How to run for President: whatever the ‘people of Israel decide is in their interest’

Pretty amazing interview with Indiana congressman Mike Pence (posted by Matt Duss). This guy wants to run for president in ’12 (the reason he decided not to run against Bayh this year — even though polls showed him ahead):

I think President George W. Bush got it right. The United States certainly wants to be honest, but we don’t want to be a broker. A broker doesn’t take sides. A broker negotiates between parties of equals… America’s on the side of Israel. And to send any other message than our unwavering support, that we will stand with what the sovereign government and the people of Israel decide is in their interest, I think represents a departure from where the heart of the American people are at.

Weiss adds: Note how similar Pence’s language is to someone on the other side of the aisle, Democratic power broker Ann Lewis. She was speaking to a Democratic Jewish audience in ’08 (reported by Dana Milbank of WPost) when it was suggested that a president might choose to reflect liberal political opinion in Israel; "Lewis retorted: ‘The role of the president of the United States is to support the decisions that are made by the people of Israel. It is not up to us to pick and choose from among the political parties.’" 

Posted in Iraq, Israel Lobby

{ 54 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. ”

    That says ‘United States’ right? Not Israel, right?

    • potsherd says:

      Here is a more immediate danger: Mark Kirk.

      Kirk is the leading recipient of Israel lobby money in the house, and one of the leading recipients in the entire Congress. He notoriously referred to the Gaza massacre as Israel “taking out the trash.”

      He is now, after last week’s primary, leading the race to take Barack Obama’s Senate seat. It will be a dirty race, the Democratic candidate is tainted by a banking scandal. We don’t need another AIPACnik in the Senate, but that’s what we’re going to get.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        I’ve lost all faith in the Democratic Party. The only palpable difference I can see is that Democrats don’t start war crimes like Republicans — they merely toady along and keep doing them “because everyone else is doing” amd “that’s the way our democracy works.”

        There is some ironic consolation in watching the Democratic Party jump off the same bridge as the Republican Party mere minutes after the latter led the charge.

  2. Cliff says:

    Basically accurate. ‘Our’ government will pursue ‘our’ interests – or those defined by the various powers that be (the Lobby, the MIC, etc.).

  3. Citizen says:

    So our foreign policy is to rubber-stamp whatever the government of any other country wants? This guy is a US rep? Does he also think the US Federal government should do whatever Indiana voters want? Yes, he does. What an AH.

  4. Citizen says:

    Pence at AIPAC conference:
    link to aipac.org

  5. Citizen says:

    A newbie shiksa congressional aid from Indiana gets a lesson in jewish power on the hill:
    link to advanceindiana.blogspot.com

  6. Taxi says:

    What’s really revolting is that he’s not the only US rep who goes around spouting shit like this.

  7. Surely though this is no different than the longstanding recognition from within previous administrations that the USA has acted “as Israel’s lawyer” throughout? I mean to say that however improper this looks, and is, actually he is merely advocating the status quo. Given that it is well known, what I have never quite understood is why it should be surprising that the peace talks failed. The palestinians have nothing to negotiate with, and have no ‘lawyer’ of their own.

    I have tried to follow the publicly available discussions for three decades. As best I can tell the Israeli side has never offered anything that an Israeli would accept if the tables were turned.

  8. annie says:

    it wouldn’t be a bad thing if this talk turned into a trend. let’s let it all hang out and not pretend israel isn’t the make or break issue for getting elected to congress, not piddly issues like health care or jobs. let’s have a big national conversation about israel. i’m up for it. as the counrty goes down the tank maybe more people will start questioning why we’re sending israel 3 billion a year.

  9. Well known, and yet gobsmacking. Why do two developed nations, one with the worlds 6th largest nuclear arsenal need aid?

    • Walid says:

      Southernobserver, it gives us all a good feeling to talk about Israel with the 16th or 15th highest per capita income being unashamedly on the receiving end of American aid while homeless Americans are scrounging garbage and it also gives us a good feeling to repeat how little Israel is the tail wagging the dog. This is the bogus picture we are led to see.

      America does only what America wants to do or to use Eleanor’s words, America lets others do it it only what it allows them to. It’s Israel that is being led by the nose by America since America is keeping it alive economically and militarily because it’s good for America and this has nothing to do with any unatural American love for Israel. America needs to have Israel acting as its Mideast bouncer for as long as America needs to have it do so and the 3 or 5 billlion annual price tag is dirt cheap in comparison to what it’s costing it to maintain its own troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. And nobody is holding up a gun to the US legislators’ heads to force them to accept the Israeli-strings attached billions in bribes to stuff their election funds or bank accounts. Israelis are convenient fall-guys but this isn’t to say that their hands are clean but that the Americans aren’t as spic’n'span as they appear either. The siege of Gaza was drummed up by the US after its failed Fateh-led coup; Israel, the Europeans and the Arabs are following orders.

      • Taxi says:

        Walid,

        “It’s Israel that is being led by the nose by America since America is keeping it alive economically and militarily because it’s good for America…”

        Why Walid, why are we doing this? What is the thinking behind it, the purpose – why do we need Israel? What do we get out of it?

        When our politicians refer to Israel as our ‘strategic partner’, before Perestroika we understood this to mean a democratic/capitalist force in the middle east against the sweeping tide of socialism and Soviet influence. But that was last century no less – certainly feels like a hundred years have passes since Perestroika – good grief so much has happened since!

        I would love to know what is exactly is the idea behind us fucking with the middle east like that?

        To say its about oil, well yes, but its too simplistic and intellectually dissatisfying for it to be the whole reason.

        And yes 3 billion is relatively ‘cheap’, but when you break it down into how much each of our politician is making from supporting giving Israel this three billion, it’s a completely different picture:

        link to vaughns-1-pagers.com

      • Walid, how does your thesis explain American rejection of Iranian offers of rapprochement?
        The 1995 sanctions US enacted against Iran were proposed and crafted by Israel lobbyist, and worked to the detriment of US corporations, according to Trita Parsi in “Treacherous Alliance,” and Keith Weissman in a conference in Seattle, WA last December link to edmaysproductions.net
        Weissman worked for AIPAC in 1995 when, he says, he helped write the executive order that developed into the Iran Libya Sanctions legislation.

        I disagree with your argument almost completely; US is not using Israel today; quite the contrary. Hint: which way is the money flowing?

  10. For any those of you who missed seeing the Gaza ‘War’ on American TV, here is a little update:
    Gaza in Plain Language

    link to youtube.com
    Warning: You may have to go through various obstacles before you view this. Youtube has put it in a censored category. I had to ‘join’ Youtube before I could view it.

    • Avi says:

      A lot of Palestine related videos on YouTube get “flagged” by the “YouTube community” in an attempt to make them as inaccessible as possible.

      Some stuff gets the “hate speech” treatment and is promptly removed. For example, Max Blumenthal’s videos from Jerusalem were deemed “anti-Semitic” and removed. Why? Who knows. If a Jew or an Israeli are videos behaving like thugs, it’s anti-Semitic to show that video to the public. It’s kind of like a national security issue or a military installation…. NO PHOTOS, PLEASE!

      But, as a three minute surfing on YouTube will show you, there is plenty of hate speech against Arabs, Muslims and even Christians.

      If they can’t go after the content, they go after something else, like the audio track, claiming it violates some copyright issues, or some nonsense like that.

      The way the Israel/Palestine conflict is treated on YouTube gives the impression that ADL trolls are busy 24/7 flagging videos and filing complaints.

  11. otto says:

    Phil, you saw that Palin was wearing a pin with both US and Israeli flags at the Tea Party convention speech a day or two ago. She’s running for POTUS too.

  12. syvanen says:

    The distressing thing here is that someone like this may very well become president in 2012 if the unemployment numbers do not start improving. If zionist money along with a grass-roots Christian Zionist movement backs one of these right wing populists then we could end up with an administration that would have no hesitation to escalate America’s involvement in Israel’s wars. We know that even Bush refused to attack Iran and prevented Israel from doing so. As much as Obama has failed to do anything about Israel he has made it clear that war with Iran is off the table.

    As hard as it is to imagine things could really get worse in the ME. The big argument in 2013 might not be the one-state or two-state solution, rather it might be American recognized apartheid or physical transfer of 4.5 Palestinians from the WB.

    • Israel’s Final Solution may be a total massacre of Palestinians. In which case, you can expect to hear as little about it as you have heard about the Sinhala/Tamil Final Solution

      • Avi says:

        Sinhala/Tamil Final Solution

        That is a testament to the value placed on non-Christian, non-White lives in the world, particularly by the so-called West.

        In fact, while we’re on this subject, if we looked at all the massacres and genocides in recorded human history, aren’t the perpetrators mainly European?

      • Julian says:

        “Israel’s Final Solution may be a total massacre of Palestinians. ”

        Then we should move them out of there as soon as possible.
        There is plenty of room in Saudi Arabia and several other foward thinking progressive Arab States.

  13. radii says:

    to carry the point, Avi, let’s look at the massacres or “genocides” which have occurred just in the last 20 years or so:

    Rwanda – over 1 million dead; Balkans – several hundred thousands; Darfur – perhaps as many as 1 million; and the Congo – between 5 and 8 million people killed (depending upon your source) … yet the zionists derive such PR and political value out being the world’s official victims (WOV) that they have effectively established a hierarchy of suffering as L.A. Times art critic Christopher Knight (in his review of the Berlin Holocaust Memorial) put it

    the Democratic Party gets over 40% of its money from jews, who comprise around 2% of the overall population of the U.S. and the Republican Party, due to its ties to the Christo-fascist fanatical right-wingnuts who believe in Rapture nonsense are lock-step with the Likkudniks because their base is stood upon these fanatics who see israel and zionism as the key to the return of their Jesus

    the slavish and vulgar debasing our political leaders in service to israel and the zionists is embarrassing and loathsome to watch, but not enough Americans are awake to the threat israel represents to our very country yet

    Pence is just another pathetic worm

    • Citizen says:

      Richard Cohen, a columnist for the Washington Post, updated those figures in 2006 citing figures of 60% and 35% respectively for the Democratic and Republican Parties. According to the Washington Post, Democratic presidential candidates depend on Jewish sources for 60% of money from private sources. (from Wiki)

      If memory serves the largest recent contributor was Haim Saban, an Israeli Jew.

      • Citizen says:

        A good book on this subject might be JJ Goldberg’s Jewish Power.

      • Brookings Institute used to be the creme de la creme of Washington think tanks, then (or therefore Saban bought Brookings — established the Saban center within Brookings.

        Saban is Hillary’s primary sponsor — she owes her political career, from US Senator from NY to her current position, to Saban.

      • radii says:

        Richard Cohen, a columnist for the Washington Post, updated those figures in 2006 citing figures of 60% and 35% respectively for the Democratic and Republican Parties. According to the Washington Post, Democratic presidential candidates depend on Jewish sources for 60% of money from private sources

        Well if Bronner is finally getting scrutiny maybe this will finally get some MSM coverage too. It is the smoking gun in my view – vastly disproportionate influence from an exceedingly small minority – that’s at least 45% of all the money coming from jewish sources affecting all of our politics.

  14. otto says:

    And here in the sober-minded FT:

    Insiders attribute Mr Obama’s waning enthusiasm for the Arab-Israeli peace initiative to a desire to avoid antagonising sceptical lawmakers whose support was needed on healthcare. The steam went out of his Arab-Israeli push in mid-summer, just when the healthcare bill was running into serious difficulties.

    link to ft.com

    • Israel lobbyists were counting on just such an eventuality — the conspiracy theorist in me says it was planned: at a July 2009 conference of Brit Tzedek Shalom (pre-BTS merger with J Street), the moderator explained how the success of health care would directly impact US heft on Israel/Palestine.

      My tinfoil hat had a meltdown when, one day after Scott Brown won Senate seat, making Democratic health care reform less likely, Obama issued a statement saying,
      ‘Golly goshes, we didn’t think solving the Israel-Palestine conflict was going to be so hard; who knew Bibi would walk all over Israel’s bestest friend, the US? Sorry folks; onto the back burner she goes. And you Palestinians? Why, buck up, y’hear?
      ‘Rahm, where’s my honorary yarmulke, the one that matches my collection of blue ties?’

  15. Although the Republican party used to have (as recently as George Bush the first) a tradition of nonintervention in foreign wars (or alternately a realist view of the world), that attitude is not that prevalent today in the party and certainly not in the hardcore of the party which votes in the party’s primaries, which is the first step in gaining the Republican nomination.

    • neocons have thus taken over the Republican party. Democratic party has been controlled by Israelists for at least 40 years; Israelist assault on GOP started with Reagan, accelerated with neocons.

      Teabaggers will not save the GOP; Palin’s already been bought.

    • potsherd says:

      I recently saw a poll of self-declared conservatives being asked about the deficit, and their overwhelming response was “eliminate foreign aid.”

      I’m convinced that a push showing how much foreign aid is going to Israel would play quite well in Peoria.

      Americans are convinced their politicians are corrupt, and most of them don’t make an exception for AIPAC.

  16. To a non-American, now living safely in a country (The Philippines) that still can’t get over its 50 year period of American colonialism, (ended officially in 1946) during which, in the early years, very many completely unknown and very large atrocities were committed, politics in America are totally baffling.

    Who, in their right mind, would deny free healthcare to millions, like most other developed countries ? – America

    Who, in their right mind, would deny Palestinians their right to a free state, if their opponents object? – America

    Who, in their right mind, would invade a country (Iraq) that had never threatened them, and make a seven year fuck-up of it? – America

    Who, in their right mind, would invade a country (Afghanistan) that had never threatened them, and make a nine year fuck-up of it? – America

    Who, in their right mind, would support a tiny little country (with $3 billion a year)as it assaults its neighbours – America

    Wonder why I sound a bit anti-American sometimes?

    • well, Richard Parker (attempting to type with righteous outrage), we patriotic Americans find ourselves forced to report you to the US State Department of anti-Americanism, tasked by the You Ess Conggress to monitor and oppose any and every instance of speech or act that causes a booboo to the tender sensibilities of the You Ess of Aye.

      oh,
      wait.
      US State Department has no such office.
      only a US State Department to protect and defend against antisemitism.
      link to 2001-2009.state.gov

    • Citizen says:

      Hey, RP, some of us Americans agree with you–it’s insanity, our government’s foreign policy in the Middle East. We are just not in a position to bring the breaking news to our fellow Americans–that’s why we congregate here on Mondoweiss. The system has kept us out.

  17. I’m interested in this part of Pence’s statement:

    I think represents a departure from where the heart of the American people are at.

    The consent of the American people having been effectively manufactured in the course of 70 years +- of Bernays sauce, Holocaustism, and hasbara, and periodic polls being taken to ascertain that ziocaine addiction remains in full force in the systems of the American body politic, Mike Pence and his cohort (consisting of the majority of the US Congress and Senate) are only seeking to do the people’s “will.”

    • Citizen says:

      Yeah, the average American really gives a shit about Israel. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is the average American simply has no say at all in US foreign policy, and the MSM does not give them the facts they need to even make an intelligent choice if they had it.

  18. Walid says:

    Taxi, I saw the lobbies $$$ report on Huffington. I’d venture a guess to your question and say that perhaps the US is more comfortable having Israel as its agent, watchman, bouncer, enforcer or whatever else keeping an eye on the Middle East for it than any of the unreliable, unstable and un-anything else Arab regimes doing it for them. It’s wrong to think that America plays favourites for any reason because America has only its own interests that concerns it. For many years, America’s interests and those of Israel have piggy-backed and we get the impression that America is favouring Israel over the Arabs. In another 20 years or so when the oil or the US dependency on it fizzes out, America will drop Israel like a hot potato but until then, it needs Israel and will continue sticking by it, rain or shine.

    • Taxi says:

      Even if you’re right and we stick to Israel to ‘protect our interests/oil’, it sure does seem like a criminally stupid way of going about it – so foolishly risky!

      I mean, it is not exactly a genius plan now, is it?

    • Citizen says:

      Yeah, right it’s really in the interest of the USA to rubber-stamp Israel. Walid, please tell us why the USA needs Israel. The Cold War is over. Israel’s been a giant albatross around the neck of the USA since 1945, and especially after 1967 to date. I will agree with you that when Iran is attacked during the double dip economic demise here in the USA, and oil and gas spike through the roof, and American troops already in the MIddle East are affected, America will drop Israel like a hot potato. And rightfully so.
      And yes, talk of 5th column will go off the charts. Historians will then paint their various narratives of what happened. What caused WW3, same as what caused the other earlier WWs. As you know, WW1 & WW2 are deeply connected.

  19. Walid says:

    Taxi, it is as you said, a stupid way of doing things. The Israelis played their cards right as usual and also as usual, the Arabs didn’t have a clue on how to play the game and have been left out in the cold all these years.

    Citizen, I already spelled out why the US needs Israel; it has to do with either Israel’s reliability, the Arabs’ lack of it or a combination of both. It dates back to the days of the cold war and although this war ended, America’s PNAC or the redrawing of the Middle-East and other areas makes it still dependent on having a local bouncer armed to the teeth. A case in point, all the talk about an impending strike on Iran by either the US or Israel that are really working together on this in spite of the blame being put only on Israel and it’s evident that any such strike would have to be authorized by the US. You are probably aware that in the 1956 attack on Egypt by the British, French and Israelis. the bombers used were of the French Air Force that had their markings changed to Israeli ones for the attack. I wouldn’t be surprised if America attacked Iran with planes having Israeli markings this time. Do you still think that the brave Israel air force attacked Saddam’s Osirak without American authorization or help?

    What you are probably not aware of is that during the 22-year occupation of Lebanon by Israel that ended in 2000, southern Lebanon and parts of the Palestinian occupied territories were used as testing grounds for most of the US’ and Israel’s new arms that came out during that period. There are reports of phosphorus, DIME, Bunker Busters and unmanned drone attacks by Israel in Lebanon’s population years before anyone heard of them. It’s for things like that that the US needs Israel.

    Wasn’t it an American Senator that likened Israel to a US carrier permanently parked in the the Middle East?

    • Taxi says:

      Yes, Walid, I’ve heard it said a few times that Israel is the ‘show-room’ for our corporate arms dealers – and the rent is so cheap too, considering the benefits.