group of pro-Israel political consultants, the Israel
Project, is telling
partisans of the Jewish state to kindly shut up about
their fulsome support for Gulf War II – lest they give the
show away. A memo entitled "Talking About Iraq,"
directed at American Jewish leaders, as well as Israelis,
American politicians fight it out on the floor of Congress
and in the media. Let the nations of the world argue in front
of the UN. Your silence allows everyone to focus on Iraq rather
your goal is regime change, you must be much more careful
with your language because of the potential backlash. You
do not want Americans to believe that the war on Iraq is being
waged to protect Israel rather than to protect America."
you guys just keep quiet, those stupid Americans may not notice
that they’re fighting, dying, and paying for your wars. After
many of them can locate Iraq on a map? Geographically
challenged, and naïve to a fault, most Americans don’t
realize that Saddam’s "weapons of mass destruction,"
if they exist, haven’t got a range much beyond four-hundred
miles. Iraq’s rickety Scuds could barely reach Israel, and
are no threat to the U.S. Saddam’s target is Tel Aviv, not
Toledo, Ohio, but we are supposed to forget that there is
fans in the U.S. would do well to watch their language,
but I’m afraid this good advice is wasted on them. Ever since
9/11, what Pat Buchanan calls Israel’s "amen corner"
has been in the ascendant: an unholy alliance of neoconservative
policy wonks who dream of "benevolent
world hegemony" and dispensationalist
who see war in the Middle East (with Israel at the center)
as a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy – and a necessary prelude
to the Second Coming. This union of maniacs, megalo- and mono,
gained an important foothold in the GOP during the Reagan
years, and was perfectly positioned to reap the full political
benefits of 9/11 vis-à-vis U.S. policy in the Middle
East. Neoconservative calls for an invasion of Iraq have been
part of the background noise of American politics for a decade,
but 9/11 emboldened them to demand more. They have been pushing
hard for the goal of eliminating all of Israel’s enemies,
one by one, using America as their cat’s-paw, and Ariel Sharon
been subtle about demanding and getting increased financial
support, even as he increases the weight of repression on
the Palestinian people.
game is getting so obvious that the Israel lobby’s own political
consultants – "led by Democratic consultant Jennifer
Laszlo Mizrahi," the Washington Post reports,
"with help from Democratic pollster Stan
Greenberg and Republican pollsters Neil
Newhouse and Frank
Luntz" are telling them to knock it off, for
the moment at least, and lay low. The Post goes on
to report why this is unlikely to happen:
Israeli diplomat in Washington said the Israeli government
did not request or fund the efforts of the Israel Project
and that Israeli leaders were unlikely to follow all the advice.
‘These are professional public relations people,' the diplomat
said. ‘There’s also a political-diplomatic side.’"
politics of the War Party impose a certain form and style
on their activities, one that is driven by a need to keep
the troops happy – in Israel, as well as the U.S.
Israel, a growing
radical rightist movement is energized, in part, by a
resentment of their country’s complete dependence on American
largess, and bitter opposition to U.S. efforts to rein Israel
in. To these elements, Sharon is a sell-out, and even Netanyahu
is soft: the expulsion
of the Palestinians from the occupied territories, the
of conquered lands, and the consolidation of a Greater
Israel – in the wake of the intifada, and the breakdown
of the peace process, these key planks of the far-rightist
platform have gained in popularity. The upcoming Israeli elections
show a massive shift toward extremism, with the far-rightists
exerting ever more influence on Sharon’s Likud party. Sharon
may have beaten back Netanyahu’s challenge from the right
in the party primaries, but the
militants gained the upper hand when it came to nominees
for the Israeli Knesset. Leslie Susser, writing in the Cleveland
Jewish News, points out Sharon’s dilemma:
Likud Party’s list of Knesset candidates, chosen in a party
primary this week, left Ariel Sharon’s campaign strategists
scratching their heads. With national elections approaching
on Jan. 28, they had meticulously laid out a centrist … It
is in the battle for the centrists that Israeli elections
are won and lost, experts say.
problem for Sharon’s spin doctors is that the list of Knesset
candidates elected by the Likud’s 3,000- strong Central Committee
on Sunday leans heavily toward the hawks."
Hanegbi, Minister of the Environment and third-place finisher
in the Likud Central Committee poll, behind Sharon and Netanyahu,
hailed the primary results as "a vote against a Palestinian
state." Of all the prospective members of an incoming
Likud government, only Sharon supports the American plan for
a Palestinian state – or any plan other than continued
– such a tiny country, with so few natural resources, beleaguered
on all sides by implacable enemies, nearly
bankrupt, and in need of constant transfusions of U.S.
"foreign aid" to keep it alive. Its publicists and
professional apologists certainly have their hands full, trying
to keep up with Sharon’s latest atrocities and smearing anyone
who questions Israeli policy as a closet Nazi. They must also
juggle the different factions of the pro-Israel lobby against
the interests and policies of Israeli hardliners, no mean
feat. While the Israel Project memo proffers advice to the
American branch of the Likud party, according to the Post,
they also address the home office:
of the guidance, however, appeared to have Israelis in mind.
‘Demonstrate your historic willingness to compromise, sacrifice
on behalf of America,’ it said. ‘This may not play well among
some Israeli politicians but it will certainly play well in
the states.’ It advised leaders to say: ‘Like America, Israel
has a right to defend itself and our people.’"
does Israel have the "right" to use the U.S. military
as a weapon in its war against the Arab-Muslim world? This
administration has been hell-bent on starting that war, over
and against the advice of its own generals, and the old
guard Bushies , including Bush 41. In driving the nation
to war, Bush 43 is driven by the need to appease his political
base – the followers of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, among
others, who made the difference in Georgia and elsewhere this
past election season – and if Dubya doesn’t deliver, his base
may desert him for a more aggressive warmonger.
Israel's supporters would do well, say the public relations
types, to refrain from openly displaying their political pull.
The Israel Project experts also called on the Israelis to
"pipe down," as the Post put it, about the
"root causes" of the Middle East conflict:
memo coached: ‘(A)s an Israeli, most certainly don’t talk
about why some Arab leaders and their people dislike the United
States. Americans don’t want to be told by an Israeli why
we have problems in the Middle East or why people hate us.’"
that to the American
Likudniks, who will gladly explain why
Islam is inherently evil, why Arabs are culturally prone
to violence and hostile to "modernity," and how
we need to conquer and "re-educate" a billion Muslims
like we did in Germany and Japan – and for the same
are supposed to be in the midst of a
worldwide upsurge in anti-Semitism, to hear Israel's apologists
tell it: the Left, we are told, is scapegoating Israel and
imposing on it a standard that no other Middle Eastern country
has been asked to aspire to. Israel is being "singled
out" unfairly, but the reality is that the Israelis and
their international amen corner have singled themselves out
as the vanguard of the War Party. Israel's most avid partisans
in the U.S. have also been the most enthusiastic proponents
for war, and the reason for this is plain enough: Israel will
have the most to gain in the event of war in the Middle East.
war, if it comes, will not be contained within the borders
of Iraq. The conflict is sure to spread throughout the Saudi
peninsula, unseat the monarchy, and pave the way for a pro-Al
Qaeda coup in Riyadh. American-supported rulers from Egypt
to Pakistan and all points in between will be in fear of their
lives. Who benefits from this apocalyptic state of affairs?
not the U.S., as the last of our Muslim allies bites the dust
and Al Qaeda's recruitment drive goes into high gear. Europe
is rightly fearful of bearing the brunt of America's mistakes,
in the form of renewed terrorist attacks, and the Russians
look askance at being locked out of the Iraqi oil business.
Our allies are baffled at this sudden radical turn in the
"war on terrorism," not because they are anti-Semitic
or anti-American, but because the policy is so contrary to
Qaeda blows up the Macedonian embassy in Pakistan and
half-hidden, in the Balkans,
the U.S. moves against – Iraq, the most secular of all the
petty Middle Eastern despots, a regime Bin Laden volunteered
to fight against to defend his Saudi homeland, according to
British journalist and author Peter
Bergen, and recently declared ought
to be overthrown.
Founders of the American republic distrusted the influence
of foreign lobbyists. George
Washington warned that "a passionate attachment of
one Nation for another produces a variety of evils,"
and in our march to war we are witnessing them all first-hand.
The Father of our country knew that
for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary
common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists,
and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the
former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the
latter, without adequate inducement or justification."
this principle is operating today, in our frantic
search to find some
sort of justification, however thin, for going to war,
shows that Washington's worst fears have been realized. Israel's
war has become our war; her enemies, our enemies, even as
the objective interests of the two countries diverge. The
U.S.-Israeli "special relationship" violates Washington's
dictum in other ways:
leads also to concessions to the favorite Nation of privileges
denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation
making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what
ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will,
and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal
privileges are withheld."
other nation shares the "privilege" of having its
program of ethnic cleansing and systematized repression of
a subject population paid
for by American taxpayers? What other nation benefits
law passed by the U.S. Congress that makes it illegal to boycott
products made in Israel? Old George sure saw it coming:
Al Qaeda's "disposition to retaliate" ended in the
death of 3,000-plus, and the prospect of more to come.
wonder the Israel Project's public relations experts are telling
their clients to go on
the downlow, as they
if Americans started examining the special privileges afforded
Israel by their compliant enablers in Washington – would they
begin to wonder about the true causes of the Middle Eastern
crisis? What if they actually started reading subversive "isolationist"
literature like the "Farewell Address," and came
across the following description of the evils of privileging
one nation above others?:
it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who
devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray
or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium,
sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances
of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference
for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the
base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation."
portrait of an American fifth column certainly has a familiar
ring to it. Ambitious, corrupted, deluded – the War Party
is all three. Certainly the neoconservatives, crying "remember
9/11!", have campaigned for war exuding "a virtuous
sense of obligation." It is not for nothing that Bill
Bennett is the chosen instrument of their holy cause.
Riding the wave of popular hysteria as if out of "a
commendable deference for public opinion" the
neocons want to start what they call "World
War IV," pitting the U.S. and Israel against the
entire Muslim world. Cui
bono? Who benefits? It's funny you should ask….
old Georgie sure hit the nail on the head when he portrayed
partisans of a foreign power as in thrall to a dangerous "infatuation."
It is a politically-driven love affair, one that Karl Rove
hopes will keep the President in the White House, just as
Sharon hopes it will keep him and his party in power. Like
all infatuations, however, it must inevitably cool, as the
two parties get down to working out the bothersome details
of their romance: the issue of exclusivity, of finances, the
possibility of marriage, all this and more must come to the
fore. One party – the Israelis – is making non-negotiable
demands – war, now! while the other, wanting
to please, is nonetheless disinclined to make a total commitment.
Every relationship, if it goes on long enough, reaches a crisis
point, in which one succumbs to the dominance of the other,
or some mutually acceptable compromise is made.
there is no compromise when it comes to war and peace: it
is one or the other. The President has chosen the long route
to war, via the United Nations, a process that could drag
out for many months and still end inconclusively. Either
the War Party succeeds in somehow derailing this process,
perhaps by creating a Gulf
of Tonkin-like incident, or the marriage of American and
Israeli interests, in effect since 9/11, is sure to wind up
in Divorce Court.
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