Earlier this week, David Kirkpatrick reported in The New York Times on secret recordings made by a doctor of ousted Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak said he had to use the Israel lobby to keep the aid flowing from Washington.
The recordings suggest that Mr. Mubarak subscribes to some of the far-fetched conspiracy theories that are now commonly heard in Egypt, claiming collaboration among the United States, Israel and the Muslim Brotherhood. “Of course they’re in a deal with the Brotherhood, for Sinai,” Mr. Mubarak said of the Western powers in one recording.
At another point, Mr. Mubarak said that about six months before he was forced from office, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “tested the waters” about a plan to displace the Palestinian population of Gaza into the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.
“No, no,” Mr. Mubarak said he had replied. “Forget about it unless you want to start another war between you and us. The borders can’t be touched.”
But he is also heard saying he sometimes used Israel’s influence in Washington for his own purposes, perhaps alluding to the role that pro-Israeli lobbyists often played in securing American aid for their allies in Cairo. “I exploit the Israelis this way, and I stirred sedition” between Israel and the United States, Mr. Mubarak said. “I put them in confrontation with each other.”
Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, who passed the article along, sees meaning in Mubarak’s madness:
This is reminiscent of the Iranian Shah’s views. Mobutu and Benazir Bhutto also believed that the road to Washington runs through Tel Aviv.
But Times reporter Kirkpatrick’s term “far-fetched conspiracy theories” is of course dismissive. And glib. When Walt and Mearsheimer first published their analysis of the Israel lobby in 2006, it was dismissed as a conspiracy theory. Now everyone subscribes to it. For instance, Times columnist Tom Friedman wrote two years ago that the Congress is “bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.” And earlier this year Friedman said in England that presidential candidates don’t oppose Israel because of campaign funding concerns– not wanting to alienate AIPAC.
I cite Friedman because he has often gone in for the same dismissal as Kirkpatrick uses. Back in 2002, Friedman slammed Muslim conspiracy theories about how the west works. This paragraph is particularly entertaining:
Look at the excruciating process of analysis, self-criticism and accountability that America went through after Vietnam. Few Arab-Muslim countries have ever done anything like that after a war, let alone after 9/11. Until they do, their conclusion that America or the Jews are behind all their problems is escapism, not analysis.
After that column, Friedman pushed the Iraq war. He said the war plan was in essence a conspiracy of neoconservatives, and Israel and occupied Palestine was the model: “the Iraq war is a kind of Jenin on a huge scale.”
How much accountability has there been for those crazy ideas?