Liberating America From Israel
by Paul Findley
Nine-eleven would not have occurred if the U.S. government had refused to
help Israel humiliate and destroy Palestinian society. Few express this
conclusion publicly, but many believe it is the truth. I believe the
catastrophe could have been prevented if any U.S. president during the
past 35 years had had the courage and wisdom to suspend all U.S. aid until
Israel withdrew from the Arab land seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
The U.S. lobby for Israel is powerful and intimidating, but any determined
president-even President Bush this very day-could prevail and win
overwhelming public support for the suspension of aid by laying these facts
before the American people:
Israel's present government, like its predecessors, is determined to annex
the West Bank-biblical Judea and Samaria - so Israel will become Greater
Israel. Ultra-Orthodox Jews, who maintain a powerful role in Israeli
politics, believe the Jewish Messiah will not come until
Greater Israel is a
reality. Although a minority in Israel, they are committed, aggressive, and
influential. Because of deep religious conviction, they are determined to
prevent Palestinians from gaining statehood on any part of the West Bank.
In its violent assaults on Palestinians,
Israel uses the pretext of eradicating terrorism, but its forces are actually engaged advancing
the territorial expansion just cited. Under the guise of anti-terrorism,
Israeli forces treat Palestinians worse than cattle. With due process
nowhere to be found, hundreds are detained for long periods and most are
tortured. Some are assassinated. Homes, orchards, and business places
are destroyed. Entire cities are kept under intermittent curfew, some
confinements lasting for weeks. Injured or ill Palestinians needing
emergency medical care are routinely held at checkpoints for an hour or
more. Many children are undernourished. The West Bank and Gaza have
become giant concentration camps. None of this could have occurred
without U.S. support. Perhaps Israeli officials believe life will become
so unbearable that most Palestinians will eventually leave their
Once beloved worldwide, the U.S. government finds itself reviled
in most countries because it provides unconditional support of Israeli
violations of the United Nations Charter, international law, and the
precepts of all major religious faiths.
How did the American people get into this fix?
Nine-eleven had its principal origin 35 years ago when Israel's
U.S. lobby began its unbroken success in stifling debate about the proper
U.S. role in the Arab-Israeli conflict and effectively concealed from
public awareness the fact that the U.S. government gives massive
uncritical support to Israel.
Thanks to the suffocating influence of Israel's U.S. lobby, open
discussion of the Arab-Israeli conflict has been non-existent in our
government all these years. I have firsthand knowledge, because I was a
member of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee in June
1967 when Israeli military forces took control of the Golan Heights, a
part of Syria, as well as the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza. I
continued as a member for 16 years and to this day maintain a close watch
For 35 years, not a word has been expressed in that committee or
in either chamber of Congress that deserves to be called debate on Middle
East policy. No restrictive or limiting amendments on aid to Israel have
been offered for 20 years, and none of the few offered in previous years
received more than a handful of votes. On Capitol Hill, criticism of
Israel, even in private conversation, is all but forbidden, treated as
downright unpatriotic, if not anti-Semitic. The continued absence of
free speech was assured when those few who spoke out-Senators Adlai
Stevenson and Charles Percy, and Reps. Paul "Pete" McCloskey, Cynthia
McKinney, Earl Hilliard, and myself-were defeated at the polls by
candidates heavily financed by pro-Israel forces.
As a result, legislation dealing with the Middle East has been
heavily biased in favor of Israel and against Palestinians and other
Arabs year after year. Home constituencies, misled by news coverage
equally lop-sided in Israel's favor, remain largely unaware that Congress
behaves as if it were a subcommittee of the Israeli parliament.
However, the bias is widely noted beyond America, where most news
media candidly cover Israel's conquest and generally excoriate America's
complicity and complacency. When President Bush welcomed Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon, sometimes called the Butcher of Beirut, as "my
dear friend" and "a man of peace" after Israeli forces, using
U.S.-donated arms, completed their devastation of the West Bank last
spring, worldwide anger against American policy reached the boiling point.
The fury should surprise no one who reads foreign newspapers or
listens to BBC. In several televised statements long before 9/11, Osama
bin Laden, believed by U.S. authorities to have masterminded 9/11, cited
U.S. complicity in Israel's destruction of Palestinian society as a
principal complaint. Prominent foreigners, in and out of government,
express their opposition to U.S. policies with unprecedented frequency
and severity, especially since Bush announced his determination to make
war against Iraq.
The lobby's intimidation remains pervasive. It seems to reach
every government center and even houses of worship and revered
institutions of higher learning. It is highly effective in silencing the
many U.S. Jews who object to the lobby's tactics and Israel's brutality.
Nothing can justify 9/11. Those guilty deserve maximum
punishment, but it makes sense for America to examine motivations
promptly and as carefully as possible. Terrorism almost always arises
from deeply-felt grievances. If they can be eradicated or eased,
terrorist passions are certain to subside.
Today, a year after 9/11, President Bush has made no attempt to
redress grievances, or even to identify them. In fact, he has made the
scene far worse by supporting Israel's religious war against
Palestinians, an alliance that has intensified anti-American anger. He
seems oblivious to the fact that nearly two billion people worldwide
regard the plight of Palestinians as today's most important
No one in authority will admit a calamitous reality that is
skillfully shielded from the American people but clearly recognized by
most of the world: America suffered 9/11 and its aftermath and may soon
be at war with Iraq, mainly because U.S. policy in the Middle East is
made in Israel, not in Washington.
Israel is a scofflaw nation and should be treated as
such. Instead of helping Sharon intensify Palestinian misery, our
president should suspend all aid until Israel ends its occupation of Arab
land Israel seized in 1967. The suspension would force Sharon's
compliance or lead to his removal from office, as the Israeli electorate
will not tolerate a prime minister who is at odds with the White House.
If Bush needs an additional reason for doing the right thing, he
can justify the suspension as a matter of military necessity, an
essential step in winning international support for his war on
terrorism. He can cite a worthy precedent. When President Abraham
Lincoln issued the proclamation that freed only the slaves in states that
were then in rebellion, he make the restriction because of "military
If Bush suspends U.S. aid, he will liberate all Americans from long years
of bondage to Israel's misdeeds.
Mr. Paul Findley, who
served as a Republican congressman from Illinois for 22 years, is the
'They Dare to Speak Out' and a member of the American
Educational Trust's Foreign Relations Committee.
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