JTA says that the CQ story on the taping of Congresswoman Jane Harman's phone call with an "Israeli agent" back in '06, in which she allegedly offered to do her part to end the Justice Department's espionage case against former AIPAC staffers in exchange for the agent's doing his part to help her out with House leadership, represents a desperate effort to revive the government's espionage case. "A dog of a case," says the JTA's Ron Kampeas. But it's scheduled for trial in a few weeks.
Kampeas also speculates that Harman's being attacked because she took on the Republicans once. As if this is just partisan politics. The leak smells, he says. A little like Harman herself saying, its's a "recycled canard. "
We all know what a canard means. It means it's the Protocols of the Elders of Zion–old anti-semitism in new bottles. As if the Israel lobby is an invention of anti-Semites. But if the CQ story suggests anything, it suggests that–now that the neoconservatives are discredited, and Bernie Madoff has crippled many Jewish organizations–mainstream journalists may at last be tackling a large and corrupting force in our politics: the Israel lobby.
JTA and TPM both suggest that the Israeli agent in the mix is the giant California donor Haim Saban. Josh Marshall at TPM says the government's case is hurt if it is claiming that Saban is an Israeli agent in a spying case. Of course that raises the other recycled canard: dual loyalty on the part of American Jews.
Saban is emblematic of the dual loyalty problem, the extent to which Zionism has created dual loyalty in its American advocates. The star of the show one night at the AIPAC policy conference last year, Saban left Israel years ago because– like so many other Israelis– he wanted to play on a wider field, the U.S. He has called himself an ardent Zionist. Through the Saban Center at Brookings, he pushed the Iraq war among the liberal intelligentsia. Or its director of research, Kenneth Pollack, did, to disastrous effect.
Saban supported Hillary Clinton and is a powerhouse in the Democratic Party. When former California congressman, and Israel lobbyist, Mel Levine began raising money for Obama last year, there was speculation that the big fish was Saban, who lives in southern California, but who never came on board publicly for Obama. Saban is also engaged in lobbying efforts to counter the disgust over Israel's behavior among the young: for instance, through his Saban fellowships.
Saban gets away with ardent Zionism, as do American politicians, because they can say that American interests and Israeli interests are utterly congruent. We are in a war against a common foe. But of course, two countries' interests are never completely aligned.
In fairness to Saban, he is a worldly man (unlike, say, Sheldon Adelson); and it's noteworthy that Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center, has been making highly-reasonable noises about Iran recently, that we can live with a nuclear Iran.