Homegrown jihadis and the limits of the Israel lobby

Middle East
on 90 Comments

While ISIS continues to dominate public discourse as the newest raison d’être for the global War on Terror and the war in Syria drags on, Western governments have recently raised the specter of another threat: homegrown “jihadis” who abandon civilization to fight and train with radical groups, and then return determined to commit terrorist acts at home.

Despite the contention that these fears are an overblown pretext to justify racial profiling and mass surveillance, governments are clamoring to respond. The Danish have taken a soft approach with an “innovative rehabilitation program,” offering “treatment for shrapnel and gunshot wounds and psychological trauma to returning fighters and humanitarian volunteers as well as assisting them with finding work or resuming their education.”

On the other end of the spectrum, the UK has an open-secret policy of stripping citizenship from dual-nationals confirmed to be fighting in Syria. Recently, former shadow Home Secretary David Davis has called for extending this practice to citizens fighting for the Islamic State, even if they hold no other passport. Prime Minister David Cameron endorsed the plan on September 1st. Such a policy would defy international law by making fighters effectively stateless and trapped overseas, though neither Cameron nor Davis seem particularly concerned.

For its part, Australia is in the midst of passing legislation that would include:

  • Broadening the criteria for banning a terrorist organization to cover not only groups engaging in terrorist acts but also those that support and encourage it – including via social media.
  • Lowering the threshold for arrest without warrant for terrorism offences.
  • Making it easier for the government to suspend passports.
  • Removing any end date on search and seizure powers, first introduced in 2005 under an agreement between former prime minister John Howard and the states that was due to expire next year.

Double Standards

Throughout the debate on these policies’ efficacy, many observers have commented on what they see as unfair targeting of the Muslim community, and more importantly a double standard regarding how the West sees Muslims vs Jews. Hizb-at-Tahrir activist Uthman Badr asked on Australian television:

Why does it only apply to Muslims? Jews go abroad in large numbers annually, they train and fight with the IDF. We’ve seen what the IDF is capable of doing right now in Gaza, you know, killing little boys as they play on the beach, killing – killing – bombing people as they sleep in the room – hospitals. So on and so forth. So it’d be very easy to come up with a narrative of saying there’s a massive threat from Jews returning to Australia, but would that be real?

Journalist Corinne Purtill makes a similar argument regarding the UK’s objection to British fighters in Syria and Iraq:

Syria is not the only overseas battleground where Brits have voluntarily taken up arms. Nor is the phenomenon of Brits joining conflicts abroad new. In the 1930s, thousands of Brits went to Spain to volunteer with the leftist republicans fighting General Francisco Franco’s fascists.

More recently, Brits have joined fights in Israel, Lebanon and Iraq.

The dozens of British citizens currently fighting with the Israel Defense Forces have not encountered legal obstacles to their service. Neither did Brits who traveled to Libya in 2011 to join the rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi.

The Israeli army does indeed possess at least 4,600 foreign fighters, known as “Lone Soldiers.” More than 1,500 are American, while there are at least 100 Brits and a similar number of Australians. The IDF boasts of conscripts from over 40 countries.

Yet while Purtill is certainly right to point out the inconsistencies within governments’ prohibition on serving in a foreign military, a larger point looms. There is an undeniable difference between Muslim and Jewish fighters returning home– namely, one fits into the global discourse on terrorism, and one does not.

Consequently, this fact undermines the thesis of an all-powerful Israel Lobby as it exposes the deeper connections fueling the West-Israel love affair.

The Israel Lobby and Imperialism

As the argument commonly goes, Western governments and especially the US ally with Israel not out of national interest but because of the concerted influence of the Israel Lobby, a term meant to identify countless organizations, committees, and pressure groups of various religious and political persuasions coordinating to push foreign policy in Israel’s favor. Following this logic, the marginalization of Zionist forces within the government would produce fairer foreign policy outcomes. The reality, of course, is more complicated.

As Walt and Mearsheimer point out in their seminal work The Israel Lobby, these groups undoubtedly exist and affect national discourse. What they fail to understand, however, is the coalition of interests that results in support for Israel, and how groups like AIPAC and its regional equivalents are only a small, though significant, part of it.

Energy companies, arms manufacturers, investment banks, intelligence services, et cetera (in other words, the military-industrial complex in all its racist and imperialist grandeur) are in a much more powerful position than pro-Israel groups to determine policy decisions. Noam Chomsky explains, their “lobbying influence and campaign contributions far surpass that of the much-vaunted Zionist lobby and its allied donors to congressional races.” In most cases support for Israel fits into already established discourses, or works with them symbiotically, rather than driving them forward alone. This is why support for Israel by countries which typify the military-industrial complex, and have their own racist discourses or histories, is so uniform even in the absence of the Lobby, or where its prevalence is not as dramatic as in the US. Beyond monetary interests, examples include India, with its Hindu nationalist Islamophobia, France and the UK with their histories of imperialism and violent relationship with Islam, and the US and Australia with their settler-colonial pasts.

Essentially, countries produce pro-Israel foreign policy when Zionism fits well with pre-existing discourses, and when considerations such as regional power, world reputation, and preserving the flow of resources and capital conflate in support of Israel. When those considerations vacillate, we see crises in the Special Relationship.

The Foreign Fighter Connection

So why do these Western governments condone service in the IDF but not ISIS? Why aren’t they worried about Jewish radicalization? And what does any of this have to do with the Israel Lobby?

Bluntly put, Jewish recruits returning to their countries of origin would not participate in the kind of terrorism their governments find particularly objectionable, if any at all. That is, if they ever were to engage in terrorism, it would not be targeted at institutions of power. How come? Because, as much as some would like to pretend otherwise, America and other countries with racist/colonial legacies do share values with Israel –none of them positive.

Militant political Islam deplores the West for its moral decay, undoubtedly, but more so for its foreign policy and maligning of its Muslim citizens at home. Zionism does not face these problems. Jews are not politically targeted, foreign policy strongly tilts toward Israel, and Israel’s calculation of “Liberalism for us, oppression for our enemies” mirrors Western attitudes.  Thus the only targets left for radicalized IDF soldiers would be those who oppose Zionism, the undesirables already suppressed by the state.

Simply put, it isn’t the Lobby strong-arming governments to produce bill after bill to deal with foreign fighters. In its absence this legislation would still exist, because it is a reflection of established Western ideas and goals. The Lobby is not as powerful as some would like to believe. There are larger forces at work.

Maggie Sager is a student at the University of California Berkeley currently living in Amman, Jordan. You can follow her on twitter @MaggieSager

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90 Responses

  1. just
    September 21, 2014, 11:17 am

    Superb analysis. Frightening.

    Thanks Maggie.

    • Krauss
      September 21, 2014, 12:14 pm

      Some of it, actually most of it, was good. Other stuff was weak, like this:

      Consequently, this fact undermines the thesis of an all-powerful Israel Lobby

      Nobody has advanced the Israel Lobby as “all-powerful”. That’s a canard that’s typically employed by Israel lobbyists or hasbara activists.

      Further:

      In the 1930s, thousands of Brits went to Spain to volunteer with the leftist republicans fighting General Francisco Franco’s fascists.

      This isn’t the author’s argument but she quoted it approvingly. Fightning for ISIS is not the same as fightning for leftist secular forces against Franco. That’s a blindingly dumb comparison.

      • Keith
        September 21, 2014, 3:01 pm

        KRAUSS- “Nobody has advanced the Israel Lobby as “all-powerful”.

        Apparently you don’t pay much attention to the Mondo comments section where the Lobby is portrayed as effectively owning Congress, individual members in dread of AIPAC, always willing to vote pro-Israel? How about this quote from Giles comment below (9/21 @ 11:41 am), “The policies are driven by the “Lobby”. Not by the military industrial complex or anyone else.” Sounds reasonably close to “all powerful” to me. Please note that immediately following her “all powerful” comment, she defines what she means by this:

        “As the argument commonly goes, Western governments and especially the US ally with Israel not out of national interest but because of the concerted influence of the Israel Lobby, a term meant to identify countless organizations, committees, and pressure groups of various religious and political persuasions coordinating to push foreign policy in Israel’s favor.”

        Is this not an accurate description of the Walt and Mearsheimer thesis, and of the official opinion of Mondoweiss and of much of the Mondo comment section?

      • MHughes976
        September 21, 2014, 3:36 pm

        The Spanish Republic and the Islamic State are very different things. However, it may be that the returnees from Spain were regarded by UK police and intelligence services as a possible nucleus of a Stalinist revolutionary army in the UK, rather as IS returnees are regarded as potential terrorists. However, popular fears were directed against Hitler rather than Stalin and the divisions found in Spain between Stalinists, Trotskyites and liberals soon became rather obvious, making the likelihood that the Spain returnees could act as a coherent force much less. Here we can see a fairly obvious basis for some difference in treatment of these two groups of returnees, so the difference does not of itself reveal anything about the British state that ‘we don’t already know’.

      • maggiesager
        September 22, 2014, 1:37 am

        For MHughes and Krauss,

        I chose that source specifically because I think there is a HUGE difference between ISIS and fighting against Franco. The point is Western governments have no problem with their citizens fighting in foreign countries, nor do they have a problem with them fighting in “insurgent” or “rebel” movements. In fact, they also don’t have a problem with them fighting under the rubric (however distorted) of Islam -take Libya and Afghanistan as examples.

        BUT they are very up in arms, and very upset, about ISIS. So what gives? My point was, as MHughes says below, that there is ideological tension between ISIS and these governments. And that ideological tension is evidence of larger workings than the machinations of the Israel Lobby completely controlling US foreign policy, in contrast with what a lot of MW readers think.

  2. Palikari
    September 21, 2014, 11:29 am

    So…. Are you comparing Western citizens in the IDF, the army of a democratic country -ally of the West- that fights terror with a jihadist terrorist group that vows to destroy the West and is beheading Westerners, among other crimes against humanity.

    Gimme a break!

    • amigo
      September 21, 2014, 12:07 pm

      “Gimme a break!” palikari

      Take as long as you want .

      While you are on your break , study Jewish terrorism going back to Irgun/stern and lehi.

      And look up the meaning of terrorism!!.

      ” 1. systematic use of violence and intimidation to achieve some goal.

      2. the act of terrorizing.

      3. the state of being terrorised.

      Fits Israel perfectly so those 4700 foreigners fighting with Israel are Terrorists.

    • Donald
      September 21, 2014, 12:58 pm

      That’s typical tribalist reasoning, Palikari–you think that Israel can’t be guilty of massive crimes because of who they are and who their victims are. So because they are “Western” and “democratic”, this automatically bestows some sort of moral immunity on them, though what it means is that the majority of the Israeli voting population has democratically installed a government that commits war crimes.

      A lot of Americans have this same misconception about our own war crimes–somehow the fact that a country has elections is supposed to wash away its sins. It’s hard to understand how anyone could believe this, but there you are, believing it about Israel.

    • justicewillprevail
      September 21, 2014, 2:40 pm

      Israel isn’t an ‘ally of the West’ and it isn’t democratic.

    • seafoid
      September 21, 2014, 4:23 pm

      Is beheading a few westerners as bad as murdering 500 children? I’m not sure.

      • just
        September 21, 2014, 5:32 pm

        A lot of those 500 murdered children were blasted to smithereens– some people were beheaded.

        “It was as the children played and the old men watched that the weapon fell from the sky and exploded in their midst.

        In an instant, the eight youngsters and the two men were eviscerated. Even by the standards of the 21-day trial of strength between Israel and Hamas, their deaths stood out. In the moments that followed, hundreds of angry and grief-stricken people gathered on the scene in Beach refugee camp, one of Gaza’s most crowded and impoverished areas.

        Where the old men had been sitting, there were only scorched and blackened sandals and a spreading pool of blood. Where the children had been playing, there were more bloodstains and their own small items of footwear.

        In among the human residue lay a black bucket, perforated by shrapnel, and an old broom, its bristles still smouldering. Nearby, a parked car had been wrecked, with every window shattered and its bodywork riddled by shrapnel.

        Much the same had happened to the buildings closest to where the children and the old men had died: these apartment blocks displayed gaping windows and pockmarked walls.

        “We ordered the children to play here, in front of our eyes, so they would avoid the bombing,” said Nidal Al-Darby, who lives nearby. “And then this happened to them.”

        Until a few minutes before the explosion, Mr Darby had been in the street himself. Then he went to join the afternoon “Asr” prayer at the nearby mosque. But for this, he too would have been killed.

        As it turned out, his shirt and trousers were stained with the blood of the casualties he had tried to help.

        “The children were just cut to pieces,” he said simply. “So were the old men. When I came here, one of them had lost his head.”

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/palestinianauthority/10996683/Death-falls-from-the-sky-for-eight-children-at-Gaza-camp.html

      • seafoid
        September 21, 2014, 5:54 pm

        And post Protective Slaughter we are supposed to believe that Israel is on our side? Why ?

      • just
        September 21, 2014, 6:20 pm

        Probably the most important question of all, seafoid.

        All in Congress have access to the same information, and yet they still ‘stand with Israel’ unconditionally, and engage in and promote the lies that Israel is acting in self defense, etc.

      • RoHa
        September 21, 2014, 6:58 pm

        Mike Rivero’s “what really happened” site has a photo of a child who has had the back of his head,and his brain, blown away.

        http://whatreallyhappened.com

        I try to skip past it without looking. I also try not to remember a picture from Lebanon, which showed a man holding up the headless body of a baby.

    • john_manyjars
      September 22, 2014, 12:22 am

      “…army of a democratic country”

      Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

    • maggiesager
      September 22, 2014, 1:39 am

      Palikari,

      Indeed I am the IDF to ISIS. And personally, I think they are equivalent if not worse. It’s just one has the power, and one doesn’t.

    • eljay
      September 22, 2014, 8:37 am

      >> Palikareee: … Are you comparing Western citizens in the IDF … with a jihadist terrorist group that vows to destroy the West and is beheading Westerners, among other crimes against humanity.

      Israel is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state. It has been stealing, occupying and colonizing Palestinian land and oppressing, torturing and killing Palestinians for over 60 years. Western citizens who help Israel’s terror forces…
      – uphold Jewish supremacism inside and outside of Partition-borders Israel;
      – uphold Israel’s occupation and colonization of Palestine; and
      – commit (war) crimes against Palestinians,
      …have an agenda that is different from – but not morally superior to – that of a jihadist terror group.

    • oldgeezer
      September 22, 2014, 6:46 pm

      I’ve ooften wondered about the mentality of an individual who sees a beheading as a barbaric act yet, at the same time, considers a 1 ton bomb which vaporizes not only the intended target but a multitude of innocents as somehow moral and just. I agree the bomb is quicker in delivering death but it’s a lot more indiscriminate. It also frequently creates innocent victims with missing limbs who have to suffer a lifetime of pain, restrictions and suffering.

      Israel’s list of war crimes is vast. The idf brutally perpetrates those war crimes and enforces the results on a civilian population for the benefit of others who would not normally be so entitled.

      IS is a filthy terrorist group in my opinion but the idf has no moral leg up on them. I do, in fact, see them as a terrorist group.

    • bilal a
      September 23, 2014, 6:19 am

      There are foreign fighters , not just in the IDF, but embedded in the Pentagon and the mass market media , tied to ISIS -Syria invasion agenda are manifest. I am nost sure of these (Israeli?) experts on Islam / Arab culture, eg.

      ——-
      Barak Barfi, Sotloff’s close friend and the official spokesman for the Sotloff family following Steven’s brutal murder this month at the hands of ISIS, told The Daily Beast in an interview that the group responsible for Sotloff’s detention and indirectly for his death is not only a part of the Free Syrian Army, but the same exact brigade that met with Sen. John McCain at that same border crossing only three months before.
      http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/09/22/obama-administration-and-sotloff-family-battle-over-blame-for-journalist-s-kidnapping.html?via=desktop&source=twitter

      The Jewish Federation of Northeastern New York has announced a joint affinity society program on Sunday, Sept. 21, 7:15 p.m., at Agudat Achim Synagogue, 2117 Union St., Schenectady. Guest speaker, Barak Barfi, the New America Foundation Research Fellow specializing in Arab and Islamist affairs, will present on “Understanding the Arab Mindset and Strategies.”
      http://jewishworldnews.org/barak-barfi-talk-to-launch-federations-affinity-societies-season/

      Imagine “The Jewish Mindset and Strategies “, a talk by Hipster Hitler (Save the Panzers)

      http://www.jewlicious.com/2010/10/hipster-hitler/

  3. Giles
    September 21, 2014, 11:41 am

    Nonsense. The policies are driven by the “Lobby”. Not by the military industrial complex or anyone else. This is more Chomsky nonsense where some vague, unidentified, American non Jewish elite is running things. The problem is, they don’t exist. You think American business wants to be banned from doing business with Iran, Russia?

    As far as Israel being an ally or a democracy. I think we all know what a lie that is. There is no bigger terrorist in the Middle East than the IDF and the American troops pursuing A Clean Break agenda for the Israel Firsters.

    • Donald
      September 21, 2014, 12:35 pm

      I think the truth lies somewhere in-between people who downplay the Israel Lobby and the Mondoweiss party line (in the comments at least) that the Lobby dominates US policy in the Mideast. There’s a Saudi lobby too–

      matt-stoller-solution-isis-first-amendment

      If you click on the link, the first part is Yves Smith commenting and the rest is Matt Stoller. Stoller himself doesn’t contrast the Israel Lobby with the Saudi Lobby, but Yves does. And I think this is a rather obvious point–a country with a vast amount of oil and a vast amount of wealth rather obviously has influence on US policy.

      The funny thing is that unlike Israel almost nobody in public actually defends Saudi Arabia, yet they still get away with murder.

      • Donald
        September 21, 2014, 12:36 pm

        Damn the lack of editing. I’d change that last sentence to “almost nobody idolizes Saudi Arabia or talks about what a wonderful human rights record it has–in fact, there’s quite a lot of criticism of this, yet they still get away with murder.”

      • Annie Robbins
        September 21, 2014, 1:11 pm

        And I think this is a rather obvious point–a country with a vast amount of oil and a vast amount of wealth rather obviously has influence on US policy.

        donald, i don’t think yves (who is that anyway?) makes an argument for a ‘saudi lobby’, in fact he says Our most important geopolitical interest has been and continues to be oil. US corporations simply could not function if they did not have access to cheap oil. and “there is no prenup in place”. i think what’s clear is that the US and SA have the same interests which is why the US doesn’t sanction SA for funding the isis, which would clearly be the fastest way to shut them down. the US supports SA, a dictatorship because it suits their interests. just like it supported the opposition in syria because it suits their interests because the goal is not democracy, it’s regime change. these interests dovetail with israel’s (other colonialist) onterests. but SA doesn’t need to lobby DC because unlike Israel, DC wants and needs what SA has to offer. there’s simply no comparison with what israel offers the US (slim to none, which is why they need a lobby).

        i’d like to address this assumption maggie made:

        Bluntly put, Jewish recruits returning to their countries of origin would not participate in the kind of terrorism their governments find particularly objectionable, if any at all.

        i wondering if she has any data supporting this. is there some evidence of arab or muslim terror attacks in this country, cumulatively, over and above other kinds of ethnically related terror attacks? and anyone who thinks there have not been jewish terror attacks inside the US is sorely mistaken which is why the JDL is illegal here. and with israel penchants for false flag attacks throughout their history used to manipulate governments i find this allegation stunning.

        our government is aware israel spies on the US more than any other country. one reason the visa issue has not been smooth sailing is the threat posed by israelis entering this country and spy infiltration. so i don’t agree with this assessment. i think what’s clear is the pressure from pro israel activists (along with the lobby) to demonize arab and muslim americans. using fear to support US interests in the ME, the break up of the ME.

        Jewish[edit]
        1970: Jewish Defense League linked with a bomb explosion outside of Aeroflot’s New York City office in protest of treatment of Soviet Jews
        1971: Jewish Defense League linked to a detonation outside of Soviet cultural offices in Washington, D.C. and rifle fire into the Soviet mission to the United Nations
        1/26/1981 Jewish Defense League San Francisco, CA Bombing
        6/25/1981 Jewish Defenders Torrance, CA Incendiary Bombing (FBI.gov)
        8/31/1981 Jewish Defense League New York City, NY Hostile Takeover (FBI.gov)
        9/3-4/81 Jewish Defense League New York City, NY Multiple Bombings (2) (FBI.gov)
        10/25/1981 Jewish Defense League New York City, NY Incendiary Bombing (FBI.gov)
        12/24/1981 Jewish Defense League New York City, NY Attempted Pipe (FBI.gov)
        2/19/1982 Jewish Defense League Washington, DC Bombing (FBI.gov)
        4/5/1982 Jewish Defense League Brooklyn, NY Arson (FBI.gov)
        4/28/1982 Jewish Defense League New York City, NY Multiple Bombings (2) (FBI.gov)
        7/5/1982 Jewish Defense League New York City, NY Multiple Pipe Bombing (2) (FBI.gov)
        2/19/1983 Jewish Defense League Washington, DC Pipe Bombing (FBI.gov)
        2/23/1984 Jewish Direct Action New York City, NY Bombing (FBI.gov)
        5/15/1985 Jewish Defense League Northridge, CA Pipe Bombing (FBI.gov)
        8/15/1985 Jewish Defense League Paterson, NJ Bombing (FBI.gov)
        9/6/1985 Jewish Defense League Brentwood, NY Bombing (FBI.gov)
        10/11/1985 Jewish Defense League Santa Ana, CA Bombing (FBI.gov)
        9/2/1986 Jewish Defense League New York City, NY Tear Gas Bombing (FBI.gov)
        10/20/1986 Jewish Defense League New York City, NY Incendiary Bombing (FBI.gov)
        http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/terrorism-2002-2005/terror02_05#terror_05if

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrorism_in_the_United_States#Islamic_extremism

        meanwhile, islamic terrorism has it’s own page, and includes people like terry lee loewen, who curiously no mosques or imans had never even heard of. he tries to ” drive what he thought was a van loaded with explosives” into the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport in Kansas in December 2013 http://cjonline.com/news/2014-03-16/wichita-defendant-becomes-face-anti-terror-bill

        by these standards the guy in death row suing the US gov because he can’t eat kosher food in prison should be considered jewish because he claimed to have converted. i mean please.

        “What he didn’t know until his arrest is that the people he had been conspiring with were undercover FBI agents, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom announced Friday.”
        http://www.kansas.com/news/article1129736.html#storylink=cpy

        yet another case of entrapment by the fbi like that case in oakland. but where’s the evidence this person would have ever thought of blowing up an airport without this ‘help’ from the fbi who literally bought all the supplies for the “bomb” and walked him thru making it. this is hardly a description of islamic terror.

        https://www.google.com/search?q=Terry+Loewen&oq=Terry+Loewen&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60.698j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=91&ie=UTF-8

      • just
        September 21, 2014, 1:23 pm

        Important question.

        It is stunning — thanks for bringing it up Annie.

      • Donald
        September 21, 2014, 3:42 pm

        “onald, i don’t think yves (who is that anyway?) makes an argument for a ‘saudi lobby’, in fact he says Our most important geopolitical interest has been and continues to be oil. US corporations simply could not function if they did not have access to cheap oil. and “there is no prenup in place”. i think what’s clear is that the US and SA have the same interests which is why the US doesn’t sanction SA for funding the isis, which would clearly be the fastest way to shut them down. the US supports SA, a dictatorship because it suits their interests. ”

        Minor point first. Yves Smith is a woman who runs the “Naked Capitalism” blog–I read it from time to time. Very interesting on economic issues.

        I agree with what you say in the portion I just quoted (other than Yves’s gender) and maybe “Saudi Lobby” isn’t the right way to put it. But what you say goes along with Chomsky’s view of the world–the US often supports thugs and dictators because of economic interests, and not the economic interests of ordinary people, but the economic interests of the powerful.

        Israel is a more complicated case, because of the Israel Lobby. In that case I think Chomsky is partly right, partly wrong.

      • just
        September 21, 2014, 3:51 pm

        Ever more impressiv & important post, Annie.

        Thanks.

      • MHughes976
        September 21, 2014, 3:56 pm

        The power of Saudi influence is indeed fairly obvious: the Smith/Stoller arguments seem to me, for all my respect for Donald, to be rather more labyrinthine than is necessary.
        I don’t think that either the existence of this power or its connection with money leads us to think that Israeli influence is, for its part, less than we might have supposed. We would think that only if Saudi influence was in opposition to Israel’s, whereas in truth they are close allied.
        The fact that the Saudis have influence and dispose of a lot of money merely illustrates the power of money and logically should increase, not reduce, our readiness to believe that the money spent by the Israeli lobby, which (however it compares with the spending of others) is agreed to be quite a lot, is spent effectively. As far as it goes Saudi power illustrates Israeli power rather than overshadows it.

      • Donald
        September 21, 2014, 4:22 pm

        “I don’t think that either the existence of this power or its connection with money leads us to think that Israeli influence is, for its part, less than we might have supposed.”

        Too vague. I can’t tell what you think you are refuting. I get the impression that some people think that the Israel Lobby controls almost all aspects of our policy in the Middle East.
        I think the Israel Lobby has a stranglehold on our policy towards Israel. It has tremendous influence on our Middle East policy. But the Saudis are responsible for funding the Sunni terrorist groups. Everyone knows that Saudi Arabia is a dictatorship with links to our enemies and nobody praises them the way Israel is praised, yet in practice they seem as untouchable as Israel.

      • marc b.
        September 21, 2014, 7:34 pm

        You can’t compartmentalize ‘policy on Israel’ from ‘ME policy’. That’s simplistic. And there is no equivalence between Saudi influence and Israeli influence on US politics. Saudi maneuvering is conducted under the radar because support is weak. Exposed to the light it would spontaneously burst into flames. Prince so-and-so doesn’t receive unqualified public support from 99 of 100 congressmen, and he doesn’t dictate what weapons systems can and can’t be sold to Israel.

      • maggiesager
        September 22, 2014, 1:12 am

        I’m not sure why I can’t reply directly to Annie, but this one is for her:

        Yes Annie I am very much aware of/disgusted by the JDL. I didn’t say categorically that Jews wouldn’t commit terrorism. I said they generally do not (same goes for Muslims) but when they do it is against targets that are already maligned by the government. When researching the ADL I came across this article:

        http://www.wrmea.org/1999-july-august/jewish-defense-league-unleashes-campaign-of-violence-in-america.html

        It explains the targets the ADL usually chooses, the overwhelming majority of which have to do with 1) The Soviet Union 2) Neo-Nazis 3) Arabs and Muslims. I’m not saying the US government turns the other way because it thinks these targets are “undesireables,” but I think they care much less because, as someone else said in the comments below, IDF soldiers and the US share an ideological link.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 22, 2014, 5:34 am

        IDF soldiers and the US share an ideological link.

        hmm. i don’t agree with that. i also thought the statement “Jewish recruits returning to their countries of origin would not participate in the kind of terrorism their governments find particularly objectionable, if any at all ” implies certain kinds of domestic terrorism our gov doesn’t find objectional, which is a strange concept.

      • ritzl
        September 22, 2014, 3:35 pm

        @marc b.- Agree. And to take it a little further (or maybe just differently) the fact that the Israel Lobby can exert enough political pressure in the US to make our political/FP/biz machine override its own basic affinity for dictator/despot-based ME stability-for-business-purposes shows that the Israel Lobby trumps any other power base in DC in general, but especially on MENA and/or war and peace issues.

        It’s self-evident.

        All this chaos over there is diametrical to almost all US business interests, and even the one to benefit, MIC, is small (tens of $Bs? annually) compared to the total missed opportunity (hundreds of $Bs?). As just one example, Boeing alone could sell tens of $Bs of new civilian aircraft to Iran tomorrow vs. maybe a couple of $Bs of AWACS or tankers to Israel or KSA. In any event MIC sales would be a net zero because our “allies” would buy/be gifted those anyway, so the huge opportunity cost is the large net civilian business benefit from stability in the region. And even then if Iran moves into our “orbit” the MIC sales would go up there as well.

        I shorthanded this so I hope it makes sense. The power of the Israel Lobby imbalances this opportunity-seeking business dynamic and generates a huge yearly missed-opportunity cost, compounded by the decades this imbalance has been going on. The degree of the cost is directly proportional to the power wielded to create it, imho.

      • maggiesager
        September 23, 2014, 5:10 am

        @Annie

        I do think there are certain kinds of domestic terrorism the US finds less objectionable and am actually surprised you don’t agree. I have not seen the kinds of policies directed at curbing “islamic terrorism,” “homegrown jihadis” or whatever ridiculous term is currently in fashion aimed at white supremacists or Jews. As you and I pointed out, the JDL has committed numerous acts of terrorism over the years, and yet I do not know of large swaths of the Jewish community being targeted for mass surveillance, wire tapping, entrapment, etc. Beyond the tea party getting some flack fro the IRS, I don’t see much going on here. I think that says a lot, don’t you?

        Historically, the social/political position of Jews has definitely improved in great part due to the workings of the Lobby’s actors, for sure. But I don’t think they accomplished that single-handedly. And I don’t think we can chalk up the mass hysteria regarding Islamophobia as the sole working of the Lobby, though we have all gone to great lengths to document their relationship. I just don’t think it’s completely causal.

      • maggiesager
        September 23, 2014, 5:22 am

        @ritzl

        I don’t think the US’ refusal to cozy up to Iran post-revolution is just about Israel, though you’re 100% right about the costs to weapons manufacturers. Y

        ou don’t think our relationship to Saudi, Iran’s anti-US stance (regarding more than its support for Israel) and openness to doing business with other global powers, its position against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, its relationship with Syria (who I think we care about for Israel, but also for other considerations) have an impact on what the US does?

        At the same time, Israel’s hysterics are being tempered by Iran’s regional influence and ability to deal with ISIS -I’ve seen a lot of articles in the past few days about an impending alliance. Now that has the Lobby and a long history of islamophobia to go up against, for sure, but in my opinion that speaks to two things: 1) a crisis for the lobby 2) an indication the US has other interests at heart that will indeed prevail if the administration wants them to.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 23, 2014, 2:01 pm

        maggie, perhaps i erred in explaining myself when i reacted to your comment ” “Bluntly put, Jewish recruits returning to their countries of origin would not participate in the kind of terrorism their governments find particularly objectionable, if any at all ” implies certain kinds of domestic terrorism our gov doesn’t find objectionable, which is a strange concept. ”

        to reiterate, i guess you’re right in the sense what jonathan pollard did wasn’t really domestic terrorism per se, although, arguably, it damaged our countries national security more than all acts of domestic terrorism combined since the beginning of the century, including 9/11.

        while it largely goes unspoken i think it’s fair to assume a percentage (how many i do not know) of “Jewish recruits returning to their countries of origin” are of concern to the dept of homeland security:

        http://www.newsweek.com/israel-wont-stop-spying-us-249757

        According to classified briefings on legislation that would lower visa restrictions on Israeli citizens, Jerusalem’s efforts to steal U.S. secrets under the cover of trade missions and joint defense technology contracts have “crossed red lines.”

        Israel’s espionage activities in America are unrivaled and unseemly, counterspies have told members of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees, going far beyond activities by other close allies, such as Germany, France, the U.K. and Japan. A congressional staffer familiar with a briefing last January called the testimony “very sobering…alarming…even terrifying.” Another staffer called it “damaging.”

        The Jewish state’s primary target: America’s industrial and technical secrets.

        “No other country close to the United States continues to cross the line on espionage like the Israelis do,” said a former congressional staffer who attended another classified briefing in late 2013, one of several in recent months given by officials from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the State Department, the FBI and the National Counterintelligence Directorate.

        The intelligence agencies didn’t go into specifics, the former aide said, but cited “industrial espionage—folks coming over here on trade missions or with Israeli companies working in collaboration with American companies, [or] intelligence operatives being run directly by the government, which I assume meant out of the [Israeli] Embassy.”

        i do not believe “IDF soldiers and the US share an ideological link”, at all.

        i make a distinction between what the media tells us vs the concerns of the gov.

        the media continually trumps up the islamophobic fear, sometimes at the behest of the gov, but often times not. whereas it’s rare when stories like newsweek make it into the msm, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a priority for the government.

        some people do not think it’s a coincidence that the last time a US attorney general who tried to get the israel lobby to register under the foreign agents registrations act he ended up dead.

        and while i agree with you there are other factors at play within the military-industrial complex that favor israel, to say “one fits into the global discourse on terrorism, and one does not” doesn’t take into account israel is well known for their false flag operations in neighboring countries as well as mossad operations carried out on foreign soil (recently in dubai w/foreign passports). to state a “jewish fighter” do not fit into “the global discourse on terrorism” assumes that “global discourse” is strictly a one-sided neocon conversation within our government (or the world), and it isn’t.

        i also think your analysis doesn’t take into consideration what considerable pressure or persuasion comes to bear on members of that military-industrial complex to act in favor of israel’s interests. the way you tell it these interests mainly coincide, but that analysis i think is short sighted primarily because if it were true there would be very little need for a lobby to begin with, certainly little need for such a strong lobby. this analysis doesn’t discount the fact or idea there are US interests that align with israel’s. but i don’t think those interests are realistically represented in the support israel gets from our gov (example, often 100% in congress), at all.

        americans are treated to a heavy dose of propaganda that didn’t exist when i was growing up, and almost constant meme of “israel sharing our values”, we’re not constantly hearing this about the UK which has been a stalwart ally of the US for as long as i can recall. so why the hammering on the meme about israel? that is by design. it doesn’t mean it’s true, it means we’re being played. so it is distressing for me to read all this stuff about how we’re naturally aligned. it’s too over the top and i don’t believe it. especially considering even petraus stated our alliance w/israel hurt our standing in the ME and put our troops in danger. of course the msm came down hard. sure, we have natural affiliations w/israel, but they don’t warrant the level of our strong support or alignment.

    • Keith
      September 21, 2014, 2:33 pm

      GILES- “This is more Chomsky nonsense where some vague, unidentified, American non Jewish elite is running things.”

      Apparently you are unaware of the existence of the Business Roundtable, The Council on Foreign Relations, the IMF, the World Bank, NATO, the Military Industrial Complex, Wall Street and all of the various “trade” agreements? The empire is huge, requiring literally millions of people to administer it. The Israel Lobby, taking full advantage of a pro-Israeli network, exerts considerable influence on imperial Middle East policy, however, in no case does it effectively determine imperial geo-strategy, which encompasses the whole of imperial policy. I am unaware of anyone (certainly not Chomsky) saying that Jews were excluded from imperial decision making, that policy was determined by non-Jewish elites. This is a straw man argument typical of the anti-Chomsky brigade where you denigrate some ludicrous position which you falsely attribute to Chomsky. I am reasonably certain that you will make the same ludicrous claim in the future. Why let mere facts interfere with your group mythology?

      Giles: “You think American business wants to be banned from doing business with Iran, Russia?”

      So you are a geo-strategist speaking for the global 1%? Following World War II, the US has engaged in a non-stop war against the entire Third World in order to secure raw materials and markets, and to secure US leadership within the global capitalist system. You could quite literally take your comment and substitute any of these countries for Iran and Russia to “prove” that American business opposed US foreign policy, a ludicrous position in our capitalist society. Overall, US business (particularly Wall Street) has profited enormously from US imperialism. Currently, the US is on a rampage to eliminate potential obstacles for US global hegemony, Iran, Russia, Syria, and China. Iraq and Libya have already been destroyed and will be left to suffer. We have entered a transition period where the US is determined to implement a form of global neo-feudalism prior to a restructuring of the global political economy. There are a lot of factors involved, much too big a project for Israel to undertake, although American Jews (including Jewish Zionists) are more than amply represented in the decision making process.

      • just
        September 21, 2014, 7:34 pm

        +*+1!

      • maggiesager
        September 22, 2014, 1:40 am

        exactly.

      • piotr
        September 22, 2014, 10:31 pm

        I would not let Chomsky off the hook. His arguments are from “vulgar Marxist” perspective, namely, that the policies are determined by the interests of the elite, with allowances given to the existence of sub-elites.

        This fails to account for a part of what is going on. First, the elite does not pursue its interests, but what it perceives as its interests. As various institutions are created to influence public perception, think tanks, corporate media, academic establishment etc. they also alter the perception of the elite. And the heavily networking Zionist Jews are definitely present in force in think tanks and so on. In part they do it as good troopers of the empire, but they heavily tilt the discourse in favor of Israel.

        For example, Saudis, for all their financial power and lucrative contracts, primarily to weapon producers, are regularly disparaged, and each time they make a request it is heavily debated, even if it is as simple as being allowed to waste a gazillion dollars on weaponry that they were never observed to be using. This contrasts with the easy Israel gets what it wants.

        Or take those rampages of USA, to “eliminate potential obstacles for US global hegemony, Iran, Russia, Syria, and China.” China is clearly merely rounding the list, we did nothing to undermine China, modest steps to embolden countries that China could intimidate, like Philippines, do not count as “trying to eliminate China”. But why is Syria on the list, and not, say, Venezuela? More precisely, there were feeble and inconsistent attempts to eliminate Venezuelan government, and enormously destructive and “almost consistent” attempt to eliminate Syrian government. When the American establishment tosses a coin, it falls in accord with Israeli obsessions.

        Show me a journalist, academician, think tanker, politician etc. hounded from his/her position for disparaging Saudis and I will kiss Chomsky’s feet. But the fact is that “being an empire” has to be flaunted, and it is flaunted exactly by irrationality: we are not some lesser power that is reducing to CALCULATING is something is in our interest or not. And no irrational cause can match unconditional support of Israel. Try to make a living by neglecting support of Israel in favor of promoting valiant Ukrainians and Georgians in their fight against Russian bear. This is just not done.

      • Keith
        September 22, 2014, 10:59 pm

        PIOTR- “Try to make a living by neglecting support of Israel in favor of promoting valiant Ukrainians and Georgians in their fight against Russian bear.”

        So you consider the neo-Nazis in Kiev “valiant Ukrainians?” You support the imperial fomented “color revolutions” as examples of people power? No wonder you are anti-Chomsky. Perhaps you should spend some time educating yourself on the evils of the American empire. Nothing you have said about the elites being influenced by Think Tanks, etc. changes the fact that ultimately society is more or less run by elites, including Jewish elites. Actually, I don’t think that this reflects Marxist thinking regarding economic determinism. Furthermore, Chomsky is not a Marxist, vulgar or otherwise.

      • Keith
        September 22, 2014, 11:43 pm

        PIOTR- “China is clearly merely rounding the list, we did nothing to undermine China, modest steps to embolden countries that China could intimidate, like Philippines, do not count as “trying to eliminate China”.

        Good lord! Are you really unaware that AFRICOM is meant to counter China’s growing economic influence in Africa? The pivot to Asia is a direct threat to China, hardly “modest steps” to “protect” against Chinese aggression. A couple of quotes and links:

        “On 31 July, the National Defense Panel in Washington published a remarkable document that called for the United States to prepare to fight six major wars simultaneously. At the top of the list were Russia and China – nuclear powers.” (John Pilger) http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/12/gaza-and-the-threat-of-world-war/

        “America prioritizes Russia and China singly and together as Evil Incarnate, each to be contained, isolated, drastically weakened, Islamic militancy now and in future the sideshow, distraction, indeed pretext, for the full militarization of American society in going after bigger game. Syria and Ukraine are identified as geostrategic opportunities having sequential import, under the cover of antiterrorism placing decisive military “assets” in closer proximity to the Enemy.” (Norman Pollack)
        http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/22/usisrael-created-middle-east-tensions/

  4. CitizenC
    September 21, 2014, 11:45 am

    The nascent Israel lobby secured US patronage for partition of Palestine and a Jewish state in the 1940s, against the opposition of the US military and diplomatic establishments, whose views were rooted in the strategic thinking of the day.

    We need to begin by recognizing that our relationship with Israel has never been driven by strategic reasoning. It began with President Truman overruling his strategic and military advisers in deference to personal sentiment and political expediency.

    from

    Is Israel a Strategic Asset or Liability for the United States?
    Ambassador Chas Freeman
    http://chasfreeman.net/is-israel-a-strategic-asset-or-liability-for-the-united-states/

    That pattern has persisted since the 1940s. The Israel lobby possesses a quasi-sovereign power that is independent of the rest of the forces cited above. Blocking a Palestine settlement, numerous Arab-Israeli wars, the dual containment of Iran and Iraq in the 1990s (against substantial business opposition), the 9/11 attacks, the domestic police state and Islamophobia, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the institutionalized animus against Hizbollah/Syria/Iran, are due in the first instance to the protean Israel lobby.

    As Freeman noted, the US did not created Israel for its own purposes, but has adapted its interests accordingly. The IL has strengthened the worst gentile elements (Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld) has radicalized US politics and foreign policy. Robert Parry argues that the Ukraine crisis is a neocon gambit to destroy US-Russian entente and problem solving over Syria and Iran. Etc etc.

  5. American
    September 21, 2014, 12:08 pm

    LOL

    MW needs to create another subject column for articles.
    File this one under ‘hasbara and gate keeping’ for the Jewish Lobby, Zionist and Israel.

    • maggiesager
      September 22, 2014, 1:16 am

      American I think it says more about you than me that you would automatically assume that an article which disagrees with your ideas must come from someone interested in “hasbara and gate keeping.” I’m a committed activist who has written for this site for years, spent significant time in Palestine and am an active member of SJP and Friends of Sabeel. Disagreeing with you doesn’t make me a zionist, having a foreign policy theory that goes beyond the Lobby doesn’t make me one either. I’m not saying don’t talk about the Lobby – in fact I conceded it plays a “significant” role, one that is “dramatic” in the US, and shapes public discourse. I’m just not drinking all the koolaid.

      • Mooser
        September 22, 2014, 12:09 pm

        I never know any more what “koolaid” people are talking about. Is it the Ken Kesey electric-acid-koolaid-test koolaid, or the Jim Jones cyanide-laced koolaid? I mean, not that I want to take acid any more, taken plenty, but it’s a big difference.

      • American
        September 22, 2014, 4:44 pm

        @ maggie,

        I made this comment ‘only after’ I researched many of your previous writings and “positions” —like this one which you wrote in 2010 and is a laundry list of all the things the “Lobby’ forced the US to do and even uses W&M for authority:

        http://sabbah.biz/mt

        So your ‘switcharoo’ says more about you than my critique says about me.

        The reason you get called out by those like me on serving the lobby koolaide is because intentionally or unintentionally redirecting the focus from the Lobby to the ‘ capitalist and imperial state motives is just that—-moving the target that needs to be hit. So I dont care what kind of activist you are if what you do is throwing the dogs off the scent.

        No one here is stupid enough to believe the Lobby ‘runs everything’.

        Neither is anyone here stupid enough to believe that the CEO’s of Lockheed, Boeing, GE, BOA, et al were the ones calling congress and demanding they support Israel’s Gaza slaughter.

        THAT was the Lobby my dear.

        So nice try but no cigar.

      • Annie Robbins
        September 22, 2014, 6:00 pm

        Neither is anyone here stupid enough to believe that the CEO’s of Lockheed, Boeing, GE, BOA, et al were the ones calling congress and demanding they support Israel’s Gaza slaughter.

        well, they were but initially it was at the behest of the neocons. who could forget playboy’s 2007 blockbuster US: Lockheed Stock and Two Smoking Barrels http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=14307

      • Atlantaiconoclast
        September 24, 2014, 10:30 am

        Curious to know if you think the Iraq War was for oil, or for Israel. That is the real test. Too many leftist gatekeepers like Chomsky want to pretend that the issue is big oil, rather than Israel.

  6. amigo
    September 21, 2014, 12:16 pm

    Will we see a spate of “Euroguantanamos” to house “suspects” without trials for 10 years.

    Will we see the re emergence of rendition flights.

    If ISIS set out to screw up Europe and the USA plus a few stragglers like Australia /Canada , they sure must be smiling.

    Their recruiting numbers must be increasing beyond their wildest dreams.

  7. EliStern
    September 21, 2014, 1:01 pm

    I see nothing wrong with this article. The last thing America needs is a frenzied public blaming “the Jews” for everything wrong with it. We’ve been down that road before, in Germany and dozens of other countries where Jewish patriotism was questioned.

    • Atlantaiconoclast
      September 24, 2014, 10:35 am

      I don’t see many people blaming “the Jews” for everything. That is a red herring. But there are a good number of Jews who use their ethnic status as a shield, and you know it. We shouldn’t be afraid to speak of Jewish supremacism, just as we would White or any other supremacism. Are you saying we can’t question the patriotism of someone who is obviously traitorous to this nation (greater loyalty to Israel for example), just because that person is Jewish? What really feeds anti Semitism is the tabboo surrounding calling out bad people who happen to be Jewish and claiming that Jewish supremacism is a real problem. It builds resentment and yes, hatred. Jews are just like any other tribe, subject to the same dark side of human nature. Stop putting them on a pedestal.

  8. W.Jones
    September 21, 2014, 1:39 pm

    It’s true that western imperialism has damaged the Middle East, but it’s also true that pro-Israeli politics have too, and the importance of the latter is shown by its key role in the attacks on Chuck Hagel at his nomination, which actually gave less of a focus on other military issues besides the state.

    The important thing here, Maggie, is to realize that the two often are combined. By showing that one is strong doesn’t mean that the other isn’t.

    Thus, this statement is not correct in its logic:

    There is an undeniable difference between Muslim and Jewish fighters returning home– namely, one fits into the global discourse on terrorism, and one does not.
    Consequently, this fact undermines the thesis of an all-powerful Israel Lobby as it exposes the deeper connections fueling the West-Israel love affair

    The fact that Israeli fighters are treated differently and better than Islamic religious ones doesn’t mean that the government is not treating them differently because of a policy influenced by economic interests in the Mideast or by lobbies.

    Another mistake would to claim that

    As the argument commonly goes, Western governments and especially the US ally with Israel not out of national interest

    Where did Walt and Mearsheimer claim that there is “no” national interest in the alliance?

    What one might say is that sometimes there is a national interest, but that sometimes there is no national interest in some parts of the “special relationship”. Where was the national interest in favor of the whole US economy going into a major recession in the 1970’s because of the OPEC embargo over IP?

    • maggiesager
      September 22, 2014, 1:28 am

      I agree with your comment W. Jones. I don’t think pointing out that there are other considerations at play discounts the lobby. As I said in a comment above, the article calls the lobby “significant”, says its effect on the US is “dramatic” and that it shapes public discourse. At the same time we have all seen the campaigns by Zionists to drum up Islamophobia first hand. My point was rather that the reason these campaigns are successful is because they tap into something deeper -and the same goes for foreign policy.

      I actually loved W&M book -it was a foundational political moment for me. And of course they pointed out how the Israel-US relationship did at one time meet what they considered US National Interests especially regarding the Cold War. But their claim, if I am recalling correctly, was that the relationship has now surpassed that, your example about the OPEC embargo being a good reflection of this point.

      I also agree with you that, from my layman’s understanding, the OPEC embargo surely wasn’t in the US’ “interests.” But two things:

      1) I don’t know if I actually believe in the idea of national interest at all. Maybe that sounds ridiculous but as an object of inquiry or analysis I don’t really understand it. Our nation is composed of so many moving parts, some of which are diametrically opposed to others, that I cannot see how, at least under capitalism, “national” interests exist. There are citizen interests, congressional interests, capital interests, environmental interests, oil interests, etc.

      2) In the same vein, US foreign policy itself is not a monolith -there are outright contradictions, shifts, and tons of interests competing to win the day. When it comes to the embargo, I would have to study it more closely but my takeaway has always been that the US was more interested in keeping Israel as a buffer against revolutionary nationalism, and called OPEC’s bluff. More importantly, other oil companies were negotiating with OPEC regarding prices, and OPEC balked (meaning there were other players involved). And now, American foreign policy has strategically drifted so that countries like Saudi are entwined with the US establishment they wouldn’t dare do such a thing again.

      This is all to say that the Lobby is part of a larger group of interests that conflate to form US policy -some of them win the day sometimes, and sometimes they don’t when stronger interests (momentarily or for the long term) override. I do not agree with MW’s party line that the Lobby is the sole determiner of policy. In fact I think that is ridiculous, and completely misunderstands the US’ role in world imperialism.

      • W.Jones
        September 22, 2014, 12:53 pm

        Maggie.

        OK. When I first heard about Walt and Mearsheimer’s book claiming that the lobby played a leading role in the Iraq War, I thought “No Way.” Then I heard ex-leading government analyst Ray McGovern explain that it was one of a number of major factors.

        the OPEC embargo surely wasn’t in the US’ “interests.” But two things:
        1) I don’t know if I actually believe in the idea of national interest at all… There are citizen interests, congressional interests, capital interests, environmental interests, oil interests, etc.

        OK, well the OPEC embargo went against all of those.

        my takeaway has always been that the US was more interested in keeping Israel as a buffer against revolutionary nationalism
        OK, I know that this claim is made. But why and how is supposed to act as a buffer, Maggie?

        Isn’t it true though that the State has actually inflamed revolutionary passions in Muslim countries for the past 60 years?

        Second, the US used to actually support Arab nationalism. In the 1950’s when it invaded Egypt, Eisenhower actually sided with Egypt. So did the US see it mainly as a buffer in the 1950’s?

        Fourth, are you aware that during the 1973 war, the US went into DEFCON mode? is that how important buffering Arab nationalism is?

        Where did Phil Weiss write that “MW’s party line [is] that the Lobby is the sole determiner of policy”?

      • American
        September 22, 2014, 6:45 pm

        ” When it comes to the embargo, I would have to study it more closely but my takeaway has always been that the US was more interested in keeping Israel as a buffer against revolutionary nationalism, and called OPEC’s bluff.
        More importantly, other oil companies were negotiating with OPEC regarding prices, and OPEC balked (meaning there were other players involved)…….maggiepie

        O.K. I am determined to be nice and not browbeat you cause its bad to bully a girl.
        So I’m just going to say educate yourself with real facts and history and lay off where ever you are getting the hasbara from.

        https://history.state.gov/milestones/1969-1976/oil-embargo

        Department of State
        Office of the Historian
        Oil Embargo, 1973–1974
        During the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Arab members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) imposed an embargo against the United States in retaliation for the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military and to gain leverage in the post-war peace negotiations. Arab OPEC members also extended the embargo to other countries that supported Israel including the Netherlands, Portugal, and South Africa. The embargo both banned petroleum exports to the targeted nations and introduced cuts in oil production. Several years of negotiations between oil-producing nations and oil companies had already destabilized a decades-old pricing system, which exacerbated the embargo’s effects.

        The onset of the embargo contributed to an upward spiral in oil prices with global implications. The price of oil per barrel first doubled, then quadrupled, imposing skyrocketing costs on consumers and structural challenges to the stability of whole national economies. Since the embargo coincided with a devaluation of the dollar, a global recession seemed imminent. U.S. allies in Europe and Japan had stockpiled oil supplies, and thereby secured for themselves a short-term cushion, but the long-term possibility of high oil prices and recession precipitated a rift within the Atlantic Alliance. European nations and Japan found themselves in the uncomfortable position of needing U.S. assistance to secure energy sources, even as they sought to disassociate themselves from U.S. Middle East policy. The United States, which faced a growing dependence on oil consumption and dwindling domestic reserves, found itself more reliant on imported oil than ever before, having to negotiate an end to the embargo under harsh domestic economic circumstances that served to diminish its international leverage. To complicate matters, the embargo’s organizers linked its end to successful U.S. efforts to bring about peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors
        President Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger recognized the constraints inherent in peace talks to end the war that were coupled with negotiations with Arab OPEC members to end the embargo and increase production. But they also recognized the linkage between the issues in the minds of Arab leaders. The Nixon administration began parallel negotiations with key oil producers to end the embargo, and with Egypt, Syria, and Israel to arrange an Israeli pullout from the Sinai and the Golan Heights. Initial discussions between Kissinger and Arab leaders began in November 1973 and culminated with the First Egyptian-Israeli Disengagement Agreement on January 18, 1974. Though a finalized peace deal failed to materialize, the prospect of a negotiated end to hostilities between Israel and Syria proved sufficient to convince the relevant parties to lift the embargo in March 1974.

        The embargo laid bare one of the foremost challenges confronting U.S. policy in the Middle East, that of balancing the contradictory demands of unflinching support for Israel and the preservation of close ties to the Arab oil-producing monarchies. The strains on U.S. bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia revealed the difficulty of reconciling those demands. The U.S. response to the events of 1973–1974 also clarified the need to reconcile U.S. support for Israel to counterbalance Soviet influence in the Arab world with both foreign and domestic economic policies.

        The full impact of the embargo, including high inflation and stagnation in oil importers, resulted from a complex set of factors beyond the proximate actions taken by the Arab members of OPEC. The declining leverage of the U.S. and European oil corporations (the “Seven Sisters”) that had hitherto stabilized the global oil market, the erosion of excess capacity of East Texas oil fields, and the recent decision to allow the U.S. dollar to float freely in the international exchange all played a role in exacerbating the crisis. Once the broader impact of these factors set in throughout the United States, it triggered new measures beyond the April and November 1973 efforts.

        Being embargoed because of Israel’s war cost US ‘business’ billions and cost the world trillions.

        FURTHERMORE…… a few examples of –tell us again how capitalist US supports Israel cause there is profit for them in it?

        ”With the oil embargo in place, the industrial governments of the world in some way altered their foreign policy regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict and after the use of the Arab oil weapon. These included European countries such as the UK who decided to refuse to allow the United States to use British bases in the UK and in Cyprus to airlift resupplies to Israel along with the rest of the members of the European Community”

        *Pay attention maggie pie….the European (and world) reaction to the US supporting Israel put some sever kinks in its “imperial spread” and for the capitalist to profit abroad they need that US imperial umbrella. The kinks in the dumb capitalist support for Israel has cost them some money—that must be why they do it they don’t want to make more money. lol

        ”A year after the start of the 1973 oil embargo, the nonaligned bloc in the United Nations passed a resolution demanding the creation of a “New International Economic Order” in which resources, trade, and markets would be distributed more equitably, with the local populations of nations within the global South receiving a greater share of benefits derived from the exploitation of southern resources, and greater respect for the right to self-directed development in the South be afforded by the North.

        *Hello again maggie pie and other imperial capitalism not the Lobby! theorist….you do realize don’t you that that UN resolutions brought BRICS in relation to US support of Israel meant US capitalist and the US would have a harder time ‘exploiting’ other countries for their own profit. So explain to us how it was in US capitalism interest to support Israel which brought on this chain of events? Hummm?

        Now Chomskites take your highlighter pen and highlight each sentence/event/blowback that shows US support for Israel was in US interest or US capitalist interest—also highlight each sentence that shows the US depended on Israel to prevent Arab nationalism and explain to us how supporting Israel attacks on Arabs helped keep Arab nationalism down..rotflmao—also why if the US was so dependent Arab oil it pissed them off by shipping Israel weapons and giving them a 2 billon grant the week after the ’73 war started.
        Also explain to us how supporting and arming pissant little Israel as a ‘deterrent’ to Soviet popularity and influence among Arab countries was going to turn those Arab countries away from the Soviet Union and toward the US.
        If you want to stick to these claims then you need to say that US leaders including the imperial capitalist were so stupid they couldnt even figure out how to open their own car door.
        Or you could always reform and admit the truth that politicians make policy decisions based on politics 99% of the time and Israel is a ‘domestic political consideration” ..so every former US President has said in their Presidential Library papers—– and they will let the capitalist and US main street and everyone else take the hits and loses to avoid political attacks that could damage them and their parties ambitions.

        Come on you can do it crank up the Chomskey imperial” jingos, “…get that one reason, ‘imperialism fits every event’ record going.
        All people and mean all, including Israel critics, that think the US has One Motive for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g it does are so shallow they could drown in a saucer.
        What the US DOES for Israel and often does TO other countries FOR Israel is because of the Lobby. Period
        Once in a while the Lobby doesnt get what it wants like a US attack on Iran—Saudi wants one too but neither have gotten it ..yet.
        But the Lobby pursues what it wants thru every WH adm and what one president wont capitulate on to our AIPAC congress another might.

      • maggiesager
        September 23, 2014, 4:53 am

        @American

        Regarding the substance of your argument I really want to give your resources justice so I’ll spend some time reading them and hopefully we can have a great discussion about it.

        But initially, I’d ask you to not hold back because of my gender or perceived age, thanks. And the only person who I let call me maggie pie is my grandfather. I don’t appreciate being talked down to because you’re annoyed.

        The “switcheroo” as you call it has been a result of study and burgeoning political consciousness. Ideas and opinions evolve. I’ve never denied the lobby or its insidious influence, there’s just *other shit* going on in conjunction, which I was unaware of previously.

        I also don’t understand the logic of labeling anyone who disagrees with you as engaging in hasbara. It does not distract from the lobby to talk about imperialism or capitalism generally. For those who are interested in these phenomena on a larger scale than what’s going on Palestine, who want to understand/change the US’ behavior globally, this sort of discussion is not a distraction -it is integral to forcing a paradigm shift. And in reference to Palestine, smashing the influence of the Lobby will go a long way, but it won’t get us all the way there.

        And finally, it’s interesting that you would say *no one* believes the Lobby runs everything considering a few comments on this very thread have said exactly that.

        I will get back to you on the rest.

      • maggiesager
        September 23, 2014, 6:07 am

        I agree that the Lobby was, as you say, one of a number of major factors. My interest in writing this piece was to discuss those other factors, not to negate the lobby.

        With regard to the buffer, my understanding has always been that the administration saw Israel as a reliable, if not completely trustworthy, bulwark against the USSR that helped crush Nasser, served as a weapons cache, bought US arms, etc (as detailed even by W&M). Some of that logic has since disappeared, for sure.

        Historically, the US calculation (in my opinion, a wrongheaded one) has been that through military force, diplomacy and co-option it can control revolutionary nationalism in its favor. To be fair that strategy worked very well up until the Arab Spring, and the US is now doing what it can to control the outcome of an ill-conceived policy that only kicked the bucket down the road vis-a-vis nationalist rage. I’m not saying it was a good calculation to make. I think it is ignorant, immoral, and above all shortsighted, but it was a calculation none the less.

        If I had my resources in front of me I could talk more at length about the Suez Crisis, but I have always thought (though I am open to your explanation) that the Eisenhower Administration’s concerns were 1) continuing to attempt to woo an increasingly hard-to-get and conniving Nasser, who was always more interested in getting the British out of the ME than the USSR, and 2) preempting the backlash that would ensue if the US let the attack continue while the USSR intervened to save the day, effectively pushing the Arabs into the USSR orbit and crushing any hopes for an anti-USSR alliance. At the same time, Nixon famously said, “We couldn’t on one hand, complain about the Soviets intervening in Hungary and, on the other hand, approve of the British and the French picking that particular time to intervene against Nasser.”

        Generally speaking the US was still trying to forge a relationship with Egypt at the time, to isolate the USSR.

        In 1973, it was the USSR that supplied and then resupplied Egypt and Syria with weapons. Israel asked the US to do the same for them, and the US agreed, not wanting to see its Cold War ally falter. So perhaps it wasnt so much the idea of the “buffer” against revolutionary nationalism as it was a buffer against further Soviet influence on the ME.

        Lastly, it has always been my impression (confirmed by the majority of comments on this thread) that a strong percentage MW readers agree with the all-powerful, or at least, almost all-powerful, Lobby thesis. You might have a different impression. I don’t think Phil’s personal opinions, which as far as my conversation with him has gone sways heavily in one direction, constitute the party line. I think it’s created by the community. In any event it was that particular thesis I was responding to, and it’s been a very interesting reaction.

      • NickJOCW
        September 23, 2014, 9:22 am

        @W. Jones

        Israel is a military base in an area significant to US hegemonic interests, it’s also a commercial buffer; its mad dog behavior in the area, particularly with regard to Palestine, keeps competing commercial investment at bay. That suits Israel, but it also suits the US for the somewhat different reason that commercial investment, particularly of the kind practiced by China, provides all sorts of ‘insidious’ possibilities in the form of parallel infrastructural investment and educational and cultural exchange, which could quite peaceably pull the sympathies of the area towards Beijing, Chinese investment serves the interests of the State rather than shareholders. Imagine some of those bright Palestinian youngsters invited and welcomed in China for their higher education. Perish the thought!

      • W.Jones
        September 23, 2014, 11:52 am

        Nick,

        I saw a pretty neat map of foreign trade for the world’s nations, but I can’t find it anymore. As I remember, Saudi, Turkish, and European trade throughout the Mideast was high. China was probably the world’s main trader, along with the US and Germany, and I think that might have been true for the Mideast too. I don’t really see lots of third world people studying in China, besides other east Asians.

        I understand that competition with China is an important issue globally. I just don’t think it’s a key explanation to say that US policy about the Israeli state is about keeping China out of the Mideast. The fact is, it actually pushes countries, like Nasser, away from US investment. Having pro-American societies and governments in place is what helps investment. I don’t see people being upset over the injustices in Palestine as helping that goal. I suppose the Israelis have participated in regime change in South Sudan, but usually what it does is estrange relations.

        I understand that IP relations are not the one, only, or perhaps even decisive factor in Mideast investment. But to the extent that it does influence trade, it doesn’t seem very directly helpful.

      • W.Jones
        September 23, 2014, 12:21 pm

        Hi Maggie.

        To show a party line, one would have to show that it’s something from the site’s editors like Annie Robbins or Phil, or else point to comments by about 15 different commentors, but I doubt that blog commentors really count as a website’s “line”. “American” does not speak for me.

        What you said in your first five paragraphs today (marked 6:07), about the US wanting to have good relations with Nasser, was good. My point was different. You wrote that US support for the Israeli state were about suppressing Arab nationalism. My point was that actually, for a long time, the US policy wasn’t to suppress Arab nationalism, and Eisenhower’s intervention was a good example. Therefore, a different major explanation must be found besides suppressing Arab nationalism – although later that could have become a factor.

        Why did Truman support the state strongly, when his advisors warned against that, saying it would damage relations with Arabs?

        Sure, your explanation about arming the state in the 1970’s as an alliance makes sense. My point rather was that the special relationship goes much beyond that, when you consider that the US went into DEFCON. They didn’t do that in the Korean War AFAIK, and South Korea was a major ally. Illegal unrestricted access to government information is another way that it goes beyond geopolitics. Do you think the unanimous bicameral ovations for anything Netanyahu said were about what other allied leaders would get?

      • NickJOCW
        September 23, 2014, 4:20 pm

        @W.Jones

        I didn’t mean to suggest it was the trade itself, but trade to China can also be a positive route into the locality, lives and attitudes of a people. In Africa, while exploiting resources, they also put profits back by investing in roads, schools and other social infrastructure where US investment too often bleeds a country leaving only environmental disasters and social deprivation in its wake. This China can do because all investment is in harness with the broader interests of the State. It may well be as ruthless and determined as US-style corporate invasion, but it appears more socially sympathetic and it’s certainly more politically coherent. Consider the rare earth mining the Chinese are undertaking in Afghanistan, humming along nice and quiet without a single shot, bomb, drone, or military boot on the ground.

      • W.Jones
        September 23, 2014, 6:26 pm

        Sure, Nick. China’s foreign policy is not as militaristically aggressive, because their economy is only half capitalist.

      • Keith
        September 23, 2014, 9:47 pm

        AMERICAN- “No one here is stupid enough to believe the Lobby ‘runs everything’.”
        AMERICAN- “What the US DOES for Israel and often does TO other countries FOR Israel is because of the Lobby. Period ”

        So the Lobby isn’t all powerful and doesn’t run everything but it is the reason things are the way they are? Just the Middle East? Is the empire just a figment of my Chomskyite imagination?

        American: “All people and mean all, including Israel critics, that think the US has One Motive for e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g it does are so shallow they could drown in a saucer.”

        An empire is not a motive, it is a power relationship. Do you not believe in empires? No Roman empire? No British empire? No American empire? No 1000 US military bases overseas? No expansion of NATO? No pivot to Asia? The US hasn’t engaged in non-stop warfare against the entire Third World following World War II? No US trained and supported South American death squads? Etc, etc, etc. Methinks that you are in deep denial. Now one can debate the relationship of Israel, the Lobby, and American Jews to empire, but to deny the existence of empire or the reality of imperial geostrategy is a curious attribute of devout anti-Chomskyites. If you need empire to disappear to make your case, you haven’t got a case.

        American: “Being embargoed because of Israel’s war cost US ‘business’ billions and cost the world trillions.”

        Well that certainly explains the rise of the OPEC empire and the decline of the US to a second rate failed state. Amazing how the US is the sole super power after all these years of putting Israel’s interests above our own. Just think how dominant we would be if you were calling the shots. I’m not going to respond to all of what you said, however, you should be aware that the rise in oil prices greatly improved the oil companies’ profits as well as providing a huge pool of petro dollars which the Saudis graciously stashed into US Treasuries and other Western financial assets which contributed to American financial dominance.

        Final comment. The State Department history which you lovingly quote is the official government line, hardly an insightful commentary.

  9. W.Jones
    September 21, 2014, 1:48 pm

    Some of the premises in the article are appealing, like how imperialism is a major driving force, or how there is prejudice against Muslims, but some of the reasoning for its topic thesis is wrong.

    when considerations such as regional power, world reputation, and preserving the flow of resources and capital [don’t] conflate in support of Israel, we see crises in the Special Relationship.

    The US took a major hit to its “world reputation” at the UN votes, and even had to abandon UNESCO because UNESCO now includes Palestine. And UNESCO is a major way to spread US influence and cooperation. The UN is even located on the American mainland. What kind of “US interest” is there in leaving UNESCO?

    Wasn’t the OPEC embargo that tanked the US economy in the 1970’s a major obstacle to “the flow of resources”?

    • maggiesager
      September 22, 2014, 1:46 am

      Again to MHughes, I agree that the US has taken a major hit to its world reputation -but it has calculated that in can afford to, in the same way Israel has calculated exactly how much it can get away with regarding Gaza. “National interests” if they exist consist of constantly vacillating considerations. At times, the higher ups will prioritize certain things. At times, they will miscalculate and overplay their hand, or blunder militarily. It doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking.

      All I am saying is it is very naive for some people on this board to actually believe that the Israel Lobby is the sole controller of our foreign policy destiny. Do I think it’s anti-semetic to suggest an all-powerful Lobby? Hell f*cking no. I just think it’s incorrect.

      • W.Jones
        September 22, 2014, 12:04 pm

        Hi, Maggie.

        Who has said that the Lobby is the sole controller of our policy?

        At most what you can say is that there are some times that there is no direct national interest present in a decision. The US has no national interest in leaving UNESCO or allowing West Bank settlements, and neither are necessary to maintaining the US position in the Mideast. The US could stay in UNESCO and avoid business with the settlements. Maybe things will change because of rising awareness among younger US generations, but those are two times where there is no direct national interest.

        The other thing you can say is that the “special relationship” goes far beyond the national interest. A good example of that is the extreme level of unapproved access to US technology and government information.

  10. Citizen
    September 21, 2014, 2:14 pm

    If AIPAC & its matrix in The Jewish Establishment and the right wing think tankers had been against the neocons push to Bush Jr war’s against Iraq, it would not have happened. (9/11 would not have happened without complicit of CIA and Mossad. The partner with AIPAC in Bush’s fraudulently induced war on Iraq was Big Oil to the extent it felt its best interests threatened in terms of raw energy pricing and distribution.

  11. snowdrift
    September 21, 2014, 2:32 pm

    I agree that the West’s default support for Israel is because Israel, for all it’s self-proclaimed Jewish statehood, is seen for what it is, namely, a Western colony in the Arab world, but I disagree that the pro-Israel lobby is only a secondary influence. The near-unanimity on all votes pertaining to Israel in the US Congress, the fear in the media and academia of speaking out on the subject, the fear of the “antisemite” label for criticizing a country: the degree to which the debate is stifled is because of the lobby.

  12. MHughes976
    September 21, 2014, 3:21 pm

    Western governments do not raise panics about service in the Israeli armed forces because there is no open ideological tension between them and Israel. They raise panics about joining the IS crowd because there is plenty of open tension, plainly hostile sentiment, between them and IS.
    The Westerners may have suspicions, of a rational nature but at a quieter level, about Israeli spying and readiness to use force, as annie says, and maybe they keep more of a wary eye on Israeli-trained operatives than they openly proclaim.
    I’m not sure that Maggie for her part is ‘putting things bluntly’ – I suspect (would I make a good secret policeman?) that she’s raising two questions at once, which could be confusing rather than blunt. Is it that the West has good and objective reason to fear IS-trained returnees? Is it that the flames of this fear are being fanned to support a deceitful and imperialist agenda? Both questions could be answered Yes without contradiction but they are still rather different questions.

    • maggiesager
      September 22, 2014, 1:30 am

      Hey MHughes,

      I see what you’re saying about how it could be confusing. I apologize for the wordiness. I do not agree that the US has a reason to suspect IS-trained returnees. I point to that in the article’s introduction when I mention that the threat is overblown and an excuse for racial profiling and mass surveillance. I should have made that more clear. In regards to your second question, Yes.

  13. just
    September 21, 2014, 4:24 pm

    “Barack Obama urges United Nations to set up global ban on fighters

    Resolution, thought to be widely supported, would impose travel bans on fighters intent on joining overseas wars

    Barack Obama is to press the UN security council to pass a sweeping new resolution that would impose global travel bans on fighters intent on enlisting in overseas wars, and could lead to sanctions on countries that fail or refuse to implement the new regime.

    US officials say the UN resolution, which will be personally pushed by Obama when he chairs a meeting of the security council on Wednesday, is supported by sufficient countries to pass a vote this week.

    But the diplomatic move will raise questions about UN intervention in the democratic processes of its member states. If passed, the resolution would require UN member states to implement and update their own national laws to tackle the flow of foreign fighters, including withholding travel documents and sharing airline information.

    Other measures expected to be contained within the resolution include the UN freezing assets of “foreign terrorist fighters” by placing them on sanctions lists; Interpol coordinating efforts to monitor the transit of fighters across several countries; and a call for the international community to implement preventative programmes to deal with radicalisation of their populations.”

    more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/21/barack-obama-united-nations-foreign-fighters-ban-isis

    Hope he includes those who join the IOF.

  14. seafoid
    September 21, 2014, 4:27 pm

    ISIS is very like the early Zionists- a well funded well armed well trained crowd of foreigners want to establish a state in the Middle East, using extreme violence against a disorganized Arab army.
    No interest in human rights, ends justifying means. Ask Ari Shavit.

    • just
      September 21, 2014, 4:33 pm

      +++1!

      • seafoid
        September 21, 2014, 5:02 pm

        Behind the guys with the knives is an army of administrators. They got Mosul’s electricity sorted out in a few hours. They have serious money and resources behind them. They are more efficient than the US was in Iraq. No issues round loyalty in Iraq. They saw a problem with the Sunni population and they went for it and the Iraqi army was bought to run away.

        I don’t like them but they are far more than their NYT coverage.
        And they know how to play Americans like a violin. They know where that foreign adventure G spot is and they tickle it like the pros they are.

        Behead 2 Yanks and 6 years of Obama stay at home no more wars dissolves in 2 days.

        http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a93b58cc-3a8f-11e4-a3f3-00144feabdc0.html

        “The Cook Political Report on Friday noted the return of the “security Mom”, voters once focused exclusively on domestic issues but who shifted after the 9/11 attacks to worry about the “safety” of their children in an unstable world.
        The turning point was the beheadings last month of two US journalists by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or Isis. Once videos of their killings were posted on the internet by Isis, their deaths amounted to virtual public executions.
        Bill McInturff, a Republican-aligned pollster who along with a Democratic colleague conducts the closely watched Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, said the change in public opinion had been “sudden”. That poll showed 61 per cent of respondents thought military action against Isis was in America’s national interest.
        Although he admits it may be “harsh” to say, “when foreign policy matters, it is when American lives have been lost”.
        The beheadings had the biggest impact of any news story followed by Americans in the past five years of his polling. “This was a big deal,” he said.”

        This is also a very good analysis

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/16/chelsea-manning-isis-strategy#comments

  15. seafoid
    September 21, 2014, 5:56 pm

    Israel always says that the Middle East is a dirty neighborhood, a jungle, take no prisoners sort of area. And ISIS would probably say the same. It’s not Chevy Chase, is it? It’s the only language they know. It’s for their own good.

  16. dbroncos
    September 22, 2014, 12:20 am

    The US took a big hit for Israel in the Arab oil embargo. There were serious plans for invading SA to put an end to to it but withdrawing support for Israel was never on the table. SA has been quiet and compliant ever since. There’s a good indication of how the pecking order works wrt US ME foreign policy.

  17. Sassan
    September 22, 2014, 2:03 am

    How comical. How about because ISIS terrorists want to kill and subjugate each and last westerner while Israeli soldiers are part of a democratic government that has no aspirations for jihad and terrorism?

    • just
      September 22, 2014, 9:32 am

      “Israeli soldiers are part of a democratic government that has no aspirations for jihad and terrorism”

      You are comical. Indulging us with your irony.

      (Israel is not ‘western’ either– though it is funded by the west)

    • traintosiberia
      September 22, 2014, 6:52 pm

      Jihad objective has long been achieved by Zionist. They established Israel. They looted the possessions . They displaced millions . They turned Arab against US and very soon US and the West against Muslim. They took control of key nodal positions in government policy making apparatus . They got think tank,media,academy and religious organizations under its control. To get there,they bribed and threatened Truman,killed UN spokesman, killed British leader,controlled Soviet Politburo against Soviet interests ,pushed other countries in war against Arab countries ,and corrupted US congress and senate.
      So the Zionist Jihadist can join any band sing any tune,display any colors anywhere in the world where it has a chance of joining some local politics directed against local Muslim population or Arab interests whether in India,China, Mynamar,or Russia or obviously Western countries.
      In India it talks of sharing western oppression( read -Christian ) or colonization ( it claimed even to have revolted against western colonization like India did) and being a tolerant ( Hindu and Jews don’t force conversion) faith. In China it sure has talked about common interests ( those that even hurt US) and in erstwhile Soviet it definitely referred to the shared goals of socialism and establishing sn egalitarian future . In US it talks of free market,individualism,and lack of government control ,shared faith in bible,and practice of democracy . This is Zionism . It will disown its family of yesterday if that suits the needs of the current zionist community

    • eljay
      September 23, 2014, 9:03 am

      >> Sassaneee: How comical. How about because ISIS terrorists want to kill and subjugate each and last westerner while Israeli soldiers are part of a democratic government that has no aspirations for jihad and terrorism?

      Zio-supremacists have been waging jihad and terrorism in Palestine for over 60 years. How comical immoral of you to defend it.

    • Mooser
      September 26, 2014, 1:28 pm

      “How about because ISIS terrorists want to kill and subjugate each and last westerner”

      And I want a pony. A Shetland pony.

  18. ivri
    September 22, 2014, 2:03 pm

    Just a clarifier: Israel`s lobby would have never succeeded if there was not a receptive attitude for it in the first place based on a compatible general outlook of people.
    Israel has in effect become a model for the fight-agenda of our times: West versus Islamists. It is also at the physical front of that. So what Israel promotes is what the US public anyway believes and therefore seeing Israel being successful in that struggle gives hope to (partly desperate) others. There is probably also a fear that if the converse happens – the threats will soon come to the US (or Canada, Australia) shores by emboldened Jihadists. That must be a big part of the psychology behind the staunch support for Israel. There is of course also the Jewish lobbying, which is natural since Israel after all defines itself as the Jewish State, but it is the coincidence of that with general American (or Canadian, Australian) attitudes is what carries the day for it.

    • Annie Robbins
      September 22, 2014, 7:57 pm

      Israel has in effect become a model for the fight-agenda of our times: West versus Islamists. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/09/homegrown-jihadis-limits/comment-page-1#comment-711424

      that’s not my fight. if islamophobia were a natural inclination for americans there would be no need for the extreme amount of negative pr being pumped into the american discourse from israel lobby. i grew up in this country in the 50’s and 60’s. there was no natural fear of arabs or muslims that i recall. none. it was programmed in with lots of effort.

      this article i linked to here: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/09/homegrown-jihadis-limits#comment-711397

      This was months before Secretary of State Colin Powell would go to the United Nations to make the administration’s case for the invasion of Iraq, touting the subsequently discredited evidence of weapons of mass destruction. But according to Jackson, Hadley told him that “they were going to war and were struggling with a rationale” to justify it. Jackson, recalling the meeting, reports that Hadley said they were “still working out” a cause, too, but asked that he, Jackson, “set up something like the Committee on NATO” to come up with a rationale.

      there was no natural inclination. it was manufactured. the war on terror was manufactured and we’re seeing the fruits of our labor being played out today. please do not insult our intelligence by suggesting “Israel promotes is what the US public anyway believes” because if that were the case israel wouldn’t need to promote it!

      There is probably also a fear that if the converse happens – the threats will soon come to the US (or Canada, Australia) shores by emboldened Jihadists.

      ha! why, because we get fed crap like this and we’re a bunch of scardy cats ??? http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/09/us-launches-new-fud-campaign.html

    • traintosiberia
      September 23, 2014, 12:50 pm

      Zionist lobby has succeeded in shaping Ametican views through sheer intimidation ,suppression,distortion,supply of selective knowledge and providing biased ,incomplete,and manufactured information. The Zionist have managed the efforts targeting every stratum of the country.

      The process started at least from Brandeis era if not earlier . Over the years it has only got more brazen ,open unhinged, and finally destructive to US interests .

      Any uncomfortable develments against Zionism is viewed as expression of antisemitism . It simply destroys any chance of rational ,level headed discussion . The atmosphere becomes fear driven . The people do not ,not only have the information ,get all that excited to discuss the impact and the behavior of the Zionist . They either show no interest or falls in line passively accepting the Zionist views . The Zionist in turn use it evidence of the support they enjoy .
      Any negative opinion is labelled as antisemitism .

      In case of Palestine,Arab,or Muslim the same process works in reverse and to different direction. Negative views on Muslims are created,promoted,and them used agains and agin to create,promote and use against Muslim .

      The counterpart to antisemitism is political correctness that is a heuristic and used to spread calumny and lies in the media by the same system that sees and fights antisemitism in every human being all the time to keep the, in line.

    • Annie Robbins
      October 3, 2014, 2:47 pm

      That must be a big part of the psychology behind the staunch support for Israel

      not sure if you’re aware of this recent Google consumer survey http://www.google.com/insights/consumersurveys/view?survey=ajghtw3i4spqy&question=1&filter=&rw=1

      A combination of the “Much to much” and the “Too much” in the opinion poll indicates over 60% of the American public thinks we’re over funding Israel. the only demographic scoring even close to 50% supporting the 3 billion yearly allocations (+49.2%) are in the 65+ range – and the 2 youngest demographics combined hovering around 65% “too much”, it indicates a trend in public opinion.

      if there was truly “staunch” support for Israel among the american citizenry, we wouldn’t see these numbers. our politicians however, if you’d like to argue a “big part of the psychology” behind their support is due to ” a fear threats will soon come to [our] shores by emboldened Jihadists” be my guest. but if that were true there’d be no need for a lobby whatsoever, or to line the coffers of these politicians..because – – – – they would be driven by fear.

      no granted, they may be driven by a fear, but it’s likely not of Jihadists, more likely the lobby would gang up against them to make sure they’d no longer be in office. now there’s some “psychology” to consider.

  19. Atlantaiconoclast
    September 24, 2014, 10:28 am

    The author makes some valid points that I had not fully considered, but I still think she underestimates the power of “the Lobby.” We would not have gone to war with Iraq in 2003 had dual Israeli citizens within the Bush administration and Jewish neocon journalists not fed lies about Iraqi officials meeting with Al Qaeda in Prague, and so on. This war was NOT for oil, but for Israel. There are places all over the world in which American intervention could enrich the MIC, yet we don’t have the same clamor for intervening with generous aid or unlimited diplomatic support for these countries as we do Israel. Chomsky always finds a way to absolve Israel.

    • Kathleen
      September 25, 2014, 11:47 am

      Read Phase I and Phase II of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Lots there about many of those meetings. Also the 9/11 Commission Report filled with insights.

      Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts stalled the release of Phase I of the SSCI (much in there about the Bush administrations manipulation of pre war intelligence) just before the Kerry Bush election in 2004

  20. Keith
    September 24, 2014, 3:19 pm

    As I reflect upon this article, I am bothered by several things. First, why is an article on homegrown Jihadis combined with a discussion of the Lobby? I fail to see the connection. Second, why has Maggie Sager in effect misrepresented Chomsky on the Lobby? Her “Chomsky” quote is actually Stephen Zunes who Chomsky quotes in a fairly nuanced discussion of Lobby power following the Walt and Mearsheimer publication.

    The power of the Lobby is determined, to a significant degree, by how one defines the Lobby. Include enough concentrations of domestic power and the Lobby is us, not some foreign force. Also, talking about “American interests” is problematic. American foreign and domestic policy rarely seeks to promote the interests of the American people, rather, it reflects the perceived interests of the American (now international) dominant elites. Why we should be concerned with how the Lobby effects fat cat power seeking is a mystery to me. If the Lobby actually does hinder the effectiveness of empire, then at least it performs some useful function.

    For those interested in the Chomsky article on the Lobby, I provide a quote and a link.

    “Notice incidentally that what is at stake is a rather subtle matter: weighing the impact of several factors which (all agree) interact in determining state policy: in particular, (A) strategic-economic interests of concentrations of domestic power in the tight state-corporate linkage, and (B) the Lobby.” (Noam Chomsky)
    http://www.chomsky.info/articles/20060328.htm

  21. Kathleen
    September 25, 2014, 11:20 am

    Going to read several times so much there.

    “So why do these Western governments condone service in the IDF but not ISIS” Clearly recognized states that commit crimes against humanity (Israel, U.S. U.K.) do not come under the same scrutiny that non recognized terrorist groups that call themselves states like IS or Khorazan, Al Qeada fall under.

    Not much talk in the main stream about how Al Qeada was not in Iraq before the invasion. That Bremmer’s disbanding of the Iraq army fueled the growth of Al Qeada morphing into IS, Khorazan, Al Nusra etc. Have read that two Generals in Saddams former Baathist Iraq army have been leading the ISIS group. Little to no talk about these ever evolving splinter groups are more than partially a result of the horrific invasion of Iraq.

    So much coverage of Syria’s dead, injured, displaced. No mention of what the Leveretts recommended years ago that the U.S. negotiate with Assad based on his power and hold (50% of Syrians support him). Assad was willing to do a power sharing deal. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians are dead etc because the U.S. has been more than willing to support unknown Syrian rebels.

    Wonder if we will hear anything about the innocent Syrians that are killed by U.S. and coalition forces strikes. Wonder if the Syrian children killed by these strikes names and faces will be put up on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News as much as those who have been brutally beheaded by IS? Still waiting for these outlets to really cover the Iraqi dead, injured, displaced over decades of U.S. military interventions and sanctions. Who is responsible for creating an environment for all of this terrible infighting? The U.S. etc. How many Muslims have died as a result of our meddling? What happened to “containment” Just looks like a case of killers killing killers to me

  22. Kathleen
    September 25, 2014, 11:44 am

    In regard to the military industrial complex interest. Lots of warmongers both Zionist and others who have been within administrations and now sit in upper level positions at Rand, Raytheon etc pushing form more military interventions. Revolving door keeps revolving.

    Lots of F.B.I. files on how some Israeli’s with passports have come under deep questioning and investigation for data mining U.S. phone calls etc (Fox News Carl Cameron’s four part report on data mining and Israeli citizens spying just after the 9/11 attack). Lots of articles written about U.S. officials accessing highly classified intelligence and passing them onto other Israeli agents etc. Most recently Jeff Stein at Newsweek “Israel spies on the U.S. more than any other ally” (many former CIA analyst etc have also stated and written about this including former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit Micheal Scheuer, Ray McGovern, Kathleen and Bill Christison), Jason Vest article in the Nation in 2002 “The Men from Jinsa and CSP” and Stephen Green’s article “The Bush Neo Cons and Israel” Sept 3, 2004.

    Lt Col Karen Kwiatowski wrote about questionable Israeli agents making way into Pentagon meetings with Douglas Feith , Luti etc in the Office of Special Plans (that created, cherry picked and dessiminated the false WMD intelligence) in her article “The New Pentagon Papers”

    Lets not forget that Obama shut down the Federal governments investigation and delayed Aipac espionage trial soon after he came into office. Let’s not forget then Congressperson Jane (waddling on over to interfere in the espionage investigation) Harman’s role in this undermining U.S. national security.

    Serious and questionable behavior from possible enemies within and without of the U.S.

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