The Israel lobby is entering the realm of American mainstream media fact. Note the crucial political influence ascribed to the lobby in Anna Palmer’s report at Politico saying the lobby has been silent on a Syrian intervention, and that’s a problem for Obama as he jawbones for action:
As President Barack Obama moves closer to calling for military action against Syria, a powerful ally that could help him win over skeptics is staying quiet.
The Israel lobby, including the high-profile American Israel Public Affairs Committee and other Jewish groups, isn’t pushing for intervention even as evidence emerged this week that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against its citizens.
The silence could be a problem for Obama, since the Jewish groups are connected across the political spectrum, wielding influence from the far right to liberal Democrats on issues critical to the Middle East — especially when it comes to the use of military force.
I’ve always said here that the Israel lobby transcends political party and that it played a crucial role in the disastrous American decision to invade Iraq. Pretty much what Walt and Mearsheimer said too, and were tarred as anti-Semites for doing so. Well now Politico has endorsed both political principles.
As Ali Gharib noted, when he tweeted the piece:
Some of the things pro-Israel activists say on here can get you called an anti-Semite by pro-Israel activists
Palmer points out the broad Jewish organizational endorsement of the Iraq war (even as US Jews opposed the war in political polling). Jewish groups felt blamed for that one, she writes.
Behind the scenes, several veteran pro-Israel lobbyists also said they don’t want a repeat of the Iraq War, when the vast majority of groups and Jewish leaders supported taking out Saddam Hussein. Afterward, many felt they were left with the blame when the war became deeply unpopular with the American public…
“They don’t want this to be seen as a Jewish or an Israel war,” said one veteran pro-Israel activist.
Yes, the neocons even felt persecuted because they’d pushed the war. They didn’t want to be held accountable.
Note that in the Politico story, the Jewish orgs defer to Israel, as if they are foreign agents. Former Israeli diplomat Dan Arbel is quoted, then AIPAC is characterized:
[Arbel] “Israel is also cautious about this… realizing that Israel itself cannot intervene. I think the Jewish organizations are looking at also the Israeli position.”
There are multiple reasons AIPAC might not feel the need to take a more public posture — it appears the Obama administration is going to move in the direction they would like and they are also looking to Israel for leadership.
Gharib notes that the ADL has called for a strike on Syria. Abe Foxman:
The world failed to act during the Holocaust and stood by through the genocides in Cambodia and Rwanda. It is a moral imperative that the international community act now to prevent further atrocities in Syria.