Over 3 million dollars has poured into Congress and the Senate by pro-Israeli lobby groups in the past year. No wonder so many of our elected officials have forsaken morality and aligned themselves cohesively with a government that sponsors a violent and racist apartheid. Can our administration point fingers at regimes and governments around the world and demand they follow the American paradigm of democracy? It is both ludicrous and hypocritical for the President to demand that Arab nations parrot the American democracy while our Congress is being corrupted and bribed by Israeli interest groups.
One only needs to look at Israel’s staunchest supporters in Congress and the Senate and see how much money they are receiving from Israeli interest groups to realize that American foreign policy is being bought and dictated by these groups.
Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) will be introducing legislation to the Senate to shut down PLO offices in D.C., restrict the PLO representative’s travel in the United States and to cut ties with any representative of the Palestinian people. Mrs. Feinstein has received over $100,000 from Israeli interest groups that advocate the continued policies of apartheid against the Palestinians.
Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) is co-sponsor of the May 2, 2002 Congressional resolution expressing absolute support for Israel. This resolution came at a time when the rest of the world was screaming that Israel be investigated for war crimes in Jenin. Mr. Lantos has received $68,650 from Israeli lobby groups.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) both staunch supporters of Israel who sponsored a resolution in the Senate expressing solidarity with Israel have received a combined $236,508 from pro-Israel interest groups.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) “applauds” support of Israel from following: Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD), Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-MO), Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX), Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS). Combined they have received $345,130 from Israeli interest groups.
We regularly hear politicians publicly claiming that they are the “best friend” of the Israeli government. One wonders if that would be the case if payments from Israeli interest groups stopped. If Congress really had the best interests of Israel in mind and did consider Israel to be “the best friend of America” they would pull the Israeli leadership aside and say:
Listen, we care about your future. The apartheid must end; you must stop occupying the Palestinian people. You are hurting us, and you are hurting yourselves in the eyes of the international community. It is in your best interest to end these brutal policies.
Instead Israel’s most ardent supporters in the Congress and Senate are inciting the Israelis to commit Nuremberg crimes against humanity against the Palestinians, much to the pleasure of rabidly pro-Israel organizations. In an interview with Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball” House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) repeatedly called for the expulsion of the Palestinian people from Palestinian territories and said that the United States would be happy to scatter them throughout the world. These pro-Israeli interest groups have not only corrupted the American government but they are exposing the weak morality of our Congressmen.
Recent polls indicate that the American public does not mirror the bias towards Israel that is prevalent in Congress. Americans then should not be made to bear the brunt of the convoluted relationships between greedy American congressmen and pro-Israel lobby groups. Americans are not getting any richer from the funds that these groups are throwing at our elected officials, instead we are being fleeced to support an apartheid regime. Support of Israel is not only a moral stain on our country but the spiritual malaise that has gripped Congress and the Senate and has blocked the road to peace is endangering the American political system and putting Americans at risk by giving lunatics like Bin Laden an excuse to attack us. We are being forced to give our tax dollars to a country which is illegally occupying a people using barbaric methods that have been documented by every single credible human rights organization in the world. Our interests here and abroad are being threatened; does Congress realize what the ramifications of an oil embargo against us would be? Our economy would be devastated. Is supporting apartheid worth it?
Congress and the Senate are disregarding the will of their constituents merely to fatten their pockets with the largesse of contributions made to them by pro-Israel interest groups. A survey released on May 9, 2002 by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) states that 58% of Americans place equal blame on Israelis and Palestinians for the violence in the region and that aid should be withheld to both sides until they return to peace negotiations. Fifty-eight percent of Americans believe that the United States is biased towards Israel and that the government needs to be more even-handed. The pontifications on the Senate and House floor of unwavering support for Israel while they “fight their war on terrorism” is not echoed by the American public with only 17% of Americans seeing Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians as an extension of the war on terrorism. It’s not hard to see the discrepancy between what the House and Senate are doing and what the American people want. Politicians want to continue receiving money from pro-Israel lobbies so they continue to support apartheid, while 63% of Americans think Israel should withdraw from Palestinian territories.
On May 2nd Congress made public a statement of solidarity with Israeli interest groups to the detriment of the American people. The voices of those that put them in office are nothing compared to the millions they receive yearly from these interest groups. Safety and security be damned in the face of the almighty dollar. It is now time for Americans to rise up and demand that their elected officials in Congress stop this grotesquely one-sided policy. The bribery that our Congressmen are succumbing to only continues to fatten their pockets while ostracizing us around the world and putting us at risk at home. Apartheid is not worth it.
5/1/2002) – MSNBC “Hardball” Dialogue between host Chris Matthews and House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX)
Americans on the Israel-Palestinian Conflict, May 8, 2002. Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA). For more information, contact: Sara Rostolder or Gregory Michaelidis, 301 – 656-0348
Seham Fare is a student at Golden Gate School of Law, Alameda, CA, USA.