‘Esquire’ Describes Power of Israel Lobby, Without Naming It

on 6 Comments

Esquire has printed a fine piece by John H. Richardson about former NSC analyst Flynt Leverett battling the neocons inside the White House during the runup to the Iraq war. The best moment is when Saudi Prince Abdullah meets with President Bush in Crawford, TX, in 2002 and demands that he do something about the Palestinian situation.

Abdullah sat down and told Bush he was going to ask a direct
question and wanted a direct answer. Are you going to do anything about
the Palestinian issue? If you tell me no, if it’s too difficult, if
you’re not going to give it that kind of priority, just tell me. I will
understand and I will never say anything critical of you or your
leadership in public, but I’m going to need to make my own judgments
and my own decisions about Saudi interests.

Bush tried to stall, saying he understood his concerns and would see what he could do.

Abdullah stood up. "That’s it. This meeting is over."

No Arab leader had ever spoken to Bush like that before, Leverett
says. But Saudi Arabia was a key ally in the war on terror, vital to
the continued U.S. oil supply, so Bush and Rice and Powell excused
themselves into another room for a quick huddle.

When he came back, Bush gave Abdullah his word that he would deal seriously with the Palestinian issue.

"Okay," Abdullah said. "The president of the United States has given me his word."

That "word" resulted in the road map, now abandoned. Richardson’s piece doesn’t mention the Israel lobby. But it’s implicit throughout–the hardliners in Cheney’s office, along with Elliot Abrams, who see Israel as virtuous and the Palestinians as terrorists, and aren’t interested in the peace process. The demonization of Iran and Syria. The piece is interesting to me because Richardson’s dad was a big spook. And Leverett also would seem to  represent the old WASP tradition in foreign policy. Generally dismissed by the lobby as Arabists–they are making a little comeback here. In the press anyway… 

6 Responses

  1. Jossey Bruckner III
    November 5, 2007, 12:57 pm

    Phil is a WASPophile

  2. Ben
    November 5, 2007, 2:04 pm

    The Esquire article was great. Thanks for pointing it out.

  3. Gene
    November 5, 2007, 2:43 pm

    There are lots of interesting links (linkages?) here for anyone interested to read. – link to tinyurl.com

    My take on all of this is that it would be important that liberal Jews (besides the now well-known ones like Weiss, Silverstein, Levy, etc.) – more of their voices are needed – join the movement to curtail the power of the Ultra-Zionist Lobby on the Empire's foreign policy. Most of the power in the US currently does not lie within the non-Jewish communities that lack the organizational and financial resources, and hence the required drive for such a humungous task. They certainly cannot face the UZ lobby (& its appendages) on their own.

    I don't think for a moment that such a move is easy. We are only too aware of the horrors that can befall communities that let down their guard. In the case of the Jewish communities, nobody in his or her right mind, Jews or non-Jews, want to be an enabler of such human aberrations. But the status quo is untenable. Perhaps the time has come to go beyond boundaries that restrict our course of action & affirm & fight for (perhaps for the first time in history) our humanity. Naive & puerile, I know. But what is the alternative?

  4. David Seaton
    November 5, 2007, 3:49 pm

    We are looking at situation that is falling apart. These tipping points occur periodically in the spiral of history. These changes are immune to strategies, the only intelligent strategy possible is to avoid being trapped in them.

    The big mistake the Jewish community could be making is to put itself in the way of a lot of falling debris. It wouldn't be the first time that Jews were left holding the bag and that is what I'm afraid is in the process of happening.

  5. KXB
    November 6, 2007, 12:42 pm

    To be fair, AIPAC is mentioned, tangentially –

    "But with degrees from Brandeis and Harvard Law and stints at Tel Aviv University and the powerful Israeli lobby known as AIPAC, she has even better right-wing credentials than her husband."

  6. Defenestrator
    November 6, 2007, 1:40 pm

    "The big mistake the Jewish community could be making is to put itself in the way of a lot of falling debris."

    Is this the big mistake? Or is the big mistake that there aren't enough Jewish voices willing to speak out about what is not in the best interest of the United States?

    The reputation of the black community continually takes hits when black leaders support apparently guilty black people, a la Michael Vick, unconditionally. This then leads to prejudice and racism because white people believe that the logic of a black person can't be trusted if it means offering an opinion that might be good for the country but bad for the community.

    Until Jews start to do step away from "the community first", it is completely rational for all other groups to start from the assumption that the opinions held are first for the benefit of Jews, rather than the benefit of the country.

    Schumer and Feinstein, for instance. Is it any more ludicrous to assume they support Mukasey because of his being Jewish than to assume a Baptist minister will support an Evangelical?

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