Mohamed Khodr’s Column
On October 3, 2001, I.A.P. News reported that according to Israel Radio (in Hebrew) Kol Yisrael an acrimonious argument erupted during the Israeli cabinet weekly session last week between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his foreign Minister Shimon Peres. Peres warned Sharon that refusing to heed incessant American requests for a cease-fire with the Palestinians would endanger Israeli interests and “turn the US against us. “Sharon reportedly yelled at Peres, saying “don’t worry about American pressure, we the Jewish people control America.”
“The Israelis control the policy in the congress and the senate.”
— Senator Fullbright, Chair of Senate Foreign Relations Committee: 10/07/1973 on CBS’ “Face the Nation”.
“I am aware how almost impossible it is in this country to carry out a foreign policy [in the Middle East] not approved by the Jews….. terrific control the Jews have over the news media and the barrage the Jews have built up on congressmen …. I am very much concerned over the fact that the Jewish influence here is completely dominating the scene and making it almost impossible to get congress to do anything they don’t approve of. The Israeli embassy is practically dictating to the congress through influential Jewish people in the country”
—–Sec. of State John Foster Dulles quoted on p.99 of Fallen Pillars by Donald Neff
The long history of bipartisan Congressional support for Israel led former Secretary of State James Baker to call the Congress “The Little Knesset” after Israel’s Knesset (parliament) in Jerusalem. Congress’s embarrassing and unpatriotic display of allegiance to a foreign country that is dependent on American largesse and support is the unknown scandal to the American people. With the media’s strong, biased and sympathetic portrayal of Israel while simultaneously denying any opposing view of Israel or human pictures and stories of the endless suffering of Palestinians, its no wonder that we the American people are so unaware of the true face of Israel. Thus shockingly but not surprisingly only 4 % of the American people are aware of Israel’s 34 year brutal military occupation of the Palestinian people.
Only at times of war and threat upon the U.S. does our Senate ever exhibit the strong bipartisanship support of America it regularly provides Israel. Despite our current crisis in airline security, Congressional political bickering continued for weeks between Republicans and Democrats placing American lives at risk while foreign aid to Israel was quick and automatic (about $6 Billion), even at a time the Congress is telling us of budget deficits and lack of money for the unemployed American workers. As an American I am outraged at the blind historical allegiance our Senators have provided Israel while they neglect many of our pressing domestic issues such as airline security, Social Security and Medicare Reform, Education Reform, Health Insurance for needy Americans, Money for Dilapidated Schools, and Prescription Coverage for our Elderly. Our Congress operates on the premise that most Americans are disinterested in foreign policy thus they have a vacuum to provide Israel with blank checks and our latest F-16 fighter jets that Israel uses to kill Palestinian civilians. They depend on our media to keep us uninformed and distracted with Sports, Harry Potter, and scandals.
During America’s war on terrorism, President Bush and Secretary Powell have worked hard to keep a fragile coalition among the 55 Arab and Muslim nations. To do that they’ve finally listened to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, other European and Arab leaders and reengaged in the MidEast peace process. Bush has ignored the Israeli Palestinian conflict since taking office thus allowing Sharon to reconquer and reinvade Palestinian territories during this Intifada that has cost over 800 Palestinian lives and 175 Israeli lives with hundreds of Palestinian homes demolished.
For the first time Bush uttered the word a “Palestinian state” (is it conceivable that the President of the most powerful nation on earth doesn’t even dare utter these two words). Powell has repeatedly criticized Israel for its assassination policy, its house demolitions, its invasion of Palestinian controlled territory, while he and Bush have repeatedly asked Sharon to pull out of Palestinian territory, Sharon simply ignored them and even compared them to Nazi appeasers. None of Sharon’s rebuttals of the American President during this crisis even generated any criticism from our brave Congress. No one can imagine any other country able to tell its benefactor “take your demands and shove it.”
Now the stage is set for the much awaited Powell speech, a new initiative on the Middle East on Monday, November 19, in Kentucky. It’s been billed as a historic speech. According to the British Telegraph site (telegraph.co.uk) on November 18, Powell’s original aim was to set out the administration’s vision for the creation of a Palestinian state, including complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank, to be followed by peace negotiations on “final status” issues such as borders, refugees and the fate of Jerusalem. He has been encouraged by signs that moderate Arab states will recognize Israel and its continued right to exist if the Palestinians decide to do so themselves, an essential element of any peace agreement. Even Iran’s long standing opposition to the Peace Process was dropped when last week President Mohammad Khatami of Iran said: “If the Palestinians accept this issue we will respect the wishes of the Palestinian nation.”
However, and as is customary whenever there is a possibility of Israel being criticized, the Pro Israeli forces come out in force to pressure the White House to tone down or modify its wording. Due to intense pressure from Congress, the media, and the powerful American Jewish lobby, the White House has intervened to tone down Powell’s speech on the Middle East planned for November 19. President George W Bush is believed to have blocked Powell from putting too much pressure on Israel to make concessions in the search for peace. As a result, according to Washington officials the watered down speech is “less of a new initiative and more of a general call for people to buck up their ideas”.
THE ROLE OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE IN SERVING ISRAEL NOT AMERICA
According to the New York Times in an article titled “Senators Urge Bush Not to Hamper Israel” (Nov. 17), 89 Senators signed a letter to President Bush urging him not to restrain Israel from retaliating fully against Palestinian violence and to express his solidarity publicly with Israel soon. The letter was a preemptive strike against Secretary of State’s Colin Powell’s anticipated speech on the Middle East conflict intended to silence any direct or indirect criticism of Israel and from offering any hope to Palestinian aspirations of a homeland based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338 which call for Israel to withdraw from all occupied territories it conquered in its 1967 pre-emptive attack on Palestinian and Arab lands. In the letter the Senators praise Mr. Bush for refusing to meet with Arafat and for snubbing him at the U.N. refusing to even shake his hand.
As is usually the case the Letter was prompted by American Jewish groups imposing their sentiments upon “our?” Congress. According to the Times, the letter, “stemmed from a meeting two weeks ago between leaders of the American Jewish community and key senators and was proposed by Senator Christopher S. Bond, the Missouri Republican. Particularly active in providing advice on the letter was the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the principal lobbying group for Israel.”
This letter by 89 Senators is one in a long history of letters and resolutions adopted by “our?” Congress meant to intimidate and squash any movement by a US President that seeks peace negotiations for the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts based on the internationally accepted formula of land for peace based on UN Resolutions 242 and 338.
This Congressional doormat policy toward Israel began on September 21, 1922 whereupon the U.S. Congress endorsed the British Balfour Declaration.
U.S. CONGRESS ENDORSES BALFOUR DECLARATION: SEPTEMBER 21, 1922
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress Assembled.
That the United States of America favors the establishment in Palestine of “A” national home for the Jewish people, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which will prejudice the civil and religious rights of Christian and all other non-Jewish communities in Palestine, and that the holy places and religious buildings and sites in Palestine shall be adequately protected.
(Public Resolution No. 73, 67th Congress, Second Session).
Dear Mr. President:
In writing to you about recent developments in the Middle East, we wish to reaffirm the commitment to the survival and integrity of the state of Israel that has been the bipartisan basis of American policy over 26 years and under five administrations.
We do not believe that a policy of appeasement (note: this appeasement charge written 27 years ago was just recently echoed by Sharon: thus the same cliches are used over and over again to protect Israel) will be any more successful now than it proved to be in Europe in the 1930’s because we confront an appetite which grows on what it is fed.
We urge that you reiterate our nation’s long-standing commitment to Israel’s security by a policy of continued military supplies and diplomatic and economic support. In doing so, you will be acting in the best interests of the United States and with the support of the Congress and the American people. (note: again using the link that what’s good for Israel is good for America, no one has been allowed to challenge this dangerous falsehood).
All but four members of the U.S. Senate signed the following letter to President Clinton expressing their solidarity with Israel. The four senators who did not sign were Spencer Abraham (R-MI), Judd Gregg (R-NH), Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE). The bipartisan letter was circulated by the Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) and Tom Daschle (D-ND).
Dear Mr. President:
We write to you to express our solidarity with the State of Israel at this moment of crisis and our profound disappointment and frustration with PLO Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority…We are deeply concerned at the continuing, coordinated campaign of Palestinian violence.
We urge you to express American solidarity with Israel at this crucial moment, to condemn the Palestinian campaign of violence, to do everything possible to secure the return of the three kidnapped Israeli soldiers from Lebanon, and to stand with Israel in international arenas – not only because we should, but because such actions are also the best way to restore the negotiating process.
America’s open and abiding commitment to the security of Israel is the surest way to see our way safely through it.
In a bipartisan effort led by US Senators Peter Fitzgerald (R-Illinois) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-New York,) a group of 53 senators sent letters yesterday to Secretary of State Colin Powell and leaders of the Red Cross urging the world’s largest humanitarian organization to grant full and immediate membership to Magen David Adom (Israel’s equivalent of the Red Cross).
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing about the Middle East peace process, and the published reports of a disagreement between our Administration and the Israeli government that may lead to the United States publicly presenting a peace proposal which is known to be unacceptable to Israel. We hope these reports are not true.
We share your Administration’s frustration with this lack of movement, but believe it would be a serious mistake for the United States to change from its traditional role as facilitator of the peace process to using public pressure against Israel. This would be particularly unfair and counterproductive since Israel has kept the promises it made at Oslo
America’s commitment to Israel’s security undergirds the entire peace process and provides Israel the confidence it needs to take very real risks for peace. American Middle East diplomacy, as you know and have shown so well, has always worked best when pursued quietly and in concert with Israel. We strongly urge you to continue our critical role as facilitator of a process that can ultimately succeed only through the direct negotiations by the parties themselves.
Dear Mr. President,
I have followed the recent changes in your administration’s Israel policy with a deep and growing sense of concern.
I strongly believe that genuine and lasting peace in Israel can only be achieved through voluntary direct dialogue between the parties, and not as a result of heavy-handed outside pressure by the United States. Israel must be able to decide her own security needs and set her own conditions for negotiations without facing coercion from the U.S.
If your administration uses its influence to unilaterally design a “solution ” or force Israel to the table..then what motivation does Chairman Arafat have to move toward common ground when America volunteers to drag Israel to his current position?
Worse, America’s strong-arm tactics would send a clear signal to the supporters of terrorism that their murderous actions are an effective tool in forcing concessions from Israel. Such signals endanger Israel and further weaken the peace process. (note: same argument used before September 11 and after September 11)
Your administration must re-evaluate it policy in this area.
87 SENATORS, 209 REPRESENTATIVES LETTER TO PRESIDENT BUSH: SUPPORT ISRAEL
(SOURCE: American Israeli Public Affairs Committee: AIPAC)
87 members of the Senate and the 209 members of the House sent letters to President Bush urging him to reassess U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority.
Senate Letter (House Letter is Almost the Same)
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing you out of a deep sense of frustration, anger and concern over recent events in the Middle East….Over the past several months, the Palestinians have initiated on average over 30 “incidents” a day against Israeli soldiers and civilians (note: not a single mention of Palestinian casualties that are 4 times the Israeli casualties or the international condemnation of Israel by the State Department and EVERY International Human Rights Organization.)
Given the drastic changes that have taken place in recent months we believe it is time for the United States to initiate a reassessment of our relations with the Palestinians. Such reassessment should, in our view, examine whether those Palestinian groups involved in violence, such as the PLO-affiliated groups Force 17 and Tanzim, should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations under Sections 219 of 8 USC 1189, whether US aid to the Palestinians is in fact meetings its goals, and whether it is appropriate for Arafat to be invited to meet with high-level officials in Washington while the violence continues; we also believe that you should reaffirm America’s opposition to a unilaterally-declared independent Palestinian state.
It is also time for those of us in both parties who serve in Congress and in your Administration to restate our commitment to Israel’s security and to the uniquely common values and interests which America and Israel share.
June 11, 2001
The House of Representatives included several pro-Israel provisions in the Foreign Relations Authorization Act. The legislation, which passed 352-73 on May 16, included a section authored by Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Jewish, calling upon the State Department to review the current travel warning for Israel, while Reps. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Eric Cantor (R-VA), Cantor is Jewish, included language criticizing the anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments of Syria’s President Assad.
The House of Representatives voted to penalize Lebanon for not securing its border with Israel. The House attached a provision, offered by Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), Jewish, to the Foreign Relations Authorization Act prohibiting certain U.S. support for the Lebanese military until the army takes control of the country’s border with Israel away from Hezbollah. (note: Israel withdrew from Lebanon after 22 years of military occupation)
The Red Cross retracts description of Israeli settlements as “war crime.” In response to a strongly worded letter from Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), Jewish, regarding recent statements emanating from the organization, Dr. Jakob Kellenberger, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, stated unequivocally that the Red Cross does not consider Israeli settlement activity a “war crime.”
EXAMPLES OF SENATORS INDIVIDUALLY EXPRESSING THEIR SOLIDARITY WITH ISRAEL
In a letter to the editor published in the New York Times August 1, 2001, Senator Charles Schumer, Jewish Senator from New York, states that Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians a state of their own on 97% of the West Bank with a capital in East Jerusalem. He states that Mr. Arafat reject this offer and instead of choosing peace he orchestrated a wave of violence that ended the peace process. (note: The scope and substance of the offer he mentions is false and Barak’s “generosity” which was never stated publicly has been refuted by American negotiators who also wrote in the New York Times)
SENATOR JOHN McCAIN (R) AGREES TO WORK FOR ISRAEL BY HEADING INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO FREE ISRAELI HOSTAGES IN LEBANON.
According to the Jerusalem Post of August 1, 2001 Israeli Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg asked Senator John McCain to head an international campaign to press for the release of three Israeli soldiers and a businessman held captive by Hizbullah in Lebanon. Senator McCain agreed. (note: as usual such items are not reported in the American media. No mention was made of the hundreds of Lebanese held captive by Israel and the over 3,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel held without charge)
SENATOR JOSEPH BIDEN (D-Delaware) PLEDGES HIS ALLEGIANCE TO ISRAEL
In June of this year Senator Joseph Biden (D-Delaware), Chair of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee tells the Pro-Israeli Council on Foreign Relations that the Israeli-US friendship “is not a transitory event, a marriage of convenience, or a short-term alliance.”
SENATOR JESSE HELMS (R-N. Carolina) CARES MORE ABOUT ISRAEL’S SECURITY THAN FORMER GENERAL AND PRIME MINISTER EHUD BARAK
According to the Jerusalem Post of August 16, 2000: “Jesse Helms Critical of Barak’s Concessions”
Jesse Helms, chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is critical of Prime Minister Ehud Barak for making too many concessions at Camp David.
“Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered concessions unimaginable even several weeks ago; indeed, I believe he went too far,” Helms wrote in an August 8 letter to Americans for a Safe Israel, a small, New York-based group opposed to the peace process begun at Oslo in 1993.
“Israel must have an agreement that leaves a defensible state; the borders contemplated at Camp David leave Israel vulnerable,” Helms added.
No American citizen, no American organization, no American institution, and no American domestic need or policy ever receives the immediate undivided attention of “our?” Congress than the single issue of Jewish rs a America, that of Israel. Whatever Israel needs and whenever it needs it, it can count on the Jewish American lobby, on the Jewish American Congressmen and Senators, and on the Jewish American appointees in the executive branch, along with the voice of the powerful media to continue that “Large Sucking Sound” out of our Treasury, Commerce, and Pentagon toward the only country in the world more condemned and criticized by the world community than any other. Israel’s cynical use of the murder of millions of Jews in the Holocaust and the intimidating use of America’s Scarlet Letter “A” for Anti-Semitism has allowed it to steal land, murder civilians, and create the world’s longest suffering Palestinian refugees, all in plain sight of a world silenced by its guilt and by America’s power.
There will never be peace for America as long as we the American citizens allow a foreign nation to dictate our foreign policy and who becomes our friends and our enemies. For sometime Israel and its “controlled Congress and media” are pushing our country to expand our war and murder of civilians to the Arab countries Israel deems standing in its vision of “Greater Israel.”
At the beginning we supported Israel to be our client state in the oil deserts of Arabia, now its us who’ve become the client state for Israel. Israel is committing atrocities with our money and weapons—killing in our name. This has more to do with our national pride, identity, and role in the world than it does with Muslims, Palestinians, or Afghanistan. Is this our country, is this “our?” Congress, is Bush our President, and is Colin Powell our Secretary of State.
What Powell will say and not say on Monday November 19 will tell the American people and the world whether we are in charge of our destiny or is Israel. Let’s pray that no more Americans die for Israel’s sake and for the sake of reelecting “our?'” brave Congressmen.
Mr. Mohamed Khodr is an American Muslim physician and a native from the Middle East. He has worked in Academic Medicine and Public health with national and international health experience. He is a freelance writer who often writes columns on the Palestinian cause, Islam and on America’s Foreign Policy in the Middle East. He lives in the Washington DC area.