Trending Topics:

Israel lobby wields influence on US use of force because it is connected across aisles — Politico

on 51 Comments

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.


Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

Other posts by .

Posted In:

51 Responses

  1. annie on August 28, 2013, 11:14 am

    The outside groups’ quiet posture comes despite many Jewish leaders moving gradually to support the rebels in Syria over the past year.

    ……Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs Executive Director Michael Makovsky said he believes the U.S. should act….”…Assad needs to go and we need to do what we can to contribute to his downfall,” Makovsky said….. “That is, I think, the larger issue here in the Middle East.”

    the title, “Israel lobby silent on Syria” is a lie. the israel lobby wants to be perceived as silent while they pressure obama to take action. they do not want us to talk about the pressure they exert and therefor we get propaganda claiming they are not exerting it.

  2. seafoid on August 28, 2013, 11:19 am

    “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.”

    I bet Foxman has a mobile phone featuring war cobalt from the Congo basin.
    But he doesn’t ever want to save those villagers.
    And he never says anything about Global climate breakdown. It’ll put the Shoah in the shade.

    • Justpassingby on August 28, 2013, 11:27 am

      Ah hardcore zionists talking about taking action to stop bloodshed..whats more hypocritical.

      • Darcha on August 28, 2013, 12:45 pm

        To: Knee
        From: Brain

        Don’t jerk!

    • Krauss on August 28, 2013, 1:48 pm

      As Obama noted in his TNR interview; more people have died in Congo in these past few years compared to Syria.

      Where was Foxman then? He doesn’t care about Syria; he only cares about Israel and only cares about Syria insofar as it is a neighbour of Israel.

  3. David Doppler on August 28, 2013, 11:37 am

    The new improved night flower. AIPAC’s “silence” on Syria reminds me of their similar silence on the Hagel nomination. “Look what we can make America do with no hands.” If it’s a dirty war, the Neocons are behind it, appealing to emotion rather than realism, “righteous outrage” that delay is argued for to get the facts straight, lots of bought and paid for “authority figures and experts” announcing that there can be no doubt, when there is doubt, our surveillance state chiming in with “undeniable” intelligence, as if we can trust anything they tell us, unidentified senior administration officials leading the administration by the nose before the MSM. The Likudniks are like gamblers at the casino who keep doubling down. Time for an intervention.

  4. American on August 28, 2013, 11:38 am

    ”Arbel] “Israel is also cautious about this… realizing that Israel itself cannot intervene. I think the Jewish organizations are looking at also the Israeli situtation.”

    I wish could find one of those little icon things, one with a exploding head, to insert in my comments when I read outrght lies like this.
    Israel has bombed Syria weapons depots ‘inside’ Syria 4 times now—thats not interfering? That is actually an ‘act of war’.

    The Lobby is keeping it’s head down—-only reason for that I can imagine is they feel they’ve had ‘too much public exposure’. The public has learned too much about them. But I am sure they are having ‘private’ communications with their agents in congress on Syria.

    From the news around the world Israel is being very loud about demanding the US interfer now that it can be under the guise of human concerns and chemical gassing.
    Couldnt have worked out better for their propaganda purposes and cya if they had done the gassing as a false flag themselves.

    • seafoid on August 29, 2013, 10:33 am

      Humanitarian war is such a crock.
      Since when did Israel ever care about Muslim civilians?
      It’s all about reshaping the Middle East to suit Israel v 5.0

      • hophmi on August 29, 2013, 10:54 am

        “Since when did Israel ever care about Muslim civilians?”

        Since when did you ever care about them? The Muslim civilians of Israel live better than in any other country in the Middle East.

        I know this is very, very hard for you to deal with.

      • American on August 30, 2013, 1:59 pm

        hophmi says:
        August 29, 2013 at 10:54 am

        “Since when did Israel ever care about Muslim civilians?”

        Since when did you ever care about them? The Muslim civilians of Israel live better than in any other country in the Middle East. >>>>>

        Yea, and black americans lived so much better than blacks in Africa during Jim Crow.
        You have no point.

      • just on August 30, 2013, 11:35 pm

        “Since when did you ever care about them? The Muslim civilians of Israel live better than in any other country in the Middle East.”

        Oh, really? That’s totally untrue.

        You only say that because you & your ilk consider Muslims inferior and demonstrate it with your actions daily.

        Muslims live quite well in other countries– in the ME and elsewhere.

      • eljay on August 30, 2013, 11:52 pm

        >> The Muslim civilians of Israel live better than in any other country in the Middle East.

        But they don’t live as equals with the Jewish citizens of their own country – a country that currently is, and intends to remain, a supremacist “Jewish State”.

      • Ellen on August 31, 2013, 4:16 pm

        hophmi, Muslims live well in many countries in the ME. In countries such as KSA, Qatar, Oman the locals live quite well.

      • Walid on August 31, 2013, 5:04 pm

        I don’t agree with you on that one, hophmi, the Muslims in Israel are living in constant fear of being deported sooner or later. That’s not living “better” at all. Netanyahu flirts on and off with the concept, Livni proposed it a couple of years back and you’re forgetting where Avigdo Lieberman stands on this because he is currently keeping a low profile. We just heard about the 50 or 60,000 Africans that Israel will start deporting to Uganda in exchange of arms to be supplied to Uganda, to purify the atmosphere for the Jewish nation. The Muslim and Christian Palestinians living in Israel won’t be far behind.

      • Woody Tanaka on August 31, 2013, 5:48 pm

        “hophmi, Muslims live well in many countries in the ME. In countries such as KSA, Qatar, Oman the locals live quite well.”

        Oh, hoppy knows that. It’s just that his pathological anti-Arab racism won’t let him believe it.

      • Xpat on August 31, 2013, 6:20 pm

        @ hophmi
        By what measure? Certainly not in terms of terms of political power.
        Jews in America live much better lives than Jews in Israel in terms of income, comfort, peace and stability. Yet, many believe that Israel offers something better. Some of them move there. Political power (in their case, to the exclusion of others) is highly significant. And that translates to other categories.
        So, yes, Muslims are worse off in Israel than in other Middle Eastern countries. And some Jews are not cynical about minorities, Muslim or not.

  5. blg432 on August 28, 2013, 12:44 pm

    Israeli intelligence ‘intercepted Syrian regime talk about chemical attack’
    Information passed to US by Israeli Defence Forces’s 8200 unit, former official tells magazine

    The 8200 unit of the Israeli Defence Forces, which specialises in electronic surveillance, intercepted a conversation between Syrian officials regarding the use of chemical weapons, an unnamed former Mossad official told Focus. The content of the conversation was relayed to the US, the ex-official said.

    The 8200 unit collects and analyses electronic data, including wiretapped telephone calls and emails. It is the largest unit in the IDF.

    Israel has invested in intelligence assets in Syria for decades, according to a senior government official. “We have an historic intelligence effort in the field, for obvious reasons,” he said.

    Israel and the US had a “close and co-operative relationship in the intelligence field”, he added, but declined to comment specifically on the Focus report.

  6. irmep on August 28, 2013, 12:49 pm

    AIPAC’s think tank wants more than limited bombing. But yeah, the lobby is sitting ths one out.

    Nothing to see here folks, just move along…

  7. hophmi on August 28, 2013, 12:51 pm

    “Yes, the neocons even felt persecuted because they’d pushed the war. ”

    It does not say that. It says that Jewish organizations felt persecuted because they were SINGLED OUT. What chutzpah you have. You’re the one doing a fair share of the persecuting.

    “Note that in the Politico story, the Jewish orgs defer to Israel, as if they are foreign agents.”

    Another thing the article DOES NOT SAY. It says that they are examining the Israeli position. That is not the same as deferring to a foreign agent. If the State Department considers the position of the French on Iran before making a decision on sanctions, is it acting as a French agent?

  8. PeaceThroughJustice on August 28, 2013, 1:36 pm

    “…(even as US Jews opposed the war in political polling)…”

    I don’t mean to hijack this thread over a side issue, but we can’t let history be rewritten like this.

    While I can understand how comforting it would be to believe this, common sense tells you it’s just not true. Those hundreds of Jewish voices in our media that were actively thumping for war from both the left and right all through 2002 were unrepresentative of the “true” community? The Union of Reform Judaism (which supported the war) had been hijacked by fringe extremists and didn’t represent its membership? Phil’s own family (hardly fundamentalist right-wingers) was unrepresentative?

    But if you refuse to believe your own eyes, here’s the American Jewish Committee’s poll of the community from three months before Shock and Awe:

    4. Do you approve or disapprove of the United States taking military action against Iraq to try and remove Saddam Hussein from power?

    Approve 59
    Disapprove 36
    Not sure 5

  9. gingershot on August 28, 2013, 1:44 pm

    Sibel Edmond’s Boiling Frog Report (with James Corbett) is reporting that there exists satellite imagery (I’m guessing from Russian satellite surveillance) of two chemical weapons shells striking the region originated from the Al Nusra (Al Qaeda units of the ‘Syrian Rebel Army’) headquarters area.

    Apparently this satellite imagery has already been provided to the UN Sec Council by Russia – and the report says there has been no evidence to the contrary debunking the Russian claim. I haven’t heard that the UN Sec Council has made any reference to this yet – but undoubtedly this info is in the hands of the UN Team investigating the site

    The named leader of Al Nusra is apparently the one who ordered the attacks

    This podcast by James Corbett is free and available to all – the whole story is by subscription only

    Hopefully this whole thing gets international exposure and completely contradicts and debunks the whole Obama Neocon/Israeli Lobby narrative before the missiles start flying

    • NickJOCW on August 29, 2013, 5:43 am

      Here is a lengthy interview with Ayssar Midani Nosstia , a highly credible lady, described as the president of an association of expatriate Syrian scientists, president of a Euro-Syrian cultural association Afamia, and member of several associations for the defence of Palestine. I sent it to Phil last night when I found it although it has actually been around 5 days.

      What she says, and more importantly the way she expresses it. ring true. It makes a devil and deep blue sea for Obama et al because should it prove demonstrably true, and why not, then Obama could be seen to have been deploying the US military on behalf of al Qaeda. Unless, of course, he could have acted quickly enough for his punitive strike to eliminate all on the ground evidence that might support the Russian contention. Israel must also be aware of all this Russian stuff. It looks like zugswang, the chess situation where a player must make the next move but any move will have a negative result. Whatever goes on behind the scenes that looks like quite enough to justify Israel wishing to appear detached from the whole business. On the other hand Israel cannot be detached since she is bang next door and issuing free gas masks to Israelis, (anyone else in the firing line must buy them

  10. doug on August 28, 2013, 1:57 pm

    The politico article is simply a story planted for deniability that the Israel Lobby had anything to do with this to minimize the inevitable effects of blowback. The article will be pointed to weeks or months from now to demonstrate the Lobby was not behind this. Nonsense, of course but that will be the line.

    • MRW on August 28, 2013, 5:59 pm

      You’re right, Doug. So for the record, here is the Lobby begging for it:

      • Ellen on August 31, 2013, 4:25 pm

        Doug is so right. As for the Weekly Standard report on pushing for conflict with Syria: The signatories on the letter addressed to President Obama inlcude Senator Joe Lieberman, Bernard-Henri Levy, Karl Rove, Bill Kristol, Elliott Abrams, Leon Wieseltier, and many others.

        The propaganda and Israeli heavy hand is so transparent: There were other reports last week in the MSN praising the quality of the Israeli intelligence for all of this:

        “However, he acknowledged that Israel has superior intelligence coverage of Syria.”

        “They only do a few things, and they do them very well,” he said. “They collect mainly on the countries that border them, and because they focus only on those targets, they are very effective. Their technical ability is on par with much larger nations.”,0,1940412.story

      • James Canning on August 31, 2013, 5:29 pm

        What an assortment of warmongers signed that letter.

  11. justicewillprevail on August 28, 2013, 5:17 pm

    Don’t believe a word of it. Surprise, surprise – Israeli is stovepiping the ‘proof’ that Assad used chemical weapons:

    How convenient – a useful plan to manipulate the US into their wars once again.

  12. Kathleen on August 28, 2013, 6:35 pm

    Israeli lobby members dominate the PNAC and they wrote the blueprint for what U.S. policy has taken place over the last 12 years. There are other hands on the controls of U.S. foreign policy in the middle east and these hands are certainly not connected to American citizens wishes. Only 9% of American citizens support an attack on Syria.

    Aipac’s site has definitely focused on tightening the grip on Assad. So how you can claim silence I don’t know

  13. James Canning on August 28, 2013, 7:39 pm

    Aipac perhaps should get credit for subverting the American political system almost entirely, in matters related to Israel.

  14. anthonybellchambers on August 29, 2013, 12:37 am

    “President Barack Obama is weighing a limited response that focuses on punishing the Syrian government for violating international agreements that bar the use of chemical weapons”

    Similar to the response that punished Israel for using banned white phosphorus against a civilian population in Gaza in 2008 in which over 300 children were killed?

  15. bilal a on August 29, 2013, 2:53 am

    US national Library of Medicine, key words Israel organophosphates (Sarin nerve gas)

    Who gave the gas to al nusra? according to anti al nusra syrians

    Mossad’s Role in Forming Al-Nusra Front


  16. seafoid on August 29, 2013, 4:44 am

    “One source said: “Ed (Miliband, Labour opposition leader) said to the (UK) prime minister: ‘You have to realise that after Iraq nobody trusts any of us. We therefore have to exhaust every avenue.’ It is not easy for the prime minister.”

    I would love to hear what international diplomats really think about Israel’s warmongering. Iraq was a gamechanger.

    • just on August 29, 2013, 5:16 am

      Miliband speaks the truth. I certainly don’t trust the ‘intelligence’.

      How very refreshing. Miliband can speak for me, too, and a lot of folks on this side of the pond. He probably speaks for many across the globe whose leaders chose to be part of the “coalition of the willing”. And he can remind his PM and the other leaders of the unspeakable horror we visited on the Iraqi people, and the resultant fracturing of that nation. The bloodshed continues, and there are some so deluded as to blame the Iraqis for the mayhem.

    • Citizen on August 29, 2013, 6:09 pm

      August 29, 6PM EST Fox News is reporting the Brit parliament just nixed joining Obama’s pending military strike on Syria, although “it might support it in other ways.”

  17. NickJOCW on August 29, 2013, 6:13 am

    The world failed to act during the Holocaust. I am sick to death of this ignorant, vicious contention. Hitler would have invaded Poland in 1939 if there hadn’t been a Jew in Europe. Once he crossed the border the single purpose was to stop him and 60 million were to die before it was achieved. Two uncles and my half-brother were killed in action. How, in the name of Heaven, can that be regarded as not acting.

  18. Citizen on August 29, 2013, 6:17 am

    As is pointed out above on this thread, Israel has already struck Syria 4 times, and Israel gave Obama alleged intercepted audio evidence Assad forces dropped the chemical stuff. Interesting nobody talking about this subject has mentioned the contrary satellite evidence Russia has. Obama may speak to the populace today; will be interesting to see what evidence he brandishes (playing Colin Powell?).

  19. seafoid on August 29, 2013, 10:43 am

    “Palmer points out the broad Jewish organizational endorsement of the Iraq war ”

    Is this documented anywhere online?

  20. Obsidian on August 29, 2013, 10:51 am

    ‘Abe Foxman’s ADL has called for a strike on Syria’.

    That’s not what I read. Where did Foxman say something about a strike?

    So the all powerful Lobby is silent when the United States is faced with it’s most challenging foreign policy decision in seven years.

    Feel the power! It’s awesome!

    • Blank State on August 31, 2013, 9:31 pm

      The power that organizations such as AIPAC wield over DC is undeniable, unless you’re a liar, or an idiot. I leave it to you to find your particular category.

      I will, however, point out a bit of your own behaviour that supports the “idiot” premise. It is the gastral gas you expend to deny the power of this corrosive and insidiously devious organization. Oh wait, perhaps that supports the “liar” premise. Uuuuhmmmm….or…..uh….maybe both.

      OH WAIT! I’ve got it now! You think WE are the idiots!

Leave a Reply