentagon also controls the National Security Agency which was authorized by Bush, in violation of the law, to conduct illegal and warrantless wire-tapping of American citizens before 9/11. About the minute he seized the White House, Bush directed NSA to launch a frenetic illegal domestic spy program, depriving Americans of their Fourth Amendment protection from unjustified government intrusion.31 That was long before he could use the excuse of terrorism. To his credit, Senator Russ Feingold said he felt shame during the 2006 State of the Union speech when his fellow legislators wildly applauded as Bush defended this illegal surveillance. "Since when do we start to stand up and cheer for breaking the law?" Feingold asked.32
The New York Times reported that after 9/11, NSA went hysterical, sending the names, addresses and emails of thousands Americans to the FBI for investigation.33 In Idaho (and throughout the nation), law abiding Muslims were harassed and questioned incessantly by the FBI. Finally the ACLU held a seminar to teach these people how to defend themselves during endless interrogations.34 The FBI was overwhelmed with NSA demands—yet we now know that the FBI located no terrorist cells inside the U.S.35 and managed mainly to terrify innocent citizens and invade their privacy.36
The government and its contractors shall be held blameless
Additional police state spawn known as the "Project Bioshield Act of 2004," authorizes the secretaries of the DHS and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to take virtual control of the bodies of all American citizens during a national emergency. Health officials are empowered to compel everyone to receive state-mandated medications or vaccinations and to comply with quarantine orders.37 With lavish Project Bioshield funding, state and local agencies have been drilling for the day when citizens are commanded to line up for the bio-terrorism counter measures being brewed for them by large pharmaceutical companies under lucrative federal contracts.
Absolute liability protection for those companies was inserted into The Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act passed in December, 2005. According to outraged congressional witnesses, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House speaker Dennis Hastert used devious chicanery to sneak this provision into the language without approval of the House-Senate conference committee responsible for the final draft.38
Now if citizens are sickened or killed by Homeland’s compulsory bio-warfare drugs and vaccines, they can neither sue the manufacturer nor seek compensation from the government.
This safety net for the pharmas is vital because the new recombinant vaccines contain deadly squalene adjuvants like MF59, or other lipid-based additives like MPL. These non-soluble lipids cause extreme inflammation as they gradually go rancid in the body. Test animals injected with lipid-based adjuvants always develop incurable auto-immune conditions symptomatic of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus.39
Hundreds of military personnel injected with experimental lots of squalene-contaminated anthrax vaccines have also developed painful, incurable chronic illnesses.40 When Homeland needle Nazis start forcibly whacking the population with the new lipid-laced vaccines, Americans will truly understand the meaning of "bioterrorism."
The new limits of imagination
Meantime, as Homeland fascism deeply ripens, reports of Gestapo-like surveillance and intrusions are coming from everywhere.
• Doug Thompson, a longtime D.C. reporter with deep connections—whose website Capitol Hill Blue has kept readers apprised of the increasingly bizarre and erratic behavior of George W. Bush—recently discovered that the FBI has collected over 100 pages of trivial information on him since 9/11. A friend in the Justice Department actually showed him the data.41
• Another award-winning news correspondent James Moore, who co-authored a book critical of Bush, went to the airport to catch his reserved flight and was told he is now on the Transportation Security Administration’s no-fly list. He has never been given a reason why. If you anger the dictator in a police state, you have no rights. Moore has no recourse; no appeal.42
• Homeland Security is now freely opening private mail.43 Internet providers, universities and city governments across the nation are being forced to overhaul their internet computer networks to make it easier for law enforcement to monitor on-line communications.44 Companies like Yahoo and Google have been pressured to turn over their databases so snoopers can see what websites Americans are visiting.45
• The Washington Post informs us that the FBI is still hand-delivering thousands of national security letters to banks, libraries and commercial enterprises across the nation demanding they turn over their records on their patrons, thus allowing inquisitors to secretly learn every intimate detail of our finances.46
• Anti-war protestors across the nation report that they are being watched and harassed by the National Security Agency and by certain National Guard and local police units working with federal agencies.47
• The most outrageous report is that of a young high school student in North Carolina given an assignment to illustrate his rights under the Bill of Rights. He took a photo of a George Bush poster hanging on the wall next to a "thumbs down" sign. A Walmart employee freaked when he developed the photo and called the police, who then called the Secret Service. The Secret Service went ballistic. They grilled the principal and the civics teacher, confiscated the photo poster and threatened to indict the terrified student.48 Now this kid truly understands the new Bill of no Rights in Fascist America.
And the fantasmagorical
horse it rode in on
Especially galling is that all of this lunacy has blossomed since the so-called terrorist attack of 9/11. As millions of Americans now know—the official 9/11 fable violates the laws of natural science.
• A jet liner can’t disappear into a hole less than half its size without leaving wreckage (Pentagon).
• Hijackers can’t be killed in plane crashes and later be found alive and living lawfully in various locations throughout the world.
• Smoldering fires too cool to bend, let alone melt steel girders can’t collapse two skyscrapers simultaneously at the speed of gravity (Twin Towers).
Brigham Young University physics professor Steven Jones has demonstrated mathematically that pre-positioned explosives, detonated in precise sequence, brought the Trade Center buildings down.49
Former German Minister Andreas von Buelow has explained to the entire world why the complex 9/11 attack was impossible without U.S. government and corporate backing.50
Russian General Leonid Ivashov said recently that the 9/11 attack was faked by government and corporate officials who have invented the war on terror as a tool for global political and economic manipulation.51
Hundreds of 9/11 families know this and in May 2002, they filed suit against the feds for the sacrificial death of their loved ones.52 Their attorney, Stanley Hilton, has stated that he went to school years ago with Paul Wolfowitz and other Bush advisors who even then were planning a fake Pearl Harbor-like attack to grease the skids for a presidential dictatorship.53
Because these sociopaths got away with 9/11, the door remains wide open for them to unleash future fake attacks to leap frog their fascist plans forward.
Keeping a corrupt
Congress in tow
The most corrupt Congress in history has collaborated with 9/11 perpetrators in a shameful cover-up of this horrible genocide project. Perhaps they tolerate treason because they are afraid to end up like the late Senator Paul Wellstone, who died in a suspicious plane crash after leading opposition to the Bush gang’s war in Iraq.54 Or they are afraid of getting an anthrax message as did the staffs of Tom Daschle and Pat Leahy after those two sassed the president back in 2001.55
According to research of Dr. Len Horowitz and others, the anthrax strain mailed to enemies of the state originated in a CIA research program. It is apparent that even the anthrax scare was an inside job.56 If America gets the flu, will it be from "the birds"—or from "the boys?"
Waive Posse Comitatus; suspend habeas corpus
In October 2005, Bush announced that he was considering plans for federal military personnel to enforce quarantines in the event of a bird flu outbreak. Bush believes that he has the power to waive the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits federal military personnel from committing law enforcement in the United States. John Brinkerhoff, deputy director of FEMA, has developed martial law implementation plans to be enforced by U.S military personnel.
Bush has reportedly signed executive orders giving himself sole authority to impose martial law and suspend habeas corpus with no checks and balances during a national emergency.57
When implemented, the declaration of martial law will completely trump the sovereign powers of the several states.
In his hands?
The authority to decide what constitutes a national emergency apparently rests solely with this impaired little man who needs antidepressants to control his moods and temper.58 Our cherished Constitution now dangles by a thread from the unstable hand of a man professionally diagnosed as a paranoid megalomanic.59 The lives of our children now depend upon a man who has authorized the Pentagon’s use of flesh burning white phosphorus and napalm weapons against the people of Iraq in the name of bringing them "democracy."60
The Pentagon has ordered U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) at Peterson Air Force Base to prepare a series of CONPLANS, super secret strategies designed for rapid military takeover of the USA when the dictator gives the word.61 These are the same planners who, under the command of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were, "unable" to get a single plane off the ground to intercept the attack they launched against their own headquarters to engender the fascism we now suffer. 62
William Arkin, writing for The Washington Post, explains that the CONPLANS have arisen from a series of special authorities given to the Pentagon by the White House. The Pentagon’s full scale exercise of CONPLAN 0400 (Granite Shadow) capabilities are slated to begin in April 2006.63 A preview was seen when fully armed Visible Intermodal Protection and Response (VIPER) teams launched exercises in U.S. mass transit facilities late last year. As noted by writer Steve Watson, VIPER exercises involved "federally brainwashed goons stomping around with machine guns and vicious dogs, getting in everyone’s face and randomly grabbing and searching people on the subway."64
General Tommy Franks assured us in 2003 that, after a major casualty-producing event anywhere in the Western world, the American people would "question our own constitution" and consent to a militarization of the United States for security.65
The Pentagon is said to be a tad worried that a military takeover at home might diminish its ability to kill and torture abroad.66
The fascists and their friends are preparing for martial law
Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root has been awarded a $385 million dollar contract by Homeland Security for construction of detention and processing facilities to be made ready in the event of a national emergency.67 Brown and Root has been part of the Skull and Bones nexus since its inception at the turn of last century.68 Like Halliburton, it has grown fat on blood-money gleaned through decades of perpetual war, including the present conflagration in the Middle East.
If the fascists batten down totalitarian power domestically, Kellogg, Brown and Root will likely profit immensely from the erection and maintenance of such prison camps expected to dot the land of the free if the fascists launch a military takeover.
Homeland Security camps could be bulging at the seams overnight when the U.S. falls under "emergency" military rule. Indeed, the foregoing shows the Bush administration is preparing for this eventuality. The U.S. already has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world. During martial law, when no one is free to move around at will, just about EVERYONE is under a form of "house" arrest. Americans got a taste of this grim future when, during the 2004 Republican National Convention protests when 1,806 demonstrators were rounded up, imprisoned without charges and kept in filthy conditions for 24 hours or more.69
New national ID: A totalitarian dream coming true
The grand finale of American fascism is yet to come. No totalitarian ruling structure would be complete without an oppressive identification system that allows the dictator’s henchmen to access birth-to-death information on every citizen listed in the national database. It’s becoming obvious that no one is intended to escape the dictator’s dynamic plans to force upon us national ID cards and, eventually, under-the-skin identification implants and a satellite tracking system able to keep each of us under round-the-clock surveillance.
The CIA admits that for years it has supported the rise of numerous U.S. technology companies for the development of hardware and software useful for surveillance and tracking of the masses.70
Oracle Corporation, the world’s largest database software maker, is one of these CIA receptacles.71 As a voice for spooks everywhere, Oracle’s billionaire chairman Larry Ellison has long demanded that Americans be encumbered with digital identification cards, complete with biometric markers such hand prints and iris scans.72 Immediately after 9/11, Ellison presented to federal officials his proposal to create a national ID system with Oracle’s expertise and technology. This system will provide ruling fascists with utmost efficiency at sucking detailed personal information on every citizen into what Ellison calls a "single comprehensive national security file."73
The U.S. Intelligence Reform Bill of 2004 made a portion of Ellison’s proposal into law. It requires that each new U.S. citizen born be issued a Social Security number to be included on his birth certificate along with his DNA biomarkers. All of this information will be stored in the national data base and no child will enroll in public school or receive any entitlement benefit without first presenting his Homeland Security birth certificate.74
The Real ID Act passed by Congress in December 2005 completely solidified Ellison’s ID plan. This new law establishes a massive, centrally-coordinated federal ID database. It forces all 50 states to spend millions of dollars to update their equipment so that by 2008, all holders of U.S. drivers licenses and state licensed ID cards will have their biometric data and other personal information fed directly into the national data base. Congressman Paul says the new ID cards will likely contain radio frequency identification tracking technology that can be read by scanners at a distance, allowing the governments of U.S., Canada and Mexico to quickly locate any card-bearing American.75
We are told that banks and credit card companies applaud a national ID system.76 Instead of using bank credit and debit cards, people may eventually make purchases by showing their biometric Homeland ID cards. These transactions will then end up in the federal database, permitting fascists to assess our motives and intentions by monitoring our cashless sales and purchases.
Officials at all levels will also be able to feed a citizen ID number into a wireless handheld or laptop device that connects to the national database. They may then instantly access that person’s financial transactions, credit reports, medical and vaccination records, school records, driving records, political and religious affiliations and anything else that might have been inserted into his file by Homeland spies.
If this were 2008, the boy who created the thumbs down poster would likely have his politically incorrect behavior duly recorded in the national data base under his ID number. And conversely, while Americans are being set up to surrender every shard of personal privacy, their fascist government is withholding from them more information than ever and continually expanding ways of shrouding data, according to a coalition of watchdog groups.77
Can you say "Mooo, baa baa" and "oink?"
National ID cards are only the beginning. America’s fascist police state is demonstrably anxious to ensure that each citizen have his identification number permanently attached to his body. For many years, U.S. intelligence agencies have been working with private corporations and covens of scientists from Princeton University and other enclaves to develop subdermal radio frequency devices that can be injected under the skin of humans for identification purposes. Syringe implantable ID transponders were readied years ago, as illustrated by the prototype fully developed in 1995 by CIA-connected Hughes Aircraft Company.78
The corporate gargoyle chosen by the fascists to market ID implant devices for our new security state is Applied Digital Solutions (ADS). With corporate offices in Florida, ADS and its web of subsidiaries are now unleashing upon the world a vast variety of injectable ID chips, plus the sensors and scanners needed to read them.79
A leading ADS backer is IBM, which promotes a global identity system.80 It’s a matter of public record that IBM’s New York Office provided the German Nazi’s with technology and equipment that allowed Hitler to number and track his Nazi concentration camp prisoners as well as others caught in his fascist web.81
If he could he see his old partners now, Adolph might be green with envy, having been consigned to the barbaric practice of simply tattooing ID numbers on his slaves.
While many European nations are also setting up electronic identity systems as a foundation for future ID chip implants, it is especially pertinent that ADS has been given a prestigious award for its sinister implant technology by the World Economic Forum (WEF).82
WEF is a clique of wealthy corporate and political elitists who dictate global agendas. One of its most famous members is Bill Gates of Microsoft. Gates travels the world spending millions to promote injections for people of Third World nations. ID microchip implants are the mother of all injections. Microsoft recently patented a way to use human skin as a power conduit for electronic devices.83
In 2004, Tommy Thompson, at that time the Secretary of Health and Human Services under Homeland Security, invited ADS to a government showcase to promote the implantation of subdermal microchips as part of the U.S. health care system.84 Requiring no medical control studies on the health effects of microchip implantation, the FDA, which also gave us silicone breast implants, aspartame and Vioxx, has approved the marketing of certain ADS chips.85
Tommy Thompson has now joined the ADS board. He told Americans during an interview with CBS Market Watch that ID chips inserted into our bodies will be a giant step towards achieving an electronic medical record for all Americans.86 While ADS is donating to medical facilities expensive scanners required to read its subdermal chips,87 the Department of Health and Human Services is providing grants to medical providers who will help build electronic health records for Americans within a decade.88
ADS and its subsidiaries, including VeriChip Corporation, have developed several kinds of implantable subdermal chips. One type is the FDA-approved VeriChip, that spits out the implantee’s ID number when it is scanned by a chip reader.
Another is the VeriPay device which carries financial information and is scanned like a debit card. People in Europe are now being implanted with VeriPay chips in order to enter bars and nightclubs.89
So far, these kinds of chips are passive. That is, they don’t beam information continuously. Their transponders have to be awakened by a reader. These chips and their scanners pass kilohertz radio-frequency signals back and forth through the skin. The first step to inducing public acceptance of these ID chips, said San Francisco Gate columnist Mark Morford, is getting the public to accept chip implants as beneficial for health. The next step is to make it all fun and commercial and convenient. The third step is "whatever the hell they want."90
VeriChip Corporation recently announced that already 68 U.S. medical facilities, including 65 hospitals, have now agreed to implement its VariMed system for patient and staff identification and tracking.91 This includes both implantable and wearable ID chips that will tie the health records of patients into Big Brother’s electronic national database. In New Jersey, Hackensack University Medical Center and Trinitas Hospital, will be implanting patients in their emergency rooms.92 These crafty hucksters are targeting the most vulnerable people first-- the injured and the sick who are desperate for care, plus the homeless and mentally retarded who can’t defend themselves.
As injectable ID chips come on line, Homeland Security is paying numerous corporations to develop a national network of object-mounted wireless sensors that will be able to read implanted human chips.93 This network of sensors will eventually relay information on the whereabouts and activities of implantees to teams of surveillance specialists. Conceivably, every wall socket could become a reader for implanted chips.
To quote University of Kansas professor Jerry Dobson, these devices will ultimately offer "a new form of human slavery based on location control. They pose the greatest threat to personal freedom ever faced in human history."94
The argument that implanted chips will protect people from identity theft recently evaporated when researcher Jonathan Westhues demonstrated on the Internet how easy it is to decode a VeriChip number implanted in a person’s arm and then program another chip with that same number.95
Digital Angel: Fascist Big Brother’s most cool tool
Passive ID subdermal chips are the "good news" compared to grotesque ACTIVE implant chips also developed by ADS. The implantable Digital Angel is a grotesque communication device that can continually relay information wirelessly to either ground stations or to satellite systems.96 Developed to be a true tracking chip like the bulky radio ankle bracelets locked onto prisoners, it is tiny enough to be implanted into human flesh. The Angel has a built-in GPS receiver and a wireless transceiver. In December, 2004, ADS signed an agreement with the satellite telecommunications company ORBCOMM. Such collusion will one day turn implanted citizens into walking radio beacons, trackable by satellite.97
Digital Angel is the ultimate in totalitarian control, to date Big Fascist Brother’s most "cool tool."
Cooler tools now in R&D
ADS has also developed a new Bio-Therm chip implant which can read and transmit to monitoring devices a person’s temperature. In the works are other chips for identifying blood pressure, disease and hormonal levels.98
Reportedly, these biochips will be capable of relaying information to both satellite and ground stations.
Oracle is backing a powerful new 999 medical biochip that contains a Pentium microprocessor just 2mm square. This computerized sensor is being implanted into diabetics by doctors experimenting in London.99 Text messages from the chip’s sensors will travel through flesh to a cell phone tethered to the patient, then on to monitoring stations.
In 2000, ADS chairman Richard Sullivan said that Digital Angel "relates directly to the exploding wireless marketplace." He added, "We’ll be demonstrating for the first time ever that wireless telecommunications systems and bio-sensor devices—capable of measuring and transmitting critical body function data—can be successfully linked together with GPS technology and integrated with the internet."100
Most sinister is the fact that these chips can be "activated" by distant monitoring facilities and they can be "written to" wirelessly, allowing the fascists to furtively add information that the chip bearer may know nothing about.101
Powerful web-enabled tracking chips which send and receive information at long distances are ultra radiation-intensive. Big Brother’s most cool tool is "hotter" than Hades. Bodies bearing these chips will be continuously bombarded with incoming and outgoing microwave radiation, most likely in the megahertz or gigahertz range, the same frequencies employed by cell phones. Satellites communicate in microwave frequencies.
Last October, Time magazine gave a plug to implantable ID and bio chips, stating they could save lives.102 But people who have active chips imbedded in their bodies will be dead men walking. The human body is not compatible with microwave radiation and bodies subjected to it 24-7 will ultimately be destroyed.
The fascists know this but, as Sullivan explained, the mighty global surveillance system now under construction is absolutely dependant upon wireless microwave transmissions. This is precisely why Americans have never been told the terrible truth about what hand held wireless devices are already doing to their health, to their fragile memory centers and to their withering immune systems.103
...to keep us "safe"
In the Homeland Security state, microchip implants of various kinds will likely become as common as cell phones. Eventually, citizens who refuse to accept identification chips may be denied access to services and benefits by heel-clickers supervising the national ID system. And thus we see how cleverly Americans are being manipulated into this crucible by killers in the White House, and by the most corrupt Congress in history and by the amoral, money-grubbing corporate megalith they all rode in on. In the name of national security and public health—millions of non-discerning citizens will allow themselves to be micro-chipped like dogs, tracked by satellite and stripped of all privacy as they become the virtual slaves of a techno-tyrannical surveillance state.
If we want to know what USA will be like in the near future, we need only look at Tony Blair’s Great Britain—surely the most advanced police state in Europe:
• ID cards with facial scans will soon be compulsory throughout U.K.104
• There are over 4 million closed circuit cameras monitoring every move the British people make and all faces caught on camera can be matched with a national data bank.105
• British police are carrying hand held DNA kits linked to national data bases for when they test saliva.106
• People are being pulled off London trains at random and forced to submit to a full body backscatter X-ray to reveal what they have under their clothes.107
• Swipe cards used for transportation and building entry allow police to plot a citizen’s every move on a dot map.108
• All moving vehicles in Britain are camera-recorded so that police can analyze, by license number, every journey, and every gas purchase made.109
• People and vehicles are being tracked from cell towers with a new technology called "Celldar" (as in radar).110
• The British people are reporting grave illnesses from their exposure to thousands of microwave transmitters which make this metastasizing surveillance nightmare possible.111
Preview of Part 2
and a few helpful hints
In part two of this discussion, we will document the latest scientific information on the devastating health effects that will result from the implanted microwave devices used to track and control slaves of the state.
If you feel a creeping allergy to the fascism we have documented here, you can do something about it now. Make the choice right now to keep microwave-driven wireless devices as far away from your body as you can get them. These devices include all wireless telephones—both cell and household cordless—plus wireless computers, headphones and all other gadgets empowered by megahertz or gigahertz frequencies. If you must use wireless phones for business or emergencies, use speaker phones only. Never put a wireless device on your body, least of all near your precious brain. You are going to NEED a brain to survive—and ultimately defeat—fascist America.
Microwave transmitters are not toys; they are weapons. Brother’s wireless revolution has induced millions of fools to voluntarily point these weapons at their own heads. The wireless revolution is not only about money, it is about control. It is about acclimatizing the masses to accept the dehumanizing parameters of Orwellian surveillance.
A police state best flourishes when its citizens are sick, dimwitted cyborgs who are easy to track and control. The "cool tool" communications microchip can also be used by the fascists to impose behavior modification. The CIA has decades of experience in using various microwave frequencies to misalign and confound the human brain in order to trigger prescribed behavior patterns.112
As the police state broadens with the help of Homeland’s cooperating telcom players, it is conceivable that such devilish frequencies could be used with evil intent against all those who are "connected." These hapless victims, driven to and fro by fascist propaganda, will be oblivious to what is channeled into their sizzling brain neurons, into their internal organs, into their very souls by the deadly wireless transceivers they bear in their flesh.
Peter Zhou, chief scientist for the development of Digital Angel, declared that the subdermal identification/communication implants will make humans "a hybrid of electronic intelligence and our own soul."113
He is right! America’s parasitic police state and all of its perversions absolutely ARE a soul thing. So the time has surely come to stand back and scrutinize this illicit monstrosity which so brazenly deceives, swindles, sickens and murders the people to gain power and wealth. Please start thinking about how you and your family are going to exist for a time in a demon-driven world where deadly radio frequency identification implants become mandatory.
The more people who courageously resolve to stand firm against this mighty beast, the safer we will be until we get through this miserable, and hopefully final fascist interlude in human history.
|Posted: Sat, 2006 May 13 15:10:36 Post subject:
The Israel Lobby
|The Israel Lobby
John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt
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’aretz columnist 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, t
|Posted: Sat, 2006 May 13 16:13:59 Post subject:
The Israel Lobby
|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.
An unedited version of this article is available at http://ksgnotes1.harvard.edu/Research/wpaper.nsf/rwp/RWP06-011, or at http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=891198.
John Mearsheimer is the Wendell Harrison Professor of Political Science at Chicago, and the author of The Tragedy of Great Power Politics.
Stephen Walt is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. His most recent book is Taming American Power: The Global Response to US Primacy.
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