Dog wags tail (against the Israel lobby theory)

Mondoweiss recently posted an email exchange with Ambassador Charles Freeman in which he insists that the argument I made in a recent article published by The Electronic Intifada failed in its attempt to demonstrate that the "Israel Lobby" is not the primary driver of US policy toward the Middle East.

In that article, I show that the Lobby thesis of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer is inadequate to explain US policy in the region by relying on two lines of argumentation: a) US policy in the Middle East fits with its imperial policies elsewhere in the world, in regions free of the proclaimed distortions of the lobby, and b) Israel has served the strategic interests of the US very well, and has been a crucial part of making its Middle East policy a profitable, strategic success.

In addressing a), Freeman curiously asserts that "Washington has never had to exercise a veto or pay a similar political price to protect any of [it's other allies] from condemnation or sanctions by the international community," despite the facts I presented showing the exact opposite. I showed how the US systematically shields its allies from international condemnation, citing the examples of Saddam Hussein’s genocide against the Kurds and the brutal Indonesian invasion and thirty-year occupation of East Timor, both of which the US worked vehemently in international forums to shield from condemnation. 

It is true that a review of US vetoes in the UN reveals that Israel is the leading beneficiary of their use. But it hardly stops there. Another frequent beneficiary of such shielding was the South African apartheid regime, on whose behalf the US vetoed numerous resolutions condemning the government for attacks and violence, or criticizing its Apartheid nature. One could also look at US efforts to block the UN from criticizing Iraqi use of chemical and conventional weapons against Iranian population centers after his invasion in 1980, or the protection of Turkey’s slaughter of the Kurds as examples of diplomatic shielding of crimes of allied states, and the list does not stop there. 

As with other proponents of the Lobby thesis, Freeman points to the tremendous level of support provided by the US to Israel as evidence of the Lobby’s nefarious influence. As I addressed in my article, and briefly explore below, the exceptional level of support Israel receives is a rational response to the particular strategic importance of the Middle East, and the reliability of Israel in advancing US interests. One of the most important sources of US global power is its control of energy resources; a loss of this control would result in significant damage to US hegemony. Thus what happens in the Middle East has global implications for the US empire. The overwhelming firepower provided to Israel, which is aggressively used against any who challenge the established order, has played a central role in maintaining US control of the region, providing security for US-backed oil dictatorships as well as keeping a check on them.

Though the interests of the two states are not identical, when they do diverge Israel is forced into line and US interests prevail. This was evident in the severe military sanctions applied to Israel by the Bush administration in 2004/5, as well as successful pressure from the Clinton administration to call off an arms deal with the Chinese in 2000, just to pick two. 

Just recently, despite Obama’s unwillingness to move beyond mere words in his condemnations of Israel, Haaretz reports that "the fear of the diplomatic crisis with the United States caused the [Israeli Jerusalem Planning] system to act ‘hysterically,’ and even plans with no potential to cause national harm were postponed." The chairman of the planning committee stopped "even signing off on orders that have already been approved," and "upcoming meetings have been cancelled." "When they ask about the reason for the freeze on committee activity," architects and contractors are "told it is because of U.S. President Barack Obama." All this, without even the hint of sanctions.

As I mentioned, if one wants to claim that the influence of the Lobby causes the US to uniquely act against its interests in the Middle East, this uniqueness must be demonstrated. Unless this is done, the Lobby thesis cannot be seriously considered. This need is particularly acute once one considers the immensely greater power of such interests as the defense establishment and state-linked multinational corporations, whose contributions to political campaigns, not to mention institutionalized power within the executive branch, dwarfs that of the Lobby. The vast political influence of these groups could shut the Israel lobby down easily if they so chose, but they permit it to exist and often even amplify its voice. Do they fail to understand their interests, or are they, too, part of the Israel lobby?
The most explosive and eye-catching of Freeman’s claims is his statement that "Israel is useless for the purposes of strategic logistics or power projection." To support this assertion, he writes that "none of Israel’s neighbors will facilitate overflight for military aircraft transiting Israeli territory, let alone taking off from there." Yet he does not engage (or mention) the evidence I presented, which explored in detail the vital role Israel has played in maintaining American hegemony in the region, terrorizing the Middle East into compliance with the imperial will through its overwhelming military strength (including nuclear weapons).

Israel’s overwhelming military dominance ensures devastating punishment for those who refuse to accept that "what we say goes," in the words of George H. W. Bush. For instance, Israel did not ask permission to overfly Lebanon before its savage attacks in 1978, 1982, 1996, or 2006, nor for its numerous attacks against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. Nor do such logistical concerns have any effect on the threat Israel poses to Iran, a confrontation which has the US imperial desire to control energy resources at its heart, as I explained in EI.

Freeman’s claim that Israel is "worse than irrelevant" for controlling Middle Eastern energy supplies rings somewhat hollow when we take a careful look at the facts. Apart from crushing opposition movements and threats to the established order (as in its confrontation of Arab Nationalism and Iran), Israel is and has been a constant threat to US foes in the region, and is both a source of security for and a check on America’s large, oil-producing clients. It thus serves an important role in projecting US power throughout the heart of the Middle East, the most strategically vital region on Earth. Having a reliable client that is the dominant military hegemon, and the only nuclear power in the region, overseeing the "greatest material prize in history" is, I would say, very relevant.
The example Freeman briefly points to in support of his claim that the US relationship with Israel has "frequently jeopardized [US control of oil] supplies, not contributed to securing them"  is the 1973 oil shock. Indeed, it was more intense than the 1967 oil embargo, because it was accompanied by production cuts (since oil is a fungible commodity, an embargo is meaningless without cuts in production as well). In truth, the Saudi monarchy collaborated with the US on the embargo to the fullest extent possible, even secretly continuing to ensure supplies of oil to the US Navy in the Mediterranean and its forces in Vietnam.

There can be no doubt that one reason for such compliance on the part of the Saud – the most important US ally in the world – was the overwhelming power of the Israeli military. Not only does such military power pose an implicit threat to the Saudi regime, but it is also an essential provider of security for the regime against potential rivals – both internalluy and externally – who may seek to take greater advantage of widespread public anger.
Had the Saudis not used the "oil weapon" against the US in ’67 and ’73 (widely seen even at the time as Israel’s patron), widespread anger would have put the continued rule of the monarchy at risk. As in 1967, faced with little alternative, the Saudis enacted an embargo while doing their best to manage and minimize its effects in constant coordination with US officials. Subsequently, the oil wealth that was accumulated from the increased oil prices was used like an executive branch discretionary fund, which financed imperial activities all over the world. 

The pressure that the population of Saudi Arabia was able to put on the regime in the case of the oil embargoes also helps explain another of Israel’s values as an ally — its reliability. Unlike in the Arab states, there is no chance of a coup or revolution there that would produce a government that would resist US objectives, as happened in Iran in 1979. The US can safely transfer the most advanced weaponry to Israel, without fear of it falling into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists or independent nationalists.

Freeman’s assertions that "the US has no bases or troop presence in Israel," and that "Israeli bases are not for US use" can be dismissed as irrelevant, since the main purpose of maintaining Israel as a client is precisely to avoid the need to use US forces directly. Instead, planes provided by the US "gratis," as Freeman says, are flown by Israeli pilots, dropping US bombs and enforcing regional order and "stability" — in other words, US control. Thus, contrary to the view of Freeman and other proponents of the Lobby thesis, the armaments, material support, and economic benefits supplied Israel by the United States guarantee it this regional primacy, and are a central part of its regional strategy.

Unfortunately, not all the criticism published has been as civilized or honest as that offered by Charles Freeman. The intellectually vacant rant that Idrees Ahmad posted both here and on Pulse is one example which caught my eye. In his piece, he refuses to engage the arguments I advance, but says I "purloined" the work of others, "misused sources," and "constructed a slipshod argument." Since he offers no challenge to my argument, the third of these charges can be dismissed immediately. If I have indeed constructed a "slipshod argument," it is up to Mr. Ahmad to demonstrate it. Instead, in the true fashion of great heroes of rhetorical debate like Allan Dershowitz, he proceeds instead to smear me, making one baseless accusation after the next and grossly distorting what I wrote.

Since I don’t want to dignify such a cheap smear by elevating it to the same level as Mr. Freeman’s respectful critique, I will keep my response to Mr. Ahmad brief. His accusation that I misused sources is based on the charges that a) Ahmad claims both Zbigniew Brzezinski and George Kennan oppose the Iraq war and b) in the same Brzezinski article I used a quote from ("Hegemonic Quicksand," The National Interest, Winter 2003/4), Brzezinski expresses that US and Israeli interests are not always congruent.

Obviously, the reason I cite Kennan’s term "veto power" and Brzezinski’s phrase "critical leverage" is to show that there is a consensus among strategic planners, including the most liberal, that the control of Middle Eastern energy resources is strategically beneficial. Whether or not those particular individuals support military action in Iraq as a strategy for securing long-term US strategic control of oil, or wish to use other, more indirect means is not in any way relevant. The important point is that there is broad acknowledgment that control of oil gives the US huge strategic leverage, a point not contradicted at all by Brzezinski’s article nor by anything Kennan ever wrote.

Ahmad’s second point is even more absurd, since a central component of my argument is that we can measure the effects of the Lobby by the outcome of instances when the interests of the US and Israel diverge. I argue that in such cases Israel (which Brzezinski refers to in the same article as "America’s favorite client") is brought to heel by the US, thus negating the notion that the "tail wags the dog," that is, that the Israel lobby forces the US government to be a slave to Israeli interests at the expense of its own.

As if Ahmad’s outrageous and totally unsupported smears against me weren’t enough, he also attacks The Electronic Intifada for even publishing my article, which he labels an "attack on Walt and Mearsheimer." Anyone who has read my article, I would hope, would find it to be a respectful critique, not an "attack." The whole purpose of intellectual engagement should be to discuss and debate competing hypotheses, and promote the healthy discussion and debate that are surely a healthy part of any democracy. It is this that makes Ahmad’s insistence that EI should not even present the sensible and well-researched argument I am making, and that I should be silenced, particularly shocking and dangerous. It is my hope that if Ahmed cannot refrain from smearing me, that he at least will refrain from doing so to the dedicated editors of the Electronic Intifada, who work tirelessly in the fight for Palestinian rights and provide an invaluable service to us all.

Stephen Maher is an MA candidate at American University School of International Service who has lived in the West Bank, and is currently writing his masters’ thesis, "The New Nakba: Oslo and the End of Palestine," on the Israel-Palestine conflict. His work has appeared in Extra!, The Electronic Intifada, ZNet and other publications. His blog is rationalmanifesto.blogspot.com. 

Posted in Israel/Palestine

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

  1. annie says:

    5 paragraphs is not brief.
    when is israel brought to it’s heels by the US?

    In truth, the Saudi monarchy collaborated with the US on the embargo to the fullest extent possible, even secretly continuing to ensure supplies of oil to the US Navy in the Mediterranean and its forces in Vietnam.

    There can be no doubt that one reason for such compliance on the part of the Saud – the most important US ally in the world – was the overwhelming power of the Israeli military.

    why can there be no doubt? can you direct me to any sources that back up your assertion? as US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Freeman would be well aware of Israel’s importance in SA’s compliance, would he not?

    i’m just not that convinced of the importance of Israel’s role in helping to secure our resource dominance in the ME and from Petraeus’s recent report to congress it appears our close relations with Israel could be causing the opposite effect.

  2. Danaa says:

    I’ll await for others to address subtansively the arguments advanced y Maher to attempt to refute the analysis provided by Chas Freeman and Idrees Ahmad. Two points of really grievous hyperbole caught my eye however, right of the bat:

    1. The only three examples cited by Maher to sugget that the US systematically shields its allies from international condemnation are the examples of Saddam Hussein’s genocide against the Kurds and the brutal Indonesian invasion and thirty-year occupation of East Timor and the vetoes cast to shield South African apartheid. , the former two the US worked vehemently in international forums to shield from condemnation.. To compare the protection offered to saddam and east Timor – which, BTW, were hardly “vehement” – to the methodical, unrelenting support provided to Israel practically daily and for decade is an excellent example of the asymmetry in argumentation that advocates of israel or critic of the Lobby power like to use. Somehow try hard as I may, I could not find a single case of US casting a veto in favor of Saddam or east Timor (please correct me, anyone). So that leaves South Africa – with 10 or so vetoes at the most, as compared with nearly 100′s for Israel. Nice try, Stephen.

    2. The other argument is that Unlike in the Arab states, there is no chance of a coup or revolution there that would produce a government that would resist US objectives, as happened in Iran in 1979. The US can safely transfer the most advanced weaponry to Israel, without fear of it falling into the hands of Islamic fundamentalists or independent nationalists. Now, now, Stephen. israel is every bit subject to potential ‘coup” by its own die-hard religious zealouts as Iran ever was. There is the pretense of a “democracy” but, as ha often been said by people who know the situation over there well, there is a creeping take-over by jewish theocrats of the instruments of state – AND its vaunted military. The march of demography is, indeed relentless, with haredi and the religious sector already comprising over 30% of the school syste, The students in these schools are not steeped in humanistic jewish history either. When the numerous graduates of the nationalist religious schools, ally with the haredi segment AND with the ultra-right wing Russians, we will have have resurrected modern day Maccabis in Israel, that will make iranian Mullahs look like child’s play. The enablement of this trend by the American Lobby is in direct opposition to America’ interest, and is a key reason the military establishment does not and CANNOT trust Israel.

    One final point: since Israel has clearly gone rogue when it comes to spitting at western and American interests in the ME, yet the US has not seen fit to bring it to heel,say, by imposing sanctions like it did on Iraq, just what, oh what can be the cause of that?

    If this is Maher’s master’s thesis, I fear his advisor has his/her work cut out for them.

    • bob says:

      key reason the military establishment

      Lets also remind ourselves how the pro-Likudniks have influenced the U.S. military establishment.

      • Mooser says:

        “oh what can be the cause of that?”

        As a stalwart American, I protest this anti-American leftist point of view that it takes the Isral Lobby to make America engage in completely wrongheaded, not to mention egregiously unfair and oppressive, foreign policy decisions, and foreign decision policies.
        The idea that it takes a bunch of Jewish guys and Christian Zionists to lead America into foreign policy hell is insulting to the people who brought us Vietnam, as only one example. Did it take a bunch of old Jewish guys to get us stuck in Vietnam? Korea? Hell no!
        I believe America, with its unparralled might, vast resources, and oversexed population of violent nutter males (mostly) can makes the worst kinds of decisions with no help at all from the Israel Lobby.
        Only a Commie or a Nazi would think differently!

  3. Debonnaire says:

    Freeman has worked in the govt. Maher has not. A stickier point – is Maher Jewish? If he is…his argument may be in bad faith. There’s something a little too flimsy and facile about his argument. It rests on a number of dubious generalizations and acts as if JINSA, PNAC and the neocon coup d’etat within the highest branches of our government are mere phantom coincidence. I think the EI was badly used in printing such crypto-Zionist crap.

    • Working in the govt. does not give necessarily give one priviliged access to how everything works – that is just a little naive.
      Also, you have to distinguish between neoconservatism and zionism, they are not the same thing, even though they have been colluding.
      Maher doesn’t bring up the Chomsky reference, even though it’s obvious ;
      “Do the energy corporations fail to understand their interests, or are they part of the Lobby too? ” – N. Chomsky
      “Do they fail to understand their interests, or are they, too, part of the Israel lobby?” – Maher
      - This doesn’t invalidate the argument, though, and all authours build on the work of others, so…
      Most important, I don’t think Maher and Mearsheimer/Walt define “the Lobby” in the same way – M/W’s definition is much broader.

      • homingpigeon says:

        Actually Freeman did much more than just work in the government. He started at the age of 27 translating between Mao Tse-tung and Richard Nixon and hovered around the top from then on until brought down by the Lobby.

        I would differ from Freeman in that I have no interest in US military bases overseas or the well-being of US imperial military strategy. Nor should any decent person.

  4. Donald says:

    “To compare the protection offered to saddam and east Timor – which, BTW, were hardly “vehement” – to the methodical, unrelenting support provided to Israel practically daily and for decade is an excellent example of the asymmetry in argumentation that advocates of israel or critic of the Lobby power like to use. Somehow try hard as I may, I could not find a single case of US casting a veto in favor of Saddam or east Timor (please correct me, anyone).”

    This is grotesque. The US supported genocide in East Timor–what Indonesia did there went far beyond what Israel has done to Gaza and for fans of the ever popular Warsaw Ghetto comparison around here, you’d come a lot closer in terms of percentage killed and actual death toll if you compared what the Nazis did to the Warsaw Ghetto to what Indonesia did in East Timor. And the worst of it was almost totally suppressed in the US press and our complete role there is still basically a forbidden topic in the MSM (with the exception of Kissinger–it’s okay to criticize him). There was virtually nothing in the US press when the Indonesians were killing roughly 100-200,000 Timorese with US weaponry.

    As for the UN, the US was not the only country either actively supporting Indonesia or looking away. Most of the world did the same. I once had a book by Ramos-Horta (the Nobel peace prize winner) about his years in the UN trying to get people to pay attention to what was happening in his country. I don’t have the book anymore (I loaned it to a friend who refused to believe me about our record in East Timor and haven’t gotten it back). But the UN was an absolute joke. If the backdrop hadn’t been genocide, the book would have come across as a kind of comedy.

    link to gwu.edu

    • Chaos4700 says:

      This is what I like about the blog at its best. Cutting through the lies and the nonsense and providing information that is virtually impossible to get, nominally, in the United States about what is really going on in the world.

    • Danaa says:

      Donald, we are not saying the US is something other than an empire that makes common cause with juntas when convenient. That does not negate the fact that The Lobby carries a huge stick with which it beats down any attempt to fashion a sensible US foreign policy in the ME. Are you implying that israel is ruled by the likes of Myanamr and east timor juntas? and that because they are all military juntas which “do bad things” the treatment of Israel should be no different than that metted out to Saddam? had that been the case, we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about the outsize influence of one lobby. Were Israel to impose sanctions on Israel and/or invade it to “spread democracy” I expect there would be different discussions going on.

      A for east Timor – do they get anything close to 3B every year? do their international assassination rings get hushed up? can they get 100 – if not 300 house members signing petitions calling on Obama to do nothing to upset east Timor rulers? does east timor work overtime to push the US to invade Indonesia?

      You may not like the fact that the actions and infusion of the lobby’s power and money into the top echelons of the government is coming to light, because that casts aspersions on the Jewish people in the US as a whole. Which unfortunately it does. Which is why Phil and Adam keep this blog going – so that it’ll be crystal clear that there are jewish people who fight the lobby tooth and nail. You may not like the fact that the Gaza situation is an atrocity perpetrated by people who claim to share a common heritage with the good Jewish people of America.
      But israel does CLAIM to be Jewish and does CLAIM to speak for you, whether you like it or not. And they would turn Gaza into more like a warsaw ghetto, if they felt they could get away with it. , just because they have not implemented a “final solution” for the Palestinians there, does not mean they wouldn’t if they thought they could. Shocking this may be, and, of course, not all israelis feel that way. But it’s enough that 30% do. Not all germans agreed with the nazi plans either, you know. it’s just that the number of those who resisted Hitler and his schemes was not high enough to stop him and his cohorts.

      I think you need to really think about the numbers in Israel before it’s too late for everyone. In the end, that’s what it’s about – numbers. Blogs like this – just like good blogs in Israel – play a critical role in helping keep information enough in the open so that the other 70% cannot say they “didn’t know what was happening”. Keeping the would be evil-doers to below 30% is the one hope we’ve got that things will not get out of hand. Yet this is what The Lobby opposes – the process of information dissemination. And you – in your great trepidation of what MIGHT happen to Jews everywhere – are not on the side of angels in this.

      Time to bite the bullet – the only hope for Israel is that the jews of America will turn on the lobby that purports to speak in their name. In large numbers. If you want to fight the good fight, this is the battle you should join, rather than swatting flies of perceived ‘anti-semitism”.

      • Donald says:

        “A for east Timor – do they get anything close to 3B every year? do their international assassination rings get hushed up? can they get 100 – if not 300 house members signing petitions calling on Obama to do nothing to upset east Timor rulers? does east timor work overtime to push the US to invade Indonesia?”

        Danaa, you have everything backwards here. Indonesia got weapons and diplomatic support from the US to commit genocide in East Timor. Go examine the link I provided. The I/P conflict is just a small part of the harm the US has done overseas.

        • Danaa says:

          The I/P may not be the be all and end all of American misdeed in the world – with that I agree. Supporting Pinochet and the Argentine reign of “terror” come to mind. And I certainly do not forget what the USS did to Vietnam in the name of opposing the “march of communism”. But I/P has become a potent symbol of everything bad that the powerful do to the powerless. And Jews in America are well aligned with the powerful. And so extremely bad things are done IN their name TO the palestinians which sweeps the BEST of the Jewish community in with the WORST, and that’s what at least I am talking about.

          You are holding up the last line of defense which holds up east Timor as a distorting prism through which to view a much diminished AIPAC. maher had to resort to Saddm’s treatment of the Kurds. I am surprised either of you did not bring up Vietnam or Chile.

          I like to say that the extreme luck – and extreme misfortune – of the palestinians is to have earned the enmity of jews. Their cause gets to stand on the shoulders of giants of remembrence, magnified instead of diminished with time. I have every expectation that, given more time, we’ll have a “Nakba Industry” taking its cue from the “Holocaust Industry”. To the great resentment of the very ones who gave the teeth of permanence.

          PS yap, got my indonesia and east timor mixed up (should have stuck with Timor, not east Timor). That should tell you all you need to know about just how much attention that conflict got in the pages of the NYTs. We can’t even get our villains and victims right.

    • Excellent, Donald; a Truth Commission to expose US mendacity in Indonesia.

      I advocated for a Truth Commission to discuss the US-Israel relationship here.

      Great minds, same channel ;>

  5. bob says:

    As I addressed in my article, and briefly explore below, the exceptional level of support Israel receives is a rational response to the particular strategic importance of the Middle East, and the reliability of Israel in advancing US interests.

    Maher, its divide and conquer, not unconditionally support the country without oil, which just so happens to unify the fractured region against the United States. Freeman, by the way, did a good job of showing how Israel is also useless to America’s power projection in the region.

    • bob says:

      Though the interests of the two states are not identical, when they do diverge Israel is forced into line and US interests prevail. This was evident in the severe military sanctions applied to Israel by the Bush administration in 2004/5

      In talks held Tuesday between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s bureau chief Dov Weisglass, U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Danny Ayalon, it was agreed that the United States will trim $289.5 million from the $3 billion in guarantees granted to Israel this year. Washington has granted Israel a total of $9 billion in guarantees over three years.

      “The fact is they [the United States] aren’t putting any political pressure on us to do anything on the substantive issues of the political process,” Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Army Radio yesterday.

      —-

      The action was almost totally symbolic. It came on the same day that Israel sold $1.6 billion of bonds on Wall Street, all backed by a guarantee of repayment by the United States government under legislation passed last spring that provides Israel with up to $3 billion in loan guarantees annually for three years.

      Maher, this is a terrible article.

    • bob says:

      As I mentioned, if one wants to claim that the influence of the Lobby causes the US to uniquely act against its interests in the Middle East, this uniqueness must be demonstrated.

      If this couldn’t get worse, this sentence creeps up. Its, in fact, without question that the actual people who planned, fought for, and overcame adversaries like Colin Powell, and pushed Bill Clinton to sign the Iraq Liberation Act to push for the Iraq war are passionately emotionally, ethnically, and ideologically attached to a right wing vision of Israel.

      • bob says:

        This digs itself a deeper hole.

        Freeman’s assertions that “the US has no bases or troop presence in Israel,” and that “Israeli bases are not for US use” can be dismissed as irrelevant, since the main purpose of maintaining Israel as a client is precisely to avoid the need to use US forces directly.

        How does Maher, on one breath, claim there is not enough evidence to show how the Neocons and others with extremely open and clear Pro-Israeli ideological attachments pushed an Iraq war against the hard fought wishes of people like Powell, for, as they have said to push out Saddam as “an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right,” then make this assertion when Israel has never fought another country at the behest of the US. Incredible.

        • Donald says:

          There was a book written by an Israeli back in the late 80′s–Israeli’s Third World Connection–Who Israel arms and why.

          I read this years ago and don’t remember details, but the gist of it was that Israel had a lot of ties with the very same Third World thugocracies that the US supported during the Cold War. For example, there were Central American connections. Guatemala’s genocidal army received training from Israel (I remember seeing Galil rifles mentioned in an old Amnesty International book on Guatemala). There were connections with apartheid South Africa and there were connections with Mobutu in Zaire. My own personal suspicion is that there was some secret agreements between the US and Israel and that Israel stepped in and armed our thugs when Congress would try to put limits on this. I can’t imagine Israel would have been messing around in Central America without our consent.

          As for the Mideast, I think the US has been allied with Turkey, Israel, and Jordan. As’ad AbuKhalil seems to think there’s some sort of tacit alliance between the Saudis and Israel. And Egypt does some of Israel’s dirty work for it with respect to Gaza. So yeah, I think there might be some hidden alliances between the US, Israel and some of the Arab rulers to suppress what they’d call “radical” elements.

          link to books.google.com

        • Donald says:

          I got the book title wrong–it’s “The Israeli Connection–Who Israel arms and why”

          I should reread it sometime. I can’t remember how much of the above was in that book and how much I’d read elsewhere.

        • seth says:

          yes, that’s an excellent book. I read it at the time and it caused me to question much more the foundations of “liberal Zionism”. Around the same time, there was also work by Jane Hunter on the topic of who Israel arms and how it connects to the U.S. empire.

          btw, your point above responding to Danaa about East Timor was excellent. Her comments were grotesque.

        • bob says:

          Ill have to pick it up.

          On that note, how do you substantiate “My own personal suspicion is that there was some secret agreements” and “I think there might be some hidden alliances”. They’re rather bold statements.

          Personally, I like the speculative elements to help open new questions to be answered, but wait to present it once its been contextually substantiated. That way it can fit in with other lines of evidence to help present a larger picture unfettered from unproven or false information. Theres no idea where it fits until then.

  6. Citizen says:

    The Israel Lobby (AIPAC et all orgs dedicated to Jews First, as they understand that mandate, even if short-sighted), works in unison with the very US Military Industrial Complex, Ike warned us about. In Ike’s time, the US “security” apparatus was not part of what he was warning against, but it now is.

  7. In the wake of AIPAC’s triumphant annual convention and the subsequent backtracking of the Obama administration on its minimum demands upon the Netanyahu government, thanks to letters warning the president to “lay off” Israel signed by three-quarters of the members of both houses of Congress, the biggest question I have for Stephen Maher is WHY he wrote such an article which is no more than the regurgitation of previous pieces by Noam Chomsky and Stephen Zunes which have been as equally lacking in fact?

    For the moment, here are just two examples of what I am talking about:

    Maher writes: “One of the most important sources of US global power is its control of energy resources; a loss of this control would result in significant damage to US hegemony. Thus what happens in the Middle East has global implications for the US empire.” No one would argue that this is not true, but when he then writes that, “The overwhelming firepower provided to Israel, which is aggressively used against any who challenge the established order, has played a central role in maintaining US control of the region, providing security for US-backed oil dictatorships as well as keeping a check on them,” this is sheer fantasy of which he is unable to offer us a single example, unless he considers Hezbollah and the Palestinians a threat to the oil producing countries. Going back to 1967, as does Chomsky and Zunes, and pretending that Israel’s defeat of Egypt was done as a service to the US doesn’t stand up to historical scrutiny since Egypt at the time presented no threat to Israeli hegemony.

    Moreover, the US was forced to bail Israel out with a massive shipment of conventional weaponry when it was attacked by Egypt and Syria six years later when Israel threatened to use its nuclear weapons if its military situation worsened and such aid was not forthcoming.

    Here’s another Maher fantasy caught my eye:

    He writes: “Freeman’s assertions that the US has no bases or troop presence in Israel,’ and that ‘Israeli bases are not for US use’ can be dismissed as irrelevant, since the main purpose of maintaining Israel as a client is precisely to avoid the need to use US forces directly.” Excuse me, but in what theater of war is Maher referring to? Does he really believe that Lebanon, with or without Hezbollah, is a threat to US interests in the region and that Israel’s wars on Lebanon have been on Washington’s behalf? The one time that the US was concerned about developments in Lebanon that were perceived as threatening in the atmosphere of the Cold War was in 1958 and Eisenhower sent in the Marines, not the Israelis.

    “Instead,” Maher writes, “planes provided by the US ‘gratis,’ as Freeman says, are flown by Israeli pilots, dropping US bombs and enforcing regional order and ‘stability — in other words, US control.” Where, precisely, Stephen, is this happening? And what is your definition of stability?

    Maher continues, “Thus, contrary to the view of Freeman and other proponents of the Lobby thesis, the armaments, material support, and economic benefits supplied Israel by the United States guarantee it this regional primacy, and are a central part of its regional strategy.” Having made a statement that is by itself erroneous, he then provides us, not surprisingly, with an equally erroneous conclusion.

    At the moment, the Obama administration and the Pentagon are doing their very best to persuade the Israelis from lauching an attack on Iran, one that is most certain to lead to a global catastrophe. At the same time they have to deal with the ENTIRE Zionist establishment, its organizations, its think tanks and its operatives in Congress and the media (what is usually but mistakenly referred to as the Israel Lobby) which are either openly calling for a US attack on Iran or for such punitive sanctions against Tehran that should they become law would be tantamount to an act of war.

    There is much more in Maher’s position that can be as easily shredded, but the question for me, at this point, is what is his agenda?

    By avoiding dealing with and confronting the Zionist establishment AKA the Organized Jewish Community over the years because of the false belief that Israel’s actions are simply those of a client state at the servant of its master, the Left and supporters of Palestinian rights, in general, have allowed the Zionist establishment to become a virtual leviathan.

    Maher complains that criticisms leveled at him by Idrees Ahmad violate “the whole purpose of intellectual engagement [which] should be to discuss and debate competing hypotheses, and promote the healthy discussion and debate that are surely a healthy part of any democracy.”

    No one would dispute that were this not a subject that has so directly and so negatively affected so many people’s lives who have had no chance to participate in the discussion and had Maher introduced anything new, not to mention, factual, into the debate. Again, the question is why did he do it and why did he do it now?

    • In my comment above where I wrote that ‘Egypt at the time presented no threat to Israeli hegemony” it should read “Egypt at the time presented no threat to US hegemony.”

    • bob says:

      At the moment, the Obama administration and the Pentagon are doing their very best to persuade the Israelis from lauching an attack on Iran, one that is most certain to lead to a global catastrophe.

      You know who agrees with this? Oil Experts.

      Curious how people can take an Israeli lobby argument, one that is forced to produce exceptionally well researched material due to the predictably inevitable lop-sided onslaught of smears and fine toothed scrutiny for any error, and try to compare it to the current treatments of “oil” interests. When Oil interests are demonstrably shown to be overridden by pro-Israeli concerns such as in the 1995-96 Iran sanctions, then the shift is moved to a “secret” and conflated materialist and colonialist paradigm.

      Comparing these treatments really shows a lopsided effort in contextual research and scrutiny. One is supported by loose conflations and poor readings of decades old papers. The other has an over abundance of concomitant contextual references from the people involved. One focuses on a loose secretive “oil” interest, and the other would be (correctly) ridiculed if it were to blame “secret interests of the Jooz.” No, it makes the hard earned point to show the direct and specific people involved, proof of their ideological interests and takes pains to separate them from other members of the Jewish people. No such effort is seen from “oil” speculations.

    • Jewbonics says:

      What do you think is the purpose of United States foreign policy in the Middle East? How do weapons manufacturers and oil companies contribute to the making of US foreign policy? Do they matter at all? Do you think that there’s consensus in capitalist circles about whether or not oil prices should be high or low, or do you think different capitalist sectors benefit when oil prices are at different levels?

      • bob says:

        How do weapons manufacturers and oil companies contribute to the making of US foreign policy? Do they matter at all?

        Also, include in your answer how pro-likudnik interests have been inserted into said weapons manufacturers.

        • Jewbonics says:

          And include no comment at all, please, about whether capital looks for specific ideologies to stabilize or legitimize itself. Don’t consider that power magnetically attracts opinion-makers that was support it. Actually, best not to think at all.

        • bob says:

          Your speculative and hyperbolic comment speaks for itself.

          Frankly, anyone writing on the Israeli Lobby would have been eviscerated if they managed to use the argumentative standards used by people like Maher.

          Of course, the various people with open ideological commitments to Israel are reliably whipped into a frenzy when such subjects are broached, which has the effect of further exemplifying the lobby itself. We can see it from chat-room defense, to various examples in journalism, politics, etc.

          You don’t have to worry about such a backlash when making loose generalizations about some secret oil interest.

        • Jewbonics says:

          Bob,
          The thing about this commenting system is that it’s in English. So when you write, “Your speculative and hyperbolic comment speaks for itself,” people understandably will wonder what you are talking about. Returning to the point, and reality, serious work in political economy, more empirical and more sophisticated than Maher’s argument, suggests many ways that the Israeli economy is tied into global capitalism and Israeli policy is tied into imperial policy.

          The most obvious (sorry for not being explicit; I didn’t think this would be necessary) is that high oil prices do some damage to a heavy-industrial economy based on maximizing profit from manufacturing. But when oil majors play a major role in policy formation, as they sometimes do, they benefit from high oil prices. Oil is cheap to extract, very profitable substance. High oil prices means that the energy companies make good money. Manufacturing suffers, but often this just means unemployment rises and wages decrease; this doesn’t mean profit rates in manufacturing necessarily decrease; or they temporarily decrease sectorally but the largest firms don’t suffer. Etc etc. See, all this stuff matters. It matters that some major capitalist corporations support “The Lobby,” and that others support a two-state solution, or, Apartheid. It matters that some support one solution, some support the other. It matters that none are against Zionism per se. Do you understand this? The world matters. Understanding the world matters. And understanding the world means doing more research than dredging up the same perennial examples, and treating political analysis like a gossip column.

        • bob says:

          It matters that some major capitalist corporations support “The Lobby,” and that others support a two-state solution, or, Apartheid. It matters that some support one solution, some support the other. It matters that none are against Zionism per se. Do you understand this?

          Before you try to condescend, please try to read the information presented above where oil industry interests were trumped in the 1995-1995 Iran sanctions act, which was pushed by pro Israeli interests like AIPAC, and wealthy individuals like Charles, Edgar Jr and Sr Bronfman successfully lobbied to sanction Iran when US oil companies were their largest trading partner, by a wide margin.

          Afterwards, we can move on to when Saddam wanted to trade with US oil companies and US oil companies were lobbying to trade with Saddam.

        • Jewbonics says:

          I’m not “trying to condescend.” I am successfully condescending. I’m condescending to an idiot who does not understand that foreign policy is not monocausal. I never said that oil interests are the only interests driving foreign policy. Foreign policy is made by politicians in consultation with corporations and major capitalists, intellectuals, policy-makers at lower levels, etc etc. Sometimes it’s made by one party representing one coalition. Usually it’s bipartisan, with dissenters at the margins. Sometimes, some interests win out. Sometimes, oil companies align with Jewish tribal ideology. Sometimes not.

          This is how you and Blankfort and the rest of the double-digit IQ posse function. You find examples of where oil majors were trumped by “Zionist” interests, and don’t remember to check if that benefited other sections of capital. You don’t remember to check how often which policy choices trump other policy choices. You find a quantifiable loss for a certain sector–like the Iran sanctions act and its effects–and say, look! Zionism determined policy. You go on to switch tenses: look! Zionism determines policy. Then you add an adjective: look! Zionism determines all policy. You tend not to actually say so–because you know this is silly, or suspect so–but often stipulate it tacitly, or ignore contrary arguments [see everything above]. Then you ignore people who say, ideology and political economy both matter, perhaps because conspiracy mongering is your metier, perhaps because this is your hobby-horse, perhaps because analysis involving multiple variables befuddles you, perhaps because you’re so desperate to see Zionism go down (this I have sympathy for) that you are willing to accept shoddy analysis and make allies with foreign policy realists who support the Empire, capitalism, and the two-state “solution” because you want to see something–something substantive for Palestinians.

          But doing something substantive will involve moving beyond the playground. Political economy and ideology both affect policy. But when you see Zionism or Israel-first policy trumping energy majors, you need to point to both the strength of ethnic ideology and the weakness of a certain sector of capital in defending its sectoral interests. Thinking will be involved, but that, you’ll be able to handle. Changing your mind may be harder.

        • bob says:

          …who does not understand that foreign policy is not monocausal. I never said that oil interests are the only interests driving foreign policy.

          I am also not saying things are monocausal, I’ve mentioned as much on this site.

          The glaring problem is, as I’ve made a point of saying here, is the completely lopsided standards of proof for ‘the lobby’ and ‘oil.’ The rigor is extremely high for exposing the lobby, and exceptionally weak for oil – which relies on non concomitant loose information and a great deal of speculation. “Oil” and the issues surrounding it needs a considerable amount of improvement and contextual refinement. As of now, its a loose and very speculative genre of differing concepts.

          an idiot

          When someone resorts to these insults, you know their argument is weak. Of course, I can look above and see how you glaze over points and rebuttals to continue replying with speculative scenarios masquerading as an argument to determine this, but to see it there in type makes it so much easier to point to your failure.

        • Jewbonics says:

          “Its a loose and very speculative genre of differing concepts.” Except when you bother to do the research and read the political economy.

          As for the rest, what you call “glazing over,” I call a research program. Consider what I am responding to [above] where you bothered with an “argument”:

          “When Oil interests are demonstrably shown to be overridden by pro-Israeli concerns such as in the 1995-96 Iran sanctions, then the shift is moved to a “secret” and conflated materialist and colonialist paradigm.”

          What strikes me is that this is taken as an argument. Define “pro-Israeli” concern. Is it “pro-Israel”? Pro-Zionist? Pro-Jews? Who benefits? Do benefits map over class lines within Israel? How? What are the connections of those benefiting classes [whoever they are] to transnational capital which became increasingly tied to Israeli capital in the period we’re discussing? How are those concerns of American capitalists who have the money to push the bill through affected by such a bill? At all? The Lobby is far more diffuse and incoherent a conceptual apparatus than Oil interests as an explanatory factor because we can ultimately look at the oil industry’s bottom line. What is the Lobby’s bottom line? Apartheid? Sure, probably, but what is it trading for apartheid? Ends up being some pretty good services, against the non-sense above from Blankfort.

          The second half is much worse. The “shift is moved” isn’t English. A “materialist and colonialist paradigm” is vacuous; maybe echoing the vacuity of the formulation you’re attempting to paraphrase. Here is the basic point: the Clinton years and the Bush years represented the success of different coalitions of investors with different interests. You want to make this about….something [unclear what] vs the Lobby. But it’s not. It’s different sectors of capital with the Lobby buying in on both sides, to the detriment of no one, hence there is general alignment of the Lobby with imperialist interests. Contra Walt and Mearsheimer [and since when did leftists take their cues from numb-skull IR theorists?] the Lobby has successfully braided its parochial concerns into the interests of both the “breadth” and “depth” regimes of accumulation.

          On your “glaring problem…as I’ve made a point of saying here…the completely lopsided standards of proof for ‘the lobby’ and ‘oil.’” Look at the oil industry’s profits for the 2000-2008 period and perhaps the standard of proof will make a little more sense to you. The standard of proof for the assertion that the computer I’m typing on is made out of plastic is likewise low. Worth thinking about why. The problem isn’t too “glaring.” You just refuse to see the answer.

        • bob says:

          (Looks over post)

          Yep. Lots more speculation masquerading as an argument. Plus, a glaring continuation of the differing standards of proof.

          Lets take this paragraph.

          Define “pro-Israeli” concern. Is it “pro-Israel”? Pro-Zionist? Pro-Jews? Who benefits? Do benefits map over class lines within Israel? How? ….continued…

          Wow. I could only wish the “oil” argument would be so contextual. What kind of “control.” Who are the people specifically. What are their specific material and ideological concerns. What did they do, specifically. etc. No this doesn’t occur.

          Of course, anyone who has read this subject can answer your questions. Regarding the 1995-1996 Iran sanctions act.

          AIPAC in 1995 passed their research to the US government demonstrating how U.S. oil companies were Iran’s biggest customers by far. AIPAC worked with Sen D’Amato (Seymour Reich, Chair of of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations called D’Amato “one of the best, if not the very best senator for Israel“) in passing the bill through the Senate.

          From the Wall Street Journal Jun 18, 1996
          Next, Aipac prepared for a tougher fight in the House, where powerful interests traditionally oppose so-called secondary boycotts. In a world-wide campaign closely coordinated with Sen. D’Amato, Aipac and the New York Republican helped raise the stakes by publicizing pending business deals involving foreign firms and Iran.

          In February of this year, for instance, the Australian Jewish Review published an article saying that Broken Hill Proprietary Co., Australia’s largest company, was about to sign a $1 billion deal with Iran. A few days later, the Australian Financial Review’s Washington correspondent wrote a similar report, including a letter to the firm by Sen. D’Amato. The company, under pressure, denied that such a deal was pending.

          Meanwhile, the House International Relations Committee approved a bill that included certain trade sanctions and was tougher than Sen. D’Amato’s measure. But GOP Rep. Bill Archer of Texas, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee that also has jurisdiction, strongly opposed trade sanctions.

          With the two House committees at loggerheads, Aipac played the key role of go-between, sitting with Ways and Means staffers in the office of Thelma Askey, staff director of the panel’s trade subcommittee, to try to resolve differences. In recent weeks, Aipac won support for a measure favored by the International Relations Committee that could lower the investment threshold to $20 million after a year if other nations don’t agree to join the U.S. effort against Iran. But Aipac failed in efforts to extend sanctions to banks that finance energy deals in Iran. The Senate is expected to accept the House’s version of the final bill.

          Now, for the Bronfmans and their ideological attachments to Israel. Charles Bronfman co-founded Birthright Israel, a subject often covered on here for its propaganda.

          Charles Bronfman has strong ties to Israel as both an investor and a philanthropist. He is chairman of three Israeli businesses: Koor Industries, a diversified holding company; Claridge Israel, a private investment company, and The Jerusalem Report, a biweekly magazine.
          link to nytimes.com

          Bronfman, with Edgar and Edjar Jr bronfman in 1995 met with half a dozen Capitol Hill leaders, according to Israel Singer, secretary general of the World Jewish Congress, who was present at the meetings.

          Bronfman encouraged them to oppose the deal, telling Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.), House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) and others that Iran is a “terrorist state.”

          The collapse of the Conoco deal was bad news for other American oil firms (unlike your point above) , which were eager to increase their business dealings with Iran. They were watching for the Clinton administration’s reaction to the deal to see whether it would adhere to the hard line in force during the Republican White House years.

          Well, thats enough actual information, as there’s already a rather wide gulf here when you compare your speculations and calls for more information with what you have actually presented.

          Let me know when you develop the oil argument to a point thats presentable. Otherwise, I’m finished discussing this issue with a guy that likes to reply with speculation and personal insults.

    • kalithea says:

      “Again, the question is why did he do it and why did he do it now?”

      I see he didn’t bother with your question, but of all those who posted here he chose to reply to my comment below. I must have struck a nerve.

      I don’t know if his timing is relevant, maybe it is and maybe you could share with us why you would suspect the timing is relevant. However an answer to the first part of your question interests me as well.

      There’s a glaring inconsistency between what he says about the Lobby not being in control of ME policy and the commitment he professes for the plight of the Palestinians, since it’s precisely the Lobby that censors U.S. criticism of Israel and obstructs any kind of tough action (including withholding veto on U.N. Resolutions against Israel and funding) that would pressure Israel to move towards facilitating a viable Palestinian state. I would think after having seen the suffering of Palestinians up close, his priority would lie with the Palestinians, and so he would expose the Lobby’s interference in Mid-East policy.

      He actually would have us believe that every time the Lobby sends a Letter pressuring the President or Congress and Congress acts on that pressure, the U.S. is acting in its own best interests and Israel and its Lobby or Zionist proxies are in fact subservient to U.S. interests. Puh-leeez!

  8. Colin Murray says:

    While I disagree with much of Mr. Maher’s analysis, I insist that we should welcome challenge of orthodoxy. Criticism such as his is a necessary corrective process in maintaining a realistic appraisal of the complexities of the Israeli ethnic cleansing and colonization problem. It should not be summarily dismissed as mindless hasbara.

    • Avi says:

      While I disagree with much of Mr. Maher’s analysis, I insist that we should welcome challenge of orthodoxy.

      True.

      It should not be summarily dismissed as mindless hasbara.

      Of course.

      But, Stephen Maher needs to come up with better arguments, convincing ones.

    • kalithea says:

      Of course it’s not “mindless” hasbara! It’s calculated hasbara!: a tangled web woven with the intent to trap a few susceptible flies.

      Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive! No one does propaganda and deception better than Israeli apologists in defense of the Lobby. I would call it deception raised to an art form, but I prefer not to denigrate art.

  9. Avi says:

    I’ll keep it short.

    (Emphasis added)

    Freeman curiously asserts that “Washington has never had to exercise a veto or pay a similar political price to protect any of [it's other allies] from condemnation or sanctions by the international community,” despite the facts I presented showing the exact opposite. I showed how the US systematically shields its allies from international condemnation, citing the examples of Saddam Hussein’s genocide against the Kurds

    Maher, the day the US facilitates and actively moves to send Sharon, Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Olmert and Livni to the gallows, then and only then will your argument have a leg to stand on.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      What I appreciate about Mahers’s example, in a sardonic way, is equating the US treatment of Iraq to the US treatment of Israel shows exactly what sort of a mess this is heading toward for both “allies.”

  10. Les says:

    The debate between Israel as client state versus the power of the Israel lobby may be as much a distraction as the one-state versus the two-state solution debate. If such debates turn attention away from the ever worsening condition of the Palestinians, the distraction is serving Israel’s purpose.

    • Jewbonics says:

      The fact that it is framed as debate is itself the problem. There is truth out there that we can move close to. But not by asserting a monocasual economically determinist foreign policy, not by conspiracy-theorizing, and not by being too stubborn to follow the facts.

      • kalithea says:

        Not by conspiracy-theorizing??? If the reason Palestinians are being kept in camps under lock and key in a holding pattern of oppression is because Israel through its Lobby gets carte blanche from the U.S. to do whatever the hell it wants….then you bet we need to peer into the Lobby with an electron microscope and expose every shady character pushing Israeli policy with Congress!

        • Jewbonics says:

          If you have identified a causal motor of policy, then it is not a conspiracy theory. The point is not “exposure of individuals,” but exposure of institutions.

      • Danaa says:

        Pointing out the outsize influence of the Jewish Lobby has as much (or as little) to do with conspiracy theory as speculation about Big Bang has to do with the origins of the universe as we know it. All the evidence we have points to there having been a Big bang to get things going. Since we have no direct proof and have little clue other than working through the Math and fitting the observations, we’ll never know for sure. So it could all be a conspiracy theory, concocted by Physicists who love to speculate and find hidden meanings in everything. The christian fundamentalists certainly think so.

        But for the rest of us the facts as best we can tell speak for themselves. 300 signers of a resolution in the house criticizing the president for trying to do something right, for a change. Resolutions to sanction Iran for no good reason that any of us knows or can comprehend. The shutting down of debate on the way settlements thwart US foreign policy. The cover up of Jane Harman’s treason. The letting spies off the hook. the perpetual threats to pull back the purse strings that tie the democratic party in knots. And the worst of it all – the humiliating parading of our elected officials in from of AIPAC’s annual orgy of influence peddling to pay homage to The Man and profess undying love for Israel (or else). Thousands of pages can be filled with similar and even more egregious facts. All known, all recorded, all analyzed in infinite detail.

        But even if it were 1 M pages, you would still claim it’s a ‘conspiracy theory”, right?

        • Jewbonics says:

          It’s a trade. Tribalists get support for insane Israeli policy. What do other powerful sectors get for tolerating tribalists?

        • Danaa says:

          Jewbonics, that is true enough. But it’s interesting you used the word ‘tolerate”. ever think what can happen when that “tolerance” thins? I know that’s what I am thinking about, in which I am definitely not alone. At the end of the day, the greater powers win, and a major economic calamity is all it may take to bring the “mobs” wrath upon the ‘tribalists’.

          That is why I picked economics as a new hobby recently.

      • Les says:

        If one were to divide the client state argument with the Israel Lobby argument into the percentages of their influences, the client state side would be the smaller per cent by far. The US gets back painfully little from this particular client.

    • If there is any distraction here, it is by Maher and those of like mind to deflect Americans away from going after those who can be reached politically, both members of Congress and the Zionist establishment that “owns” them and who ultimately are responsible for the “worsening condition of the Palestinians” that, you claim, concerns you.

      Those who would have us believe that Israel has only been doing what a succession of administrations has wanted it to do, a claim easily negated by historical facts, are the ones doing the distracting and up to now they have succeeded, leaving the field of play in the US to the Zionists. That examining this is a “distraction” is curiously enough, the term used by Noam Chomsky who could be said to have been The Lobby’s Pied Piper.

  11. homingpigeon says:

    The positions presented as competing are really for the most part complementary. Something can also be true and not true at the same time. Forces in the power structure might support Israel because they believe it serves US imperial interests. Whether it does or doesn’t support all or some of these interests, or even harms some of them is another question. Anecdotal evidence can be presented either way.

    I tend to see the great fear of US politicians to ever question Israel as a bigger source of the problem. The shameless way they fall all over each other to increase the size of the welfare check or to support the Likud against any raised eyebrow from the US President cannot be attributed to a singularly unanimous support of imperial corporate interests. But into this witches brew of influences we must note the influence of the Christian Zionists. I would not be surprised to learn that they are even more influential than the Jewish Zionist lobby. But for heaven’s sake dear Habibis, (or aHbaab), let’s spare ourselves a bitter debate over whether the Jewish or Christian Zionists are the bigger culprits.

    It’s a colossal disaster in any case, with many complex elements contributing to it.

    • kalithea says:

      No I think the debate ends here. Christian Zionists are the product of Jewish Zionism.

      Let’s be clear. The plan began with Zionism and Zionism began with Jabotinsky, Herzl and company.

      So there is no debate except the debate Mr. Maher would like to create to protect the Jewish Lobby. Isn’t that what it’s all about: protecting the Jewish Lobby EVEN at the expense of the Palestinian cause and ABOVE anything and everything else.

      • Les says:

        Christian Zionists are white racists first of all. Many, if not most, welcome the mutual extermination of Jews and Arabs, including Palestinians and including (fellow) Christians. Their anti-Semitism is based on racial stereotypes fed to them by the past and present media.

    • With one exception, it is difficult to find over the years, prior to the election of Bill Clinton, in which the State Dept., to use a term from the Israeli press, was “Judaized,” any statement by an American official, not speaking before a national Jewish conference, that refers to Israel as a strategic asset or that support of it has been in our national interest. That one exception was Ronald Reagan and no serious person can credit him with having any real sense of what the term meant.

      Well before the Christian Zionists emerged as a movement, AIPAC and the Zionist establishment had things well under control in Washington, feeding major donations to key Republicans as well as providing the largest sums for the Democrats. What the Christian Zionists have added is clout within the Southern and Midwestern sectors of the Republican Party, making it far more difficult than in the past for a Republican to speak critically of Israel. While no one seems to question their influence, it is much more difficult to get people to appreciate that they are only following the lead of AIPAC and the organized Jewish community.

      • Setanta says:

        I have yet to see any compelling evidence that Israel itself is of any particular use to the empire, yet the empire consistently rubberstamps Israel’s agenda. Why is that? What could be gained by pissing off 1.5 billion Muslims, closing off entire markets because Israel doesn’t like this country or that, or looking the other way while Israel steals military and civilian technology from the US and exploits it for its own use or sells it to “our” enemies? Israel doesn’t keep America’s enemies in line, it creates America’s enemies in the Mideast. Our alliance with Israel has created an unprecedented degree of hostility and rage in the Arab and Muslim world against the US, and it is only the corruption and self-serving greed of Arab and Muslim leaders that keeps the Muslim world from seizing the opportunity we have created for them to unite against Western aggression.

        A recent Pew Research study on the The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) found that less than 4 percent of its members agreed that Israel will be “more important as America’s allies and partners” in the future. Pretty hard to make the case the empire supports Israel out of mutual interests when the CFR can’t find any use for Israel. Without the powerful Zionist lobby pulling for it, the empire would have fuck all to do with Israel.

        link to muslimmedianetwork.com

        Another question I’d like to see someone answer is where exactly Israel, with a military budget of just $13 billion a year and a GDP of $180 billion a year, gets the money to afford the fourth or fifth most powerful military force on the planet, equipped with state-of-the-art Western military equipment to a degree that would cost Western nations hundred of billions if not trillions of dollars to acquire. They are either magicians or they have the ability to coax this must largess out of Western nations without a word being said about how much it truly costs, and it ain’t $3 billion a year by a long shot.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Campaign dollars. It’s that simple. Just take a good look at Joe Lieberman and why the Democratic Party kept him on, even though he’s absolute poison for getting anything passed, legislatively.

  12. Debonnaire says:

    Jeff Blankfort asked WHY in light of everything that’s going on would Stephen Maher write such an article. Does anyone think for one second that Walt and Mearsheimer are lightweights and that Maher is the real deal? Who are you gonna believe – me or all the evidence and your five senses Maher is asking. What does he want? He doesn’t want people thinking about The Zionist Jewish Lobby and how its responsible for the so much War and suffering and death in the world, how its wicked and odious machinations and hold on the U.S. put us all on the precipice of a Thermonuclear Armageddon. It’s a chimera, an illusion Stephen Maher says. Notice he DOESN’T SAY it’s a modern day *Protocols of the Elders of Zion. No, he’ll leave that to cheapo-dumbbell Israel uber alles apologists like Meryl Yourish, Ted Belman, and Dennis Praeger.

    • kalithea says:

      BIN-GO! You hit the nail!

      But what sickens me most about this article is that Maher pretends to care so much about the plight of the poor Palestinians. He even visited Sabra and Shatila, and seemed to want to run out of the camps because the misery was too hard to bear and because it frightened him. Frightened him? Was he afraid that maybe some poor Palestinian might pounce on him? But why would he be fearful? Did the squalor make him fearful? Maybe his guilt was what made him so paranoid?

      Whatever it was he seems to have had a kind of awakening, like being a “born again” to the Palestinian cause after his visit to the camps. He wrote: “Thus I am responsible, and furthermore, as a member of the most privileged group in the world, it is my obligation to do all I can to make this right, whatever small contribution that amounts to in the end. It is a thankless and lonely task to be sure, but it is the bare minimum which is required of me in view of my nationality and privilege.”

      Thankless and lonely….lol…oh what a sacrifice! I read this piece on the Lobby here and then read his piece on Sabra and Shatila on his website and for some reason I felt like I couldn’t breathe as if I was being contaminated by some kind of overwhelming duplicity and hypocrisy. Then I felt revulsion and anger.

      Now I think, how pathetic! Although, I must admit this guy can sell ice to the eskimos from some of the “gullible” comments I see here. Or do they sympathize in some way with him and his guilt? All I know is, he’s in the wrong line of work! He should have been a used car salesman. Instead he appears to want to assist in conning the helpless.

      People…the Lobby is the reason, the main reason that Palestinians have suffered longer than they ever imagined they would, because the U.S. through the infiltration of the Lobby in Congress helped Israel hide its crime and protract the misery and suffering of Palestinians.

      Do our eyes deceive us? Of course not! But Maher paints a good mirage.

      • I wasn’t going to comment here – but this is just shameful. Simply shameful. You should be ashamed of yourself.

        Are you condemning me for being shocked and horrified by what I saw in the refugee camps, and feeling that I had an obligation as an American to do something? We all do, all of us Americans whose government is the primary supporter of the cruel oppression of the Palestinians – including many of my friends. We all must stand up in the face of such cruelty and horrors. Isn’t that why you are here?

        Going to visit Sabra and Shatilla was one of the most emotional and moving things I have ever done. It is part of what drove me to spend so much of my effort to pursue the cause of justice in Palestine. Though I work a full-time job, and I am a student, I spend my free time writing articles on The Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss and so on for free. I do this because I think this cause is important, and I think I have something to add to the discussion of Palestinian oppression, and its causes and solutions.

        Just because you don’t agree with me that the main motivator of US policy in the region is the Israel lobby, and present an alternative view, you accuse me of not caring about the Palestinians, and condemn me for my emotional reaction to the squalor of refugee camps. What reaction should I have?

        I have stood in Bil’in, and in Ni’lin, next to my Palestinian, European, and other brothers and sisters and been shot at and gassed by Israeli soldiers. Just because we disagree about the explanation for US policy, does that mean we can’t stand side by side for Palestinian rights? Does that justify that horrible personal attack?

        • Bandolero says:

          I disagree with Stephens explanation for US policy, but I strongly agree with Stephen, that these personal attacks on him are just shameful.

        • kalithea says:

          Look, I don’t know what your game is, but this I do know: the Lobby is standing in the way of those Palestinian rights you claim to be so passionate about!!

          If it weren’t for the Lobby, this President’s hands would not be tied to be able to take the tough stand and tough action against Israel that is necessary to loosen Israel’s grip on the neck of Palestinians!

          Why do you think Obama remained silent during the Gaza Invasion?? Do you really, really think Obama doesn’t care that Palestinian children were being burnt with WP??

          Why do you think Rahm Emanuel waited until the very last minute to endorse Obama, and then did so only when Aipac’s favorite girl Hillary didn’t stand a chance and then endorsed Obama only when he delivered that speech before Aipac promising unwaivering allegiance to Israel and support for an UNIDIVIDED JERUSALEM??

          So I don’t take anything back! I cannot trust anyone who pretends that Aipac is not behind the worst U.S. foreign policy decisions on the Middle East. Either you’re naive or you think I was born yesterday?

          Now, many people visit Mumbai, and maybe even tour the slums, but that experience definitely didn’t end up converting them into MOTHER TERESA or elevate them to a superior status where they can admonish someone who would dare to question their integrity or motive!

          Privilege is a hard habit to break! And in your case, it may be that your allegiance to Aipac or what it represents means more to you than your commitment to the Palestinians or you wouldn’t be feeding us this malarkey, knowing how Aipac stands in the way of Palestians’ freedom from Israeli oppression!

        • kalithea says:

          Don’t you find it telling that Mr. Maher based his entire reply to me on the fact that he thinks I condemned him, in his words “for being shocked and horrified by what I saw in the refugee camps, and feeling that I had an obligation as an American to do something”, and says nothing about the real complaint I have with him? That’s not what I’m condemning him for!

          I’m not condemning him for his awakened compassion after visiting the refugee camps, anyone’s compassion would be awakened by such misery! I get that. I’m condemning him because I can’t get it in my mind how someone who had the privilege to go and witness that misery first hand, could turn around and pretend that Aipac doesn’t control Congress in order to protract the very misery he witnessed? How can he pretend this???

          Do I not have a right to question this grave inconsistency?? Tell me it’s not an IN CON SIS TEN CY! And why pray tell, did he dedicate his entire reply to me to his “bruised ego”, misconstrue or “deliberately” misconstrue my criticism, and fail to address the issue (ie Aipac’s control of ME policy, or in his opinion, lack of control) which I find totally incompatible with his commitment to the Palestinian cause, which I still cannot fathom, given what he responded to Chas Freeman.

          Puhleeez! Someone who tries to make Chas Freeman, and W&M look like mere conspiracy theorists needs their integrity questioned. Someone who refuses to admit that Aipac controls ME policy when it’s so obvious, so flagrant, in everyone’s face, with their Congressional roll-call convention NEEDS TO BE QUESTIONED and yes, maybe condemned for trying to protect a Lobby that furthers Palestinian suffering!

  13. Bandolero says:

    The attacks here ad hominem from either side are disgusting. Having said this, I want to line out the major point which I feel should be discussed and which is more interesting than comparing history, where the lobby might have had different strengthes in different times.

    The real point is from my point of view what Stephen M. Walt wrote in February on FP:

    “Probably the most controversial claim in my work with John Mearsheimer on the Israel lobby is our argument that it played a key role in the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. ”

    It is important, because the Iraq war was not only expensive in financial an diplomatic terms. Just have a look to what Tariq Alhomayed says about it:

    “There is no other way to describe the electoral alliance that was announced on Tuesday between the State of Law Coalition and the Iraqi National Alliance except as an Iranian one. … In amazement, a Western official told me “how America handed over Iraq to Iran.””

    link to aawsat.com

    I think, fighting an expensive war for handing over Iraq to Iran is a major setback for US-imperialism.

    So based on the outcome, the “Israel-lobby theory” makes a lot more sense in relation to the war against Iraq than the imperialist theory.

    The only US interest group, who gained by the war, was Israel, because the public attention has been driven away from the continued illegal settlement building – just like it is now trying to bring an Iran war onto the agenda to shift attention away from Israeli apartheid.

    And from my point of view, some imperialists in the US administration understood that, and so we see at the moment a confrontation of these forces behind Obama with the lobby.

    • This Bandolero is loaded. Should the Iraqi government end up being close to Iran which seems all but inevitable, this will in fact play into the hands of Israel and it supporters who are eager to keep the region destabilized and thus justifying Israel remaining armed to the teeth and ready to strike. And, oh yes, holding on to its settlements.

      Those who deny the role of Israel and its US supporters in pushing the US into war with Iraq while claiming it to have been a war for Iraq’s oil–apart from knowing nothing about how oil companies have worked in the region–have a hard time explaining why the current war was opposed by George Bush Sr., Jame Baker, and Brent Scowcroft, all of whom have closer ties to the big oil companies than anyone in the Bush Jr administration, including Cheney. Moreover, at last glance, the major oil contracts have gone to China, Russia and Malaysia, with the Americans reduced to mainly smaller service contracts. As Bob and M&W have shown, both Iraqi and Iranian oil would have been available to the US and the world market without war or the threat of war.

      • Bandolero says:

        Jeffrey,

        the Iraqi government will not “end up” being close to Iran. This is the inevitable basic principle of Iraqi politics since Saddam was overthrown by the US-led invasion. The largest religious group of Iraqi people are the Shia. The Shia leadership of Iraq has since ages closenst ties to the large neighbor Iran. Just have a look at the profile of Nouri al-Maliki in Wikipedia, the “secular” shia, who became prime minister after the invasion:

        “He left Syria for Iran in 1982, where he lived until 1990, mostly in Tehran, before returning to Damascus where he remained until the 2003 US invasion toppled Hussein. In Syria he worked as a political officer for Dawa, developing close ties with Hezbollah and particularly with Iran, supporting that country’s effort to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime.”

        Can someone be more pro-Iranian than the prime minister? Yes, one can. Muqtada as-Sadr, the leader of Malikis new ally Iraqi National Alliance is- he even lives today in Iran – studying at the religious schools of the Iranian leaders.

        And of course the Shia are the strongest group in a democracy in Iran, because the most people there are Shia. All this was well known before the invasion.

        The US and Israel played the kurds card to secure their influence, but that couldn’t work, because the Iraqi kurdish oil needs to be exported via Turkey – and Turkeys government is a staunch supporter of Teheran.

        So the US and their Sadui allys end up of supporting now the sunni-baath Allawi coalition, which is in core the same fraction as the old supporters of Saddam Hussein – the US waged war to topple a political force in Government, which they now seek to have reinstated. Luckily, Iran isn’t interested to “take over” Iraq and to fight it out with the KSA, but to find a political agreement for peace and stability in the region. Alireza Nader from RAND Corporation understands it very well:

        ““However, history has shown that Iran and Saudi Arabia [as major regional powers] are also careful not to let their rivalry boil over into overt conflict,” Nader said. “Hence, they are willing to tolerate political arrangements that are at least somewhat beneficial for both,” he added.”

        Source:

        link to dailystar.com.lb

        You are absolutely right, that this expensive adventure may become a big problem for the Israel lobby. I believe so, too. If the people of America understand why the wars against Iraq – and Afghanistan – happened, they will be outraged and have some very serious questions to Israel and it’s lobby.

        But so far the media are hiding this truth from public, though US-officials know the truth quite well.

  14. Bandolero says:

    The forgotten link to the article from which I quoted in my comment above from Walt:

    link to walt.foreignpolicy.com

  15. David Green says:

    The important bottom line is this. Those who find their vocation in the Lobby thesis–besides often being largely clueless, arrogant, bullying, and condescending, and in some cases above indecipherable–are not at all helping the Palestinians. The goal of Obama’s policy will be to either keep the “peace process industry” going to electoral advantage (including among liberal Jews who basically support him), or to force the Palestinians to capitulate to a Bantustan state, just to get them out of the way. It is indeed a shame that I/Rs like M/W are somehow seen in the Palestinian camp. Look at Walt some time: he only supports half of American wars, the other half not being practical. Mearsheimer can fantasize all he wants about one state–how does he propose we get there? By promoting “U.S. interests” in the ME? “Realism” will not help the Palestinians. It’s a shame, as I said at Palestine Chronicle in early March, that a website like this has assumed the doctrine of the Lobby and “dual loyalty” as conventional wisdom. It leaves PW breathless over every hint that the establishment is “getting it” about the Lobby. So we’re supposed to cheer when Petraeus strategizes about the safety of American troops? I received a personal e-mail from Idress Ahmad accusing me of “slander” against PW and Blankfort. That’s the level that the Lobby argument brings people to–Stalinism. Blankfort’s vendetta against Chomsky is breathtaking. I think Jewbonics has over-estimated JB’s IQ. If only Cockburn didn’t encourage JB, he would have to resort to being a Truther. I was mistaken, however, in assuming that EI was doctrinaire Lobby. It’s not, and that pisses Ahmad off no end. There’s a diverse editorship there (and readership). The original horrible interview where JB and Ali Abunimah attacked Chomsky, AA was concerned with BDS, at least a debatable issue. Nevertheless, I think it was a mistake for AA to present a united front with JB against Chomsky. Nasty shit. Chomsky’s principles are quite clear: don’t open oneself up to being accused of hypocrisy vis a vis U.S. support for Israel. But if you believe it’s all the Lobby, then you don’t have to worry about opposing “U.S. interests,” such as Chomsky did when he risked being thrown in jail for a good long time during Vietnam. This website needs to lose its conventional wisdom. It might have to send Blankfort to Gitmo to do so. By the way, the work of Nitzan and Bichler (as JewBonics alludes to, I think) is extremely important in understanding the real world, if anyone cares. And thanks to Maher’s willingness to enter this hostile environment so eloquently.

    • tree says:

      Geez, ther’s an improvement to the dialog. Not. I personally find SOME of those promoting the oil theory, or denigrating the lobby theory, just as “clueless, arrogant, bullying, and condescending, and in some cases above indecipherable” as those they are criticizing.

      Clue for those bemoaning the lack of civility in the arguments. If you are going to cite the use of ad hominems by those who disagree with your viewpoint as proof of the paucity of their arguments, it pays to not indulge in ad hominems yourself lest you be seen as hypocrites.

      This website needs to lose its conventional wisdom. It might have to send Blankfort to Gitmo to do so.
      Speaking of promoting a hostile environment…. You’re throwing stones in a glass house, Stephen.

      • tree says:

        Oops, pardon me. I meant to address that to David Green. I know a Stephen Green and mixed up the names.

      • tree says:

        And I might also add that none of Jeffrey Blankfort’s posts here included personal attacks on anyone that he disagreed with. You may disagree with his viewpoint, but you have to admit that he stuck to describing the situation as he sees it, rather than resorting to personal attacks, something that unfortunately both Jewbonics and David Green resorted to in their attempts to “refute” Blankfort.

        • Jewbonics says:

          Tree,
          Here is Blankfort, criticizing Maher (who it should be clear I do not agree with): “There is much more in Maher’s position that can be as easily shredded, but the question for me, at this point, is what is his agenda?”

          Here is Blankfort again: “If there is any distraction here, it is by Maher and those of like mind to deflect Americans away from going after those who can be reached politically, both members of Congress and the Zionist establishment that “owns” them and who ultimately are responsible for the “worsening condition of the Palestinians” that, you claim, concerns you.”

          I am surprised that you don’t think that those are “personal attacks.” We all know Blankfort’s MO. [Stop calling me Jewbonics by the way, you know my name].

        • tree says:

          Max,

          I consider a personal attack something along the line of nasty cracks about someone’s lack of intelligence or calling them names, like”idiot”. I was sorry to see you stoop to that in your posts, because I respect what you do and say, although I don’t always agree with your perspective. I don’t think that questioning people’s motives is, per se, a personal attack. Calling them names and putting on an air of condescension, yes. I’ve done it myself in the heat of an argument.

          But I find it utterly hypocritical to do what David Green did, which was launch a vicious and mean-spirited attack against Blankfort under cover of a faux concern for the use of ad hominems by those who disagree with Stephen, which is why I addressed my comment to him. I was otherwise going to leave the commenting to others.

          [Stop calling me Jewbonics by the way, you know my name].

          But you posted here under the name Jewbonics, and if I had referred to you as Max no one here who didn’t know your name would have any clue as to what I was talking about. I’ll refer to you as Max if you want, or even Mr. Ajl if you prefer, but I’d suggest that if you don’t want to be called Jewbonics here, then you should not post under that name.

    • Well, sooner or later, as I expected, one of The Lobby’s second line of “damage control” specialists, David Green, has arrived on the scene, venting his spleen with nothing more than ad hominem attacks on me and on those who have had the courage to take on the albatross or leviathan, take your pick, that has Congress in its clutches and is tearing away what little is left of American democracy.

      Green has problems with the notion of “dual loyalty.” Perhaps, if I used the term, “Jewish tribalism,” which seems to be his affliction, it would hit much closer to home. In any case, there is nothing approaching the refutation of any statement of fact in Green’s screed and if he has any criticisms of my article on Prof. Chomsky, factual criticisms, that is, I would like to see them. Chomsky himself, towering intellectual that he is has said that he will not read the article (which provides a wonderful excuse not to refute it). For those on this list who have not read the article:”Damage Control: Noam Chomsky and the Israel-Palestine Conflict” here’s the link:
      link to leftcurve.org

      What is interesting but not surprising is that Green makes the same accusation regarding people who raise the issue of The Lobby as does Chomsky, that WE are the ones who are hurting the Palestinians. I have yet to have a Palestinian tell me that.

      • Jewbonics says:

        I had a Gazan communist tell me that two weeks ago on the rubble at Abed Rabbo.

      • seth says:

        “In any case, there is nothing approaching the refutation of any statement of fact in Green’s screed and if he has any criticisms of my article on Prof. Chomsky, factual criticisms, that is, I would like to see them. ”

        I pointed out some factual errors in your article in a previous thread:
        link to mondoweiss.net

        Chomsky’s position on such issues as divestment and ending arm sales to Israel is not the most important thing in the world, but might as well get it right. My favorite part of that exchange though was this part, when I asked:

        According to you, Chomsky has done a valuable service with his “detailed descriptions of the injustices that had been heaped upon the Palestinians by the Israelis”, but that he “is providing cover for the pro-Israel lobby” because he still has “one foot still in Zion”. There is an obvious question here that you don’t address. If he still has such a “determination to protect Israel”, why would he have spent so much of his life documenting and publicizing the “injustices that had been heaped upon the Palestinians”? It seems to me it would have been much simpler to have simply not done that to begin with.

        and you responded:

        The answer is quite simple. His documenting “injustices that had been heaped upon the Palestinians” at the hands of Israel gave him the necessary credibility that enabled him to gain the confidence of most of those who support the Palestinian cause, including mine at one point, and make them susceptible to his distortions of the history of US-Israel relations and to accepting his theory that the pro-Israel lobby is, as he once described it, “a paper tiger.”

        Obviously anybody who can believe that as Chomsky’s motivation for spending so much energy documenting Israeli crimes is not someone who is thinking very clearly.

  16. Setanta says:

    Pastor Hagee preaches that God created America to protect Israel.
    Pastor Chomsky preaches that America created Israel to protect America.

    The degree of blind faith it takes to believe either of these credos is staggering.

    Both views would be absurdly comical, if they weren’t so tragically wrong.

  17. kalithea says:

    My problem with Maher is this: it baffles me that someone, who’s visited hell (Sabra & Shatila) and witnessed what Zionism has reduced human beings to and the conditions into which generations of Palestinians are born thanks to Israel’s hardened heart or should I say Heart of Darkness, would try to deliberately conceal the real motive for the existence of Israel’s Lobby, which is to defend and protect Zionism with help from the most powerful patronage on the planet.

    What is his commitment to Palestinians based upon, lip service only? It’s definitely not based on denial. He’s not apathetic or ignorantly blissful like the majority of Israelis try to be. He’s seen the injustice Zionism created, so he no longer has a choice, if he must live with his conscience, but to pay this lip service to the plight of the Palestinians and march in Bil’in as he states, but then, when it comes down to choosing between allegiance to the Lobby which protracts this horrific injustice or exposing and denouncing the Lobby for interfering with and obstructing policy or criticism which might pressure Israel to make the sacrifices required to end this injustice, Mr. Maher, plays dumb on Aipac. Where does Mr. Maher’s commitment to the cause of Palestinians end and his loyalty to the Lobby begin is my question?
    He can’t profess to be deeply committed to the suffering of Palestinians and then pretend that the Lobby is not playing a major role in dragging out that suffering! He states above: shame on me for questioning his commitment. No! Shame on him for enabling a charade, a sham staged by the Lobby that keeps Congress and Americans biased against Palestinians who have been persecuted in the media for ages and are suffering an egregious injustice and inhumanity at the mercy of Zionism and its American proxies.

    For decades the U.S. mainstream media has been complicit with the Lobby in demonizing Palestinians and downplaying the oppression they suffer. But to Mr. Maher I suppose this is just another Zionist “conspiracy theory”. For instance, is it just a coincidence that Wolf Blitzer worked for the Lobby and Zionism’s mouthpiece, the Jerusalem Post, and then landed a job with what was for years the top cable news network in the U.S.?

    Thank God for Palestinians that the internet has taken over! Yeah sure, the Hasbara brigade has invaded the internet as well, but fortunately, the internet is one place where Zionism’s proxies have a hard time pulling the strings, fudging the facts and getting the last word.

    • Red says:

      kalithea, I find your post quite astounding. Just because Mayer does not ascribe to “the lobby is all powerful” hypothesis, you engage in an ad hominem attack and accuse him of paying “lipservice” to the Palestinian struggle.

      At no stage does Maher, in either of his articles, dismiss “the lobby” or racist nature of Zionism. What he does do, however, is question the hypothesis that “the lobby” is all powerful and decides US imperialist policy. There are many, many dedicated Palestine solidarity activists around the world, who agree with Maher’s position (myself included). Are you going to accuse all of us of paying “lip service” to the Palestinian struggle.

      If US imperialist interests did not intersect with the interest of the lobby or the Israeli state, the US would not be supporting it in the way that it does. This is the argument Maher is making and it is a legitimate one. Ad hominem attacks such as yours are do nothing to bring clarity to the discussion and debate at hand.

      • bob says:

        If US imperialist interests did not intersect with the interest of the lobby or the Israeli state, the US would not be supporting it in the way that it does. This is the argument Maher is making and it is a legitimate one.

        This thread has shown, even in this short discussion, various examples of domestic pro-Israeli interests directly conflicting with US industry interests.

        The argument made here can only be made if one is willing to ignore large swaths of history.

        • Red says:

          Hi Bob, I think you are being very simplistic. No one said that Israeli and US interests had to be in complete syncronicity at all times and in every given instance.

          And as for the arguments being made here, I think your argument can only be made by ignoring large swaths of history about US foreign policy engagement around the world.

        • bob says:

          Compare

          If US imperialist interests did not intersect with the interest of the lobby or the Israeli state, the US would not be supporting it in the way that it does. This is the argument Maher is making and it is a legitimate one.

          with

          No one said that Israeli and US interests had to be in complete syncronicity at all times and in every given instance.

          I have shown where pro-Israeli interests conflict with US interests with countries with oil. I have others. If your point to support Maher is to claim that “If US imperialist interests did not intersect with the interest of the lobby or the Israeli state, the US would not be supporting it in the way that it does,” and I show how it actually does not, then your argument falls apart.

          You will have to do what Chomsky cannot, which is to try to demonstrate this using current information, while ignoring (downplaying) the very clear pro-Israeli ideologies of the people who pushed, fought for, and won Middle East policies that were good for Israel. The examples here even show how they were won over the objections of representatives of the oil industry. This is quite a blow to those claiming an imperialistic view bereft of the agency of people with pro-Israeli proclivities.

  18. Thank you Mr. Maher for your article. It makes good sense and shows the rubbish that is the idea that the US is being controlled by Israel. That proposition is foolish, immature, and wishful thinking. I also think it has anti-semitic roots. Why is it so hard to accept that we as Americans are the biggest assholes in the world and that we would do a CIA assassination of any Israeli PM who tried to offer real justice to Palestinians?

    • kalithea says:

      “and that we would do a CIA assassination of any Israeli PM who tried to offer real justice to Palestinians”

      Absolute rubbish.

    • tree says:

      ” …the idea that the US is being controlled by Israel. That proposition is foolish, immature, and wishful thinking.”

      You do know that you’ve set up a strawman here? No one here is saying that the US “is being contolled” by Israel. The argument is that US foreign policy in the Middle East is being unduly influenced by the Israel Lobby and that Israel is not a “strategic asset” worthy of the lopsided support we give to it. This is not “anti-semitic”. There are organized interest groups who have as their stated goals the support of Israel’s interests(or what they perceive as Israel’s interest) in US foreign policy. Just because a certain select group of people (and by this I mean lobby members, not all Jews) are acting out some negative Jewish stereotypes doesn’t mean that we have to close our eyes to what they are doing and pretend otherwise.

      Why is it so hard to accept that we as Americans are the biggest assholes in the world …

      Nice of you to make a sweeping generalization about Americans in response to something you perceive as “anti-semitic”. What’s that called, BTW, when you spout bigotry in an attempt to argue against perceived bigotry? A logical argument? Don’t think so.

      “…we would do a CIA assassination of any Israeli PM who tried to offer real justice to Palestinians?”

      Where did you get that idea from? First off, politically speaking any Israeli PM who offered real justice to the Palestinians would at this point be immediately voted out of office by Israelis. Second, the Israelis have proven very adept at assassinating their own PMs when they go against rightwing Israeli positions. And three, please explain how denying the Palestinians justice serves US foreign policy objectives, imperial or otherwise? Palestinians have been denied justice by Israel with a lot of help from the US because it serves some US domestic interests and powers. US imperial power would be greatly enhanced in the Middle East if the US government would indeed be an honest broker instead of Israel’s lawyer in the conflict.

    • “the rubbish that is the idea that the US is being controlled by Israel. ”

      Joseph..Could you please show the part where this suggestion was made? I couldn’t find it. Only reference to foreign policy.

      • VR says:

        “the rubbish that is the idea that the US is being controlled by Israel. ”

        Joseph..Could you please show the part where this suggestion was made? I couldn’t find it. Only reference to foreign policy. ”

        TGIA, just look up a little further on the post at Mr. Blankforts contribution (May 9th, 1:38AM):

        “Well, sooner or later, as I expected, one of The Lobby’s second line of “damage control” specialists, David Green, has arrived on the scene, venting his spleen with nothing more than ad hominem attacks on me and on those who have had the courage to take on the albatross or leviathan, take your pick, that has Congress in its clutches and is tearing away what little is left of American democracy.”

        I have experienced this strange diatribe before on this site before, as if what is occurring in America is really different than any other time where elite influence has been central to activities both foreign and domestic. They have emerged with their hides barely intact claiming “victory” in their bizarre arguments minus all history to the present era. Now, if they want to start this argument again I will be more than happy to oblige and they will emerge dutifully bloodied again by the plain facts – foundational being, that America is in the state she is in because of how she functions and has always functioned since the beginning, as a polyarchy which always devolves to an oligarchy (or one could say an oligarchy at various stages).

        • VR says:

          I might follow up by saying, I doubt seriously that those who hold this view want to get into this argument again, unless they are proverbial masochists. They have this penchant for completely removing contexts and foundations from specifics that they cite – it is like studying an ant while moving it out of the realm of entomology, a ludicrous exercise to say the least.

        • VR says:

          Lets follow the argument using the ant, but lifting out of the context of myrmecology so we can talk about it without getting too bogged down. Studying this specific ant while lifting out of the context of this study we can marvel at it – it can lift many times its body weight. Compared to a human it would be like a human lifting 2000 to 10000 pounds over its head. We could wax eloquent about the ant and its super feats, build monuments to the ant, even worship it, etc.

          However, there is not just one type of ant, there are over 9,500 species – so it is indeed strange to attribute so much to this specific ant we have been speaking about above. This is what happens when you lift things out of context, it becomes a subject of exaggeration, blown out of proportion because of the missing context.

    • Citizen says:

      Joseph Glatzer, we Americans are just average humans, with normal assholes, and we grow concerned, for example, when our President is
      pressured by most of Congress to not publically voice his own concerns
      about the activites of a foreign state, especially when that state defies
      official US & international law and receives the largest chunk of US foreign aid: link to america-hijacked.com

      • VR says:

        Is that so Citizen? Well than, perhaps you can get congress to give a damn about you or any of the people. I swear, it gets really old dealing with this subject, with individuals stubbornly holding on to a pipe dream that congress or any representative for that matter (for the most part) really represents you at all. These statements are about as significant as the movements of a bobble headed doll on the dashboard of a car rocking back and forth, it might provide entertainment for this easily entertained but is quite useless.

        • Citizen says:

          VR. I was specifically addressing Glatzer. You need to read my comment as a response to what Glatzer said, and read the reference
          url too, which pertains to the AIPAC–led majority of the US Congress muzzling POTUS when it comes to anything critical of Israel. I am perfectly aware that no senator or congress person has ever represented me since I have been alive.

        • Danaa says:

          VR, as much as I like many of your comments, I am a bit taken aback at your resorting to “Th whole world sucks” line (is that Mooser #4?). You know, just because congress is the elected face of creeping corporatism (which I do believe is true) which is strangling American democracy, does not mean that the greater powers cannot carry the day. In fact, corporatism, made manifest through the corrupt lobbying system, means exactly that.

          The point I’d advance is that, even in the face of all the evidence that lobbies have taken over congress AND the presidency, SOME lobbies can still have greater powers than others. If all we have to temper the power of a lobby is to appeal to other lobbies, AIPAC is unique in that it has little by way of opposition from some other equally powerful interest. Had that been the case, we would have seen more of a see-saw on US foreign policy in the ME. But wthe fact is, we didn’t – in decades and decades.

          It is my belief – as I said before – that what we are all engaging in here is to lay the foundation for a true opposition to AIPAC’s power. A counterpoint, so to speak, made of an unusual alliance between US citizens of all ethnic backgrounds, religions and political leanings. This opposition, by necessity, is headed by a substantial number of Jewish people, though we should expect that to change, in due course. That is why there’s such sensitivity to the “jewish” issue, as symbolized by AIPAC and friends. personally, I am with those who prefer to take the gloves off already. But that’s just me.

        • bob says:

          You know, just because congress is the elected face of creeping corporatism

          I would like to make the point that, as it is bad form to blame things on “the Jooz,” it is also bad form to blame things on an unspecified corporatism. Much like the hard work done when exposing people with pro-Israeli ideologies, you have to define, contextually, the specific people involved and how they are, specifically performing the actions described.

        • Mark Twain was on target when in 1909 he noted that the only “native criminal class is Congress” as was Will Rogers when he said “America has the best Congress money can buy.” That being said and acknowledged, it still remains the only game in town and it can be subjected to pressure from the streets as we eventually saw with the winding down of the war in Vietnam and the vote NOT to fund the Contras (which led to the Iran-Contra affair in which Congress let Israel off the hook.)

          There has never been a national campaign, until recently, to make Israel pay economically, nor has there been any campaign that I’m aware of to make those members of Congress, and the liberal Democrats, in particular, pay for towing Israel’s line. Is that the fault of the members of Congress or those in the movement who have been led astray not only by Chomsky and his devotees but by the movement’s leadership that prefers to blame everything on the White House and that insists that the US really supports Israeli expansionism and that the routine humiliations to which American officials from the president on down are subjected to by Israel, if they are mentioned at all, are all part of the game, nothing more than a charade.

          The latest to do this is Dick Becker, the head of International ANSWER who begins his new book on the Israel-Palestine conflict with a section of The Lobby. Its power,according to Becker is enhanced by the White House for its nefarious purposes. Try telling that to Obama as the letters pressuring him to bend over for Israel signed by 3/4 of both Houses Congress pile up on his desk.

        • Danaa says:

          bob, to give contextuality to corporatism’s domination of congress would be a way too long a post (and 5 books will not suffice). There are just so many ways and names.

          During the health care reform there were great examples. One Baucus fellow for example, comes to mind, whose key aid was from the health insurance industry preparing the position papers while papering over the interests of citizens. But an enormous amount of ink has already been spilled on that and I wouldn’t want to contaminate this blog with legion references.

          But read my post again – I am not saying that AIPAC’s power is not outsize, certainly not when compared to the relatively miniscule size of the population it supposedly exists to “serve” (and doing anything but). neither am I trying to take away it’s uniqueness, a significant aspect of which is that it infects matters of national security and foreign policy, making it so much more dangerous than lobbies that deal only in domestic matters. In that regard, it is to be compared with the Cuban exiles lobby which plays a comparatively tiny on a national scale, and is on a losing arc even in Florida.

          IMO, the worst part about AIPAC is the insidious alliances it makes with other lobbies, especially in financial matters. Your poster boy for this kind of alliance is Schumer, the sleaziest of sleaze-balls. Though, as i said before, the trouble with such total sleaze is that it’s easy to lose focus in a the swamp of self-interest of which the schummer humanoid is made. I prefer easier targets for my ire.

          In any case, I think too much time is spent on matters of purity of thought and intention when it comes to AIPAC. We all agree it has way too much influence and that this is not good for the US. I say we move forward from that and take it on anyway we can. Whether it’s the greatest conspiracy in the US or one conspiracy among many (just to over-simplify the debate for a moment) is an important question for the more academic minded to debate, but it is not an issue that should stop anyone from taking actions that can help bring it down. Whatever power it has, it’s too much and it’s way too damaging – to the US, to the world, and yes, even to israel. I am simply on the side of action where it counts rather than spending too much good righteous anger on interactive blog reactions.

        • bob says:

          bob, to give contextuality to corporatism’s domination of congress would be a way too long a post (and 5 books will not suffice). There are just so many ways and names.

          I’m saying that you have to do this because of the high standards laid out by people continually demanding this from work on the lobby.

          People (collectively) do not get to conflate everything as “the Jooz” (rightly so) even when you find a preponderance of Jewish people and a lack of Jews fighting against it.

          Likewise, saying corporate is also difficult. Health care was dominated by many, many lobbyists for representatives of the health care industry. Ok. This is true. Much like the standards people pay out on the lobby, moving onwards to other aspects of government is going to need contextual proof of that.

          Its just a matter of equal standards of proof. Nothing personal.

        • VR says:

          Well Danaa I am glad you prefaced your response by how much you like my comments, but to then dive into this silly point #4 chant is just totally disingenuous. That is because if you read (or anyone) read what I have written the the past here to the present you will find nothing but agreement, in fact you will not even find the slavish salute to Chomsky to be evident on many posts (Blankfort’s tired accusation) especially in regards to BDS, etc.

          “Just because congress is the face of creeping Corporatism,” can you get any more strange than a comment like this? It is not merely “congress,” it is the entire damn system as it functions in the USA from the beginning, and behind it is elite interest (corporations merely being the housing). “Just because,” is like trying to reduce the entire warp and woof of over 200 years of history down to an anomaly. I do have to admit that all of you true “red, white and blue” have learned well what you have been taught in school since childhood, with the same chant of “how strange” what is occurring today, how out of sync with the past when we “held our heads high” as Americans bullshit.

          No one denies the “unique” nature of AIPAC, why do you people who hold this tabula rasa view of history in the USA (back in the good ol’ days) continue to post this when there is no disagreement here? The only disagreement I have is that this process is in any way, shape, or form essentially different from what has been transpiring for hundreds of years. There is no denial of the domestic “insurance policy” (AIPAC) has great influence, it just has great influence because it calls upon what the aim of the USA is in the ME. At the same time it (US) assuages the elite which it represents domestically, that is, the apparatus of the USA – WHICH SERVES A MONEYED ELITE AS IT ALWAYS HAS DONE. Damn this is getting tiring, constantly repeating the obvious. Israel is nothing but a colonial extension just like the lords and prince of yesteryear were supported on their colonial exploits. The reason it has not changed is because the USA will not change its purpose for existence as written in all of its official documents (Constitution, etc.), as voiced by its moneyed elite since the beginning (see Madison), and how that plays out in both foreign and domestic policy.

          So you are not going to change anything by going after a mere symptom alone, but you are going to have to address the entire ball of wax – not only what is evident, but what made it possible. Now, I have to move on and answer all of these other posts AGAIN, because they have not changed either (like I am shocked and dismayed, not). Here, you can see some of it below, it is just as bad to “blame things on an unspecified corporatism.”

        • Danaa says:

          VR, I apologize if I implied disagreement where there was none, assuming that is indeed the case.

          I note your impatience, but please try and understand mine. though AIPAC may well be part and parcel of an entire system my personal preference – as i stated above (clearly enough, I thought) is in taking action – one brick at a time.

          Far be it from me to question the colonialist pattern of the zionist/Israel enterprise. But taking on an entire edifice is not likely to yield much in the way of results. Colonialism is, unfortunately, an abstraction for the majority of US citizens. But an AIPAC is concrete because it is so well focused. It’s the same line of argument as the one supporting the BDS action- it is something individuals can participate in and contribute to in a meaningful way, even before it had a chance to assemble a complete philosophy around itself.

          Too much impatience on your part…..you know this is not a school here. Maybe it should be but it isn’t.

          And speaking of education, I have an analogy for you: everyone knows that children from poor/less educated homes do less well in school. Many understand that the ultimate solution to the education gap is closing the poverty gap. But seeing how that is far and away in time and funds, hat should not stop anyone from starting somewhere and attempt to make improvements on at least a school-by-school and pupil-by-pupil basis.

        • VR says:

          Danaa, I have no difficulty starting somewhere concrete, in reference to AIPAC. My only concern is the almost total dismissal or haze in regard to what the USA is and has done. Just as long as we understand that we are not undertaking something entirely new in the sense of what we are trying to halt. Nor that misconception that there is going to be a any change in the status quo of operation in America with this process. I do not mind heartily participating, even though I think in the end it will prove what I have been saying – too bad people need to learn by experience in literal issues of life and death.

    • Setanta says:

      Sheer nonsense. What could the US have to gain by demanding Israel oppress the Palestinians, particularly when every American president has at least paid lip service to the idea they do otherwise? The best thing for the empire would be to tell Israel to go fuck itself, build a bunch of maquiladoras on the West Bank to take advantage of the most desperate labor force on the planet, and continue to operate its bases in countries like Qatar and Saudi without all the headache and ill will caused by its support of Israel.

      This view that Israel is just some poor little kapo being pressed into service as a condition of its survival by the evil anti-Semitic US is just standard Zionist victimology mongering. By definition, Jews are always the victims, never the vicitimizers, no matter what. You can’t be Jewish and guilty at the same time, it would seem .

      • bob says:

        Setanta

        Terrific post. Its truly astounding to see an argument made for a strategic Israeli base, when Israel has never attacked anyone for the US, and more importantly, serves to unite a traditionally fractioned region against the United States. Divide and conquer is the modus operandi of an imperialist extension, not unite a region against you by the support of a country without the oil.

        There is example after example shown on and off this site of the conflict of pro-Israeli interests and U.S. interests to countries with oil. These battles are easily researched and often hard fought. Does the pro-Israeli lobby win all of them? No. The point is on this frequent opposition of these goals. What these arguments by Chomsky et. al. do is try to conflate them together where you do not see the conflicting goals and the struggles within the U.S. government. This is one of the major oversights you will continually see with people making these arguments.

        I would also agree on a theme you will see of Jews as passive victims, forced to ‘respond.’ In this narratives, Jews somehow lack agency for their actions. This site has covered scholarly work showing the use of this narrative. Whether it is Mark Regev trying to pass the information that, ultimately, its Israeli enemy X that forced Israel to respond or Chomsky trying to show that, ultimately, the US forced Israel to respond, there is the same effort to push the Agency of bad actions off of the Israelis.

        Unfortunately for this narrative, it is easy to show the weakness in this simple narrative. You cannot ignore the pro-Israeli ideological bent of people who pushed for the Iran sanctions, overthrow of Saddam, etc that occurred within the United States. Similarly, you cannot seriously make an argument of a passive Israel, merely responding to hate and craziness.

      • VR says:

        “What could the US have to gain by demanding Israel oppress the Palestinians” – I don’t know Setanta, that depends what you mean by the “USA.” Why don’t you ask all of the military complex what it gets by sending those weapons, or what the USA gets by building a wall between Egypt and Gaza?

        When I say the USA I do not speak of all the people, I speak of the moneyed elite which represent the USA and the apparatus which serves this elite. So what does the USA get? It gets to please its moneyed elite as it always has done, while it fulfills its designs, they become synonymous.

        Let me tell you what this conflict is in terms of US interest, it is a large mirror that is supposed to reflect back what we are facing in this region. The signal that the oppression of the Palestinians gives is that the US will get its way no matter what, that it is the dominant. It is played back to the American public as a sample of all our “enemies” in this region, and how they will attack us just like they do the “poor Israelis,” the “only democracy in the ME.” The idea is that we can shift reality with our MSM which favors Israel, and that we never let out buddies down. So what is happening there is not simple, it is multifaceted, it serves many interests, and they all happen to want the same thing – hegemonic reign over the region and everything that comes with this condition.

        So sure, it serves the Israelis, and in turn by serving the Israelis they help themselves as Partners in crime. As Maher has correctly stated here, this bears a striking resemblance to all other US exploits, which protects and serves its partners in the overarching system of empire, imperialism at its best. The thing that makes the Israeli/Palestinian conflict so vehement is that it has a strong moneyed elite which is immersed in the US apparatus, there would not be this strict adherence in other instances because it does not have the same domestic roots. However that is the only difference, but it is significant, and it is no different than the US making the world safe for the Fortune 500 which have other elites in the domestic stronghold essentially (the only specific difference would be these other interests do not have a similarly entrenched lobby, and their lobbies do not represent the total and diverse wealth and potential that an entire region has).

        • bob says:

          Why don’t you ask all of the military complex what it gets by sending those weapons
          I think this is the third time i mention this. Industrious and persistent Pro-Israeli ideologues have “managed to weave a number of issues–support for national missile defense, opposition to arms control treaties, championing of wasteful weapons systems, arms aid to Turkey and American unilateralism in general–into a hard line, with support for the Israeli right at its core.”

          Even listing the military complex is not some sort of dichotomy to the Israeli lobby. This should be apparent to anyone who watched neoconservatives from the pentagon fight and win against Colin Powell for a Middle Eastern plan in the early portion of Bush’s term.

        • VR says:

          Oh yeah bob, I have lost count concerning how many times I have answered your dribble, you appear (which just seems to be on this hobby horse for you) only when this comes up. The fact of whether it is supported by an Israeli/neocon hardcore or not is irrelevant to what I have posted. No matter what hardcore is at the center this military machine marches on, there has been a major war that the US has participated in since its inception every 20 years – no matter how incorrect and wrong headed the current course happens to be. Either way there would have been a “Middle Eastern” plan, there was merely a fight over the methodology. You act as though you would have preferred Colin Powell, a nice choice between two evils bob – the bodies of the slain in Vietnam turn in their graves.

        • bob says:

          I have answered your dribble

          I approve of the new rules of this site that ban members for personal attacks.

        • VR says:

          Oh and just in case, because how I know this crew that wants to argue in the fashion has selective amnesia, the majors wars every few decades were not all that has occurred. All over the world clandestine wars (clandestine in the sense of the MSM, which just operates as the PR machine for US hegemony, and says ZERO about the activity) and unrest has been invoked by US policy (for this in some instances we do not even need troops on the ground). Why in Central and South America alone close to six million died in the years of “relative peace,” the same goes for the tortured African continent (and elsewhere). Just in case someone forgot.

        • VR says:

          “I approve of the new rules of this site that ban members for personal attacks.”

          Yes I know this is the only defense you have bob. I reserve this language for repeated encounters with the unusually thick headed…lol Lighten up Now, if someone wants to ban me for calling some of your posts “dribble,” Mr. Fungibility…lol

        • bob says:

          You start here not knowing of the pro-Israeli ideologues and the military complex. I point this out to you, and your response are personal attacks dribble drivel. I point out your personal attacks, and you respond with more, incluing a reference to old discussions you’ve had (fungibility) that you couldn’t deal with, while fungibility is mentioned in this article that you are defending.

          Since your responses here have taken solely an ad hominem bent, I figure its time to cut it off. Consider your next point made to yourself.

        • VR says:

          LOL…when I said dribble I meant it bob, as in drool or “to come or issue in piecemeal or desultory fashion.” As for “handling” your arguments and those of Mr. Blankfort’s (and I can dig deeper and post more past posts if necessary, if you choose) we can let others decide –

          JUDGE FOR YOURSELF

          In the meantime you can ring the alarm for the use of the word dribble, when referring to your arguments.

  19. Maher ,you know you are wrong.
    So many stuff havehappened over the years from early 1900 thatis is diffcult to keep track of the inside machinations of Israeli promoters.
    If American interest were so important to Americans why did they allow Israel to dump its products in US,to alow stealing of tradesecrets over the years,to allow 700 tons of enriched euraneum to be stolen from PA( by Israeli front organization NUMEC),why did State Department ask FBI not to look into the shipped conatiner under Israeli pressure, why did US despite oppostion from US trade community cave in to Israeli manipulations of keeping US tariff free to its products and keeping Isareli tariff barriers to US products,why did US allowed Israeli access to US pharmaceuticals despite counterfeiting and producing generic version against the opposition by US trade groups, why investiagtions into Israeli wrongdoings were squelched repeatedly under Israeli pressure,why Ben-Ami kadish is still not in prison like Pollhard,why the US public dont hear about Kadsih role in stealing military secrets from 1963 ? How did Martin Indyk gain the first track to naturalization under the recommnedation of Saban who boasted of loyalty to Israel and of achieving that goal by money/thinktank/media and then Martin went on advocating Israeli interest against that of US?How did Saban get away from boasing that he spent hours on phone with Sharon? ( Anyone can do that but that “anyone” dont get the ears of American administartion )

    If pressure on by Israeli firsters US is not prodcutive then how come Obama backtracked on settlement and ratcheted up pressure on Iran ? How come Israeli agents in the country keep on hyping threat from Iran ( to US ) when Hilary Clinton admits thats not the case ?
    How come Levy , Israeli FM in 1990 thretened US that Israel would attack Iraq if US failed to do so which along with other chorus from Israeli manged media resulted in US changing its attitude? How come Lantos a governemnt employee was not convicted for using Kuwati charlaton knowignly to advance war aginst Iraq?
    The list goes on.

    • Citizen says:

      Indeed it does, traintosiberia. The very first regional trade agreement the US made (can you say loss of US jobs) was with Israel; Israel stole all the US negotiation plans, and all of the US corporations’ trade secrets and patents too. Today, the US suffers to the tune of 70 billion dollars a year due to its trade imbalance with Israel. But, what the hey, there’s no job or trade problem in the USA today.

  20. Maher , US has lost billions and continues to lose from lack of access to Middle east markets.It cntinues to lose for AIPAC writes Libya -iran, Libya -Syria , Libya , Iran-Syria, Iran, Lebanon -Syria accountability acts for the Congress. Dubai Port World is a classic example how to drive Arab business from US and was doen openly by Israeli firsters and their agents in both rightwing and leftwing media.Isarel has ensured that trade free or restricted between uS and Arabs does take palce from a point that is controleed and vetted by Israel.
    Remeber the Jackson Vanik rule? How many Christian and muslim show up on US soil ? How many Palestininian did show up on US soil? Are not Palestinian being persecuted over religious /ethnic grounds?

    • Citizen says:

      True, traintosiberia, and further, Shrub’s on-going war in Iraq and the one being set up on Iran harm US oil interests. But hey, since when is oil a key commodity
      the US should be interested in?

    • VR says:

      “Maher , US has lost billions and continues to lose from lack of access to Middle east markets.”

      Correction traintosiberia, the US has lost nothing in the sense of its functional apparatus and the elite it serves, it is the American people who have lost billions of dollars. They will spend the money of the people at will of the few, the peoples money is no object when it comes to enriching the few (nor the peoples sons and daughters that die for elite design, they will gladly sacrifice the peoples progeny on the alter of their delusion). They will spend a dollar of the peoples money so the few can make a dime! So that is who has lost the money, get it straight.

  21. David Green says:

    link to electronicintifada.net
    link to zcommunications.org
    link to counterpunch.org

    In case anyone is interested in my experience struggling with Lobby propaganda in my community (both as an affiliated and unaffiliated Jew), you can check here. This, of course, has nothing to do with the theory that the Lobby controls USFP.

    I’m proud to have been banned from my local Hillel for too obstinately challenging WINEP’s David Makovsky.

    By the way, the local Lobby has gone into hiding. Most liberal Jews no longer support it, really. But of course (sarcasm) we have to worry that our local Republican Congressman, Tim Johnson, who already seriously opposes the war in Afghanistan, is controlled by the Lobby. Since he seems to have some sort of a moral compass, why don’t the people who care just tell him what they think, and why they will or won’t vote for him.

    Over at ISU, Anthony DiMaggio has written extensively on the canard about the Lobby’s money, and its use as influence in campaigns. It’s all a huge myth–just one imaginary stone in the ideological edifice built by M/W and Blankfort.

    If Blankfort has taken on the struggle at a local level, I applaud him. If what he does is indicated by his writing, I do not. The idea that the focus of the pro-Palestinian movement should be Noam Chomsky is, at the least, grounds for dismissal.

  22. David Green says:

    In case anyone is interested in my experience struggling with Lobby propaganda in my community (both as an affiliated and unaffiliated Jew), you can check my articles on EI, Counterpunch, & ZNet (perhaps easier to get to on Campus Watch). This, of course, has nothing to do with the theory that the Lobby controls USFP.

    I’m proud to have been banned from my local Hillel for too obstinately challenging WINEP’s David Makovsky.

    By the way, the local Lobby has gone into hiding. Most liberal Jews no longer support it, really. But of course (sarcasm) we have to worry that our local Republican Congressman, Tim Johnson, who already seriously opposes the war in Afghanistan, is controlled by the Lobby. Since he seems to have some sort of a moral compass, why don’t the people who care just tell him what they think, and why they will or won’t vote for him.

    Over at ISU, Anthony DiMaggio has written extensively on the canard about the Lobby’s money, and its use as influence in campaigns. It’s all a huge myth–just one imaginary stone in the ideological edifice built by M/W and Blankfort.

    If Blankfort has taken on the struggle at a local level, I applaud him. If what he does is indicated by his writing, I do not. The idea that the focus of the pro-Palestinian movement should be Noam Chomsky is, at the least, grounds for dismissal.

    • bob says:

      The idea that the focus of the pro-Palestinian movement should be Noam Chomsky is, at the least, grounds for dismissal.

      Dismissal from what exactly.

  23. DiMaggio, basically a decent guy, really didn’t know what he was talking about when it came to Jewish contribution and neither does David Green, and more importantly, I don’t think he wants to. In my article on Chomsky, cited with URL above, I wrote that in 2000, according to list of the top contributors to the 2000 election campaign compiled by Mother Jones from FEC contributions, and which the magazine ran under the headline, The MoJo 400, 7 of the top 10, 12 of the top 20, and at least 125 of the top 250 were Jews (at which point I stopped counting), 75% of whose money went to the Democrats and the balance to the Republicans.

    After I cited these figures in an article “The Israel Lobby and the Left:Uneasy Questions” link to leftcurve.org
    Mother Jones dropped the list from its website. The magazine had begun keeping such lists in 1996 but 2000 was it last. Wonder why?

    In 2002, Haim Saban, profiled in the current New Yorker, gave $12.3 million to the Democrats, $7 billion in one check with which the party built its new Washington headquarters. (That’s also the same amount he gave the Brookings Inst to set up the Saban Center and the same amount he used to spy Spanish language Univision. I forget how much he gave AIPAC to build its new building but it was considerable.

    None of this apparently is relevant to Chomsky, Zunes, Maher or Green who are still in denial about the suffocating role that Jewish money plays in “our” elections, even when faced with the facts. Zunes, who in 2008 received $89,500 from the Council of Foreign Relations’ Peter Ackerman’s International Center for Non-Violent Conflict (check that out!), still claims that the aerospace industry gives more money to members of Congress than do supporters of Israel despite being twice confronted with the 400 list and just the other day, Chomsky quoted Zunes as the authority on the subject. If we weren’t talking about people’s lives here, this would be a colossal joke.

    And I am not focusing on Chomsky, Mr. Green, but on the role of the Jewish Zionist establishment in shaping the policies that continue to oppress the Palestinians and I will take on anyone, you included who, by your and their actions, provide damage control for that establishment.

    For the last word on the subject, I will turn to the late professor Israel Shahak who was a friend of mine as he was of Chomsky’s and who, by Chomsky’s own admission, was the one who convinced him to begin writing and speaking about the Israel-Palestine conflict. This is from my article, Damage Control: Noam Chomsky etc., in which I quote a from a letter from Shahak to me in 1991 after I had written him about Chomsky’s dismissal of the notion that AIPAC or the lobby had anything to do with the first Gulf War:
    —————————————————
    Much of what Chomsky tells us is “not controversial,” invariably proves to be very much so and particularly when it comes to the relations between Israel and the White House. The late revered Israeli scholar and human rights activist, Professor Israel Shahak pointed out that Chomsky’s analysis suffers from his

    “undoubted tendency of demonizing the American presidency and the Executive in general, while ignoring the Legislature, but also from his very mistaken, in my opinion, tendency of assuming that not only the principles but literally everything concerning the American imperialism was laid in detail long ago, in 1944 or about that time, and from then on the policy is, so to say, a follow-up of instructions from a computer.

    “This ignores not only the human factor in the US itself but also the completely different nature of the foes and the victims of the US during the last decades. There can be no doubt, in my own opinion, that the actual policies of the US are complex even when they are evil, influenced, as in the case of all other states, by many factors of which AIPAC is one and human stupidity (for which he never allows) is another.”

    And finally, this very insightful paragraph:

    “But such simplistic theories, backed by his memory and ability to pick isolated examples (sometimes from a long time ago like his stock example of Eisenhower in the case of Israel while ignoring everything else from 1967 on) can appeal to [the] young who look for certainty and also for those who don’t want to [be] engaged in actual work and so find substitute for it in crude and useless display of emotion. ”
    —————————————————–
    Those last three lines speak volumes about Chomsky’s fans. Now, I assume Green will add the late Dr. Shahak to his list of targets.

  24. Stepehen Maher’s assertion “The overwhelming firepower provided to Israel, which is aggressively used against any who challenge the established order, has played a central role in maintaining US control of the region, ” has a wider application in understanding anti-semitism.

    B Nethannyaho , father of current Prime minister of Israel has accidentally hit the nail on the head in his mammoth book on inquistion ascribing the the reason of hatred and animosity of the ruled against the ruler( and the ruling class including against the Jews ) who used Jewish military and administartive skill in keeping the local subjugated.He found the association had come from Jewish longing to be accepted as equal to the ruling class and to the elite of the society.In addition of this symbiotic existence , there were innumberable developments when Jewish society had switched allegiance overnigt to the invading army betraying the mother country.
    In more recent times we have seen Israel moving from Europe to US after 1956 fiasco when European power failed to keep Suez and Israel failed to keep Sinai .That aggressive policy proved fruitful in 1967 during John administartion.Even before that during WW2 Jewsih elite understood that effective power had shifted to USA and had started hurting British interst .