Russian meddling is Watergate-worthy, but Israeli meddling is hunky-dory

US Politics
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The investigation of Russia’s meddling in our politics dominates the liberal press; and for my part, I believe everything The New York Times and MSNBC are suspicioning about Donald Trump and the Russians. I bet that the Russians have something on Trump personally, possibly involving money or sex; and that the Russians meddled in our election. (Not that the meddling changed the outcome; no, Hillary Clinton did a great job of losing it on her own.)

But as someone who focuses on Israel policy, what stands out to me is that conduct that is Watergate-worthy when it comes to Russia is hunky-dory when it comes to Israel. Just yesterday, for instance, Trump adviser Jared Kushner was on the hot seat in Congress over his contacts with a Russian official last year. But no one has a hearing about the fact that Kushner’s family, out of devotion to Israel, financed illegal Israeli settlements that have undermined the two-state solution, thereby nullifying longtime U.S. policy. I think that’s a real problem. MSNBC doesn’t.

Just in the last week there have been two other expressions of Israel’s active interests in our politics that the liberal media have failed to say boo about.

First, there’s the Israel Anti-Boycott Act in the House and Senate. Israel regards the Boycott movement (BDS) as an existential threat; and so the Israel lobby group AIPAC produced legislation that scores of Senators and Congresspeople, including many liberal heroes, signed on to that trashes the First Amendment by making it a possible crime to support boycott of Israel. By the way, AIPAC has a mission to insure that there is “no daylight” between the Israeli government and the U.S. government. In the 1960s despite the best efforts of Senator Fulbright, AIPAC escaped designation as an agent of a foreign government. That ought to be a scandal, but everyone walks on by.

Then there’s Israel’s unhappiness with the Syrian ceasefire deal that Donald Trump reached with Russia. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu says that the deal fails to limit Iran’s presence in Syria or to prevent weapons getting to Israel’s enemy, Hezbollah; and Israel supporters in the U.S. duly echoed Netanyahu’s view.

Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, who launched his dazzling career, in his own words, “with the support of the pro-Israel community,” wrote:

“This is unbelievable! Trump Administration ignored Israel’s security concerns in making the Syrian deal with Putin.”

While Daniel Shapiro, also a former U.S. ambassador to Israel– who lately called Israel “this miracle, this gift, this jewel” — wrote that the deal needs to be revised:

Can the deal be restructured to Isr’s satisfaction? US-Russia dynamic makes that difficult & worrisome. But effort needs to be made.

Apart from the question of whether Trump will be brought down by his Russia connections, the real issue here is, What is the American people’s interest? In the Syria case, it would appear that Trump is realigning U.S. foreign policy vis-a-vis Russia. And that this realignment could be good for the U.S. position in the world: an effort to lessen U.S. military engagement in the Middle East. But meanwhile it is clearly in Israel’s interest for the U.S. to be up to its hips in the perpetual war of the Middle East, because occupiers love company.

I believe the no-daylight policy has been hugely costly to the United States; and has involved a great deal of meddling by Israel and its friends in our politics. The media are afraid to touch this stuff; but a look back on the special relationship between the countries reveals a number of policy decisions that the U.S. would have made differently if Israel weren’t putting its thumb on our scale. Let’s review:

–Israel has put more than 600,000 settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, thereby violating the Geneva Convention and destroying the two-state solution, which was U.S. policy. The United States has suffered enormously for its inability to stop this process. Even the 9/11 attacks were motivated in good measure by the sufferings of Palestinians. The Israel lobby and its American friends played the lead role in nullifying U.S. policy in the settlements– witness the undermining of President Obama’s efforts to stop settlements in 2011 and 2012 via political pressure. (Even Noam Chomsky has said that in this area the client is influencing the superpower, not the other way round.)

–Israel acquired nuclear weapons in violation of clear U.S. policy in the 60s, and likely also by pilfering highly-enriched uranium from the United States through a front operation in Pennsylvania. There has never been a squeak about this from the U.S. government or officials– no they all maintain the deception– and meantime Israeli nukes have contributed to an arms race around the region, and fostered the U.S. image as lying imperialist hypocrite.

–Benjamin Netanyahu pushed for the Iraq war, saying it would transform the region for the better: “If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region.” The leading Israel lobby group AIPAC also pushed for this war, while Israel’s rightwing American friends, the neoconservatives, argued that the war would bring democracy to Arab states and make Israel safer; as did liberals such as Tom Friedman, Israel’s onetime promoter, who said we should go to war against Iraq because terrorists were blowing up pizza parlors in Tel Aviv. Whether the voice given to Israel’s interest was determinative or not in our decision to invade Iraq (I say it was), this is an influence that clearly should have been exposed and investigated, beyond the efforts of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt in their groundbreaking book The Israel Lobby. But the media shut down that conversation, in part through the vociferous efforts of Jeffrey Goldberg, who formerly emigrated to Israel and served in its armed forces.

–Several American presidents were for the Palestinian refugees’ right of return after the creation of Israel. “Truman backed down under pressure from the Zionist lobby,” John Judis states flatly in his book Genesis. Kennedy and Nixon were also under political pressure to nullify the American position. And indeed: no Palestinian refugees have been allowed to return by Israel, the U.S. has done nothing to seek to reverse that policy; and the issue inflames the conflict to this day.

–Israeli leaders and U.S. surrogates led a campaign to try to stop the Iran deal two years ago and very nearly succeeded. At the height of that campaign Obama gave a speech saying that only one country in the world opposed the deal– Israel — and that it would be “an abrogation of my constitutional duty” to heed Israel rather than the American interest. As if that even needed to be said! It can be argued that the four Democratic Senators who opposed their President’s signature foreign policy achievement — Schumer, Menendez, Manchin, and Cardin — all did so out of support for Israel or its American friends, who are so influential in our elections. As Stephanie Schriock of the liberal activist group Emily’s List says, aspiring Democratic candidates for Congress take their position on Israel from AIPAC because that’s the way they can raise money from the Jewish community. And what does it tell you that Schumer despite betraying his president on the Iran deal was rewarded with the leadership of the Senate Democrats?

–The only alternative that Israel had to the Iran deal was an attack on Iran, which the American people clearly opposed. It’s not a surprise then that one of the leading Republican donors, Sheldon Adelson, whose main cause is Israel and who has said he would rather have served in the Israeli army than the U.S. one, urged Obama to nuke Iran. And before that, Adelson held a fundraiser for Mitt Romney in Jerusalem during the 2012 campaign that Romney attended– and Benjamin Netanyahu all but openly endorsed Romney over Obama.

–The pressure against the Iran deal was so strong that Hillary Clinton in 2015, readying a run for president, came out with a statement against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as a way of trying to keep Israel and her donors happy in advance of her announcing her support for the Iran deal. At that time, Clinton’s chief liaison to the Jewish community met with Israel’s Prime Minister and told Clinton that Netanyahu said that Americans needed to “attack, attack, attack” BDS. Meantime, one of her biggest donors, the Israeli-American Haim Saban, pressed her to make a statement distancing herself from Obama’s policies on Israel; Clinton did so; and her campaign manager endorsed the move: “[H]as she made a clear statement on Israel yet? I get this question from donors all the time. Does she need to state her principles on Israel before Iran?”

We only know about Hillary Clinton’s craven gyrations because of the emails stolen from the Clinton campaign and published by Wikileaks. I think we have a right to know about a powerful politician’s efforts to please Israel and its American friends. But Democrats and media liberals are much more concerned that the Russians might have had a hand in getting these emails out in the months before the election.

Yes, the Clinton emails may have been an example of Russian meddling in our elections. But those emails documented Israeli meddling in our elections. Which is worse? I know what I think. But let’s have the debate.

Thanks to Scott Roth.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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10 Responses

  1. jsinton
    July 25, 2017, 4:07 pm

    Well frankly, I think the whole “Russiagate” story is pretty stinky. The story as I understand it is how the Russians hacked the email account of John Podesta and then turned them over to Wikileaks, which Wikileaks published. Then a misinformation campaign by the Russians used fake comment posters to further denigrate the Clinton image, which was just enough for Mr. Trump to prevail over Mrs. Clinton. As the story got more mature, we realized there were some pretty stinky parts to the story. First of all, the REALLY JUICY emails were not released by Wikileaks, but were in fact leaked by the FBI as they were from the email server in Mrs. Clinton’s closet. Then there was never an investigation of the Podesta emails by the FBI, who is responsible for espionage on US soil. Wikileaks denies the emails came from Russian sources, and no one has caught Wikileaks in a lie or fabrication, unlike Mrs Clinton, the FBI, the CIA, or the NSA. And probably the most damning evidence is… there is no evidence. No smoking gun. After a year of screaming headlines…. no proof. In fact there seems to be lots of proof to counter the whole “Russiagate” story.

    I didn’t think anyone could loath Mr. Trump more than myself, but I guess I was wrong. But the whole “russians hacked the election and stole it for Trump” it so absurd. It’s like the last possible explanation for Mrs. Clinton losing the election. Maybe Trump knows some Russian Mafiosos from New York. They say nothing get built in NY without some tribute to the mob. But I don’t think it’s an issue really. I’m much more concerned by how the Democrats have aligned themselves with the Neocons, the Milt-Ind-Com, the Lobby. I worry about how all our media institutions have seeming turned into propaganda mouthpieces. I think the Dems have now allied themselves into oblivion. But maybe I’m not cool anymore and just can’t understand.

    So you want to discuss the ole elephant in the room? Of course. I’ve been saying it all along. There is CLEARLY a nation which has corrupted virtually every institution in the US of A, and we never investigate that, why bother with ambiguous accusations with the Russians?

    Of course we all know it is absurd to suppose anything is within our control anymore regarding the government. We have no more say unless we have vast amounts of money. I would have to agree with Phil and say the Zionist control over the institution that make the bedrock of the US is far and away much more damaging than having Mr. Trump playing Manchurian candidate.

  2. Sally Parker
    July 25, 2017, 7:43 pm

    Wow! Why believe the NY Crimes on Russiagate when they lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and filled the world with misleading messages about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians?
    A lot of evidence points to Seth Rich as the leaker of information from the DNC. First, Assange said that leaker was not Russian nor the official of any government. Craig Murray, the British diplomat who passed on the info to Wikileaks said the leaker was part of the DNC. Wikileaks offered a reward for information on the murder of Seth Rich. This is the only time that Wikileaks has offered a reward for murder information. Rich was a data director at the DNC and had access to all of the leaked memos. Rod Wheeler, the private investigator of the Rich murder, said that the DNC blocked his investigation of the Seth Rich murder. The local police department confiscated neighborhood videos that would have recorded his murder.
    Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of professional retired spooks, said that the information downloaded by from DNC computers traveled too fast to have been obtained by a hacker. It had to have been copied by a leak. The DNC has never turned over their computers to the FBI so there is not a lot of cooperation to find these alleged “Russian” hackers.
    Blaming Russia for hacking is the perfect red herring to obscure what the leaked documents say and take attention away from the Seth Rich murder.

  3. RoHa
    July 25, 2017, 11:17 pm

    “I believe everything The New York Times and MSNBC are suspicioning about Donald Trump and the Russians”

    I can’t help wondering
    (a) why anyone would believe anything the MSM says about anything, let alone so flaky a story as this “Russia meddled in US elections” tale,
    and
    (b) when “suspicion” became a verb.

  4. Vera Gottlieb
    July 26, 2017, 10:31 am

    I really had to laugh…Russia-gate being the ‘dominating’ story in the press? A slight understatement…it isn’t ‘dominating’, more like THE ONLY STORY IN TOWN.

  5. Bandolero
    July 26, 2017, 1:42 pm

    Just my 2 cents:

    1st) I can’t get what’s wrong in the eyes of Americans with meddling in other countries’ politics. The US does it all the time, everywhere, even up to full scale war to make a success of such meddling. So when US people think US-led regime changes elsewhere are OK, why is regime change in the US not OK for them?

    2nd) I think to brand the current stuff as a Watergate replay is quite a fine metapher. If I remember history right, Nixon back then also privately understood, that a jewish cabal – how he branded what today is known as the Israel lobby – wanted to take him down. And, as history repeats itself, today all the jewish donors who gave most of big ticket donations to HRC and their propaganda stooges try the same with Trump.

    By the way, I was surprised to learn that there are in the US still different media. This one I found especially interesting:

    Donald Trump just kept his most important promise on the Mideast | Mulshine

    … If you`re wondering why the establishment is so desperate to impose regime change on the Trump administration, wonder no more. It`s because he is defying them on their efforts to get even more involved in the Mideast.

    http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2017/07/dont_look_now_but_donald_trump_just_kept_his_most.html

    In other words: the whole stuff being thrown around against Trump is in reality all about his withdrawing from regime changes wanted by Israel in the mideast. I couldn’t agree more with this.

  6. genesto
    July 26, 2017, 4:33 pm

    As I see it, Russia really dropped the ball! These many years, if Russia had been funneling money to Congress to the extent Israel has, there would be no Russiagate, and we would be defending Russia, good or bad.

    • Mooser
      July 26, 2017, 7:00 pm

      “These many years, if Russia had been funneling money to Congress to the extent Israel has, there would be no Russiagate, and we would be defending Russia, good or bad.”

      Well, Israel is pretty stiff competition, but the Russians have been doing what they can.

  7. Tuyzentfloot
    July 27, 2017, 5:38 am

    some comments

    – Philip’s willingness to accept the dominant narrative that Russia interfered aggressively in the US elections is reasonable in the sense it that it should not matter.
    Even if it were true there is a need to reduce tension with the Russians. You make peace with enemies, not with friends. Currently the dominant narrative is that Russia should be treated as an enemy.
    Also the mock outrage over Russian intervention ignores the base level of all the nasty stuff everyone does in normal conditions, and it certainly ignores the nasty stuff the US does , such as aggressive intervention in other countries elections.
    So the stories should be downplayed more even if they are true.

    – On the other hand it is not reasonable to think the Russians did intervene aggressively. Both the Russians and the Chinese very much wanted to know what went on and what was going to happen, but the narrative of Russian aggression is internal propaganda.It’s more likely they showed more restraint than otherwise. Some powerplayers think it’s in their interest to push that narrative (The democrats, the CIA, the press)and not enough powerplayers are interested in countering it.

    – on the other hand it is reasonable to think the Russians did intervene aggressively. There’s a constant stream of high key stories. Any reasonable person will end up getting the general idea. That is not just a mainstream media problem.
    It takes effort to figure out what’s happening, or at least a lot of experience to know which people to read.

    – The terminology ‘propaganda campaign’ appropriate but there is a difficulty. There’s a default assumption of a well coordinated approach with a centralized organization where some people at least have a clear view of what is true and what is not true. In this case I doubt if it’s centralized, which means one party does not know what the other party is making up, and in any case there are too few people who care to know what is true and what is false. The poisonous role of mainstream media is that they still preemptively claim that role of truthseeking, so people aren’t fully aware that there is a job vacancy that urgently needs to be filled.

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