In 1956, as Eisenhower was campaigning for his second term in the White House, his Secretary of State appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to discuss the Arab/Israeli conflict. Kieth Kyle, the author of ‘Suez’, records that John Foster Dulles was ‘given a sharp reminder of the domestic political dimensions of his problem’ and was ‘subjected to several hours of questioning. Much of it, from such pro-Zionist Democrats as Wayne Morse of Oregon and Hubert Humphery of Minnesota, was of a hostile and sardonic nature.’
Dulles responded to the Senators with a remark that still rings true today. “Our difficulty é derives very largely from the fact that the Arabs believe that the United States, when it confronts problems which relate to Israel, is in the last analysis dominated by domestic political considerations”. According to Kyle’s well documented narrative, Dulles expressed the hope that ‘in the pending political campaign the discussion will be on such a level as to dissipate the idea’.
These Senate hearings took place on February 24, 1956. Dulles was so irritated with the Zionist lobby that a few days later, on March 2, he took the extraordinary step of taking up the issue with Abba Eban, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States. Kyle narrates that in a ‘bitter dressing down’ of the Ambassador, the Secretary of State complained of ‘the political campaign being waged by the Israelis against the administration é the paid advertisements, the mass meetings, the resolutions, the demands of Zionist organizations, the veiled threats of domestic political reprisals’.
Back in 1956, an American President could actually confront the Israeli Lobby and still win a second term in office. Today, the new political math in Washington allows Netenyahu, an Ex-Prime Minister of Israel, to publicly instruct Bush on how to properly apply the ‘Bush doctrine’. And just to make sure the President learns his lessons well, Netenyahu can round up 98 Senators to his ‘Amen corner’.
Over the course of the last five decades, the Israeli Lobby has grown in power to the extent that it now amounts to a third major party with a political program that rivals the agendas of both the Republicans and the Democrats. Like the other two contenders for political power, the party of the Israel Firsters has enhanced its stature by shifting alliances and wooing new constituents.
AIPAC, the umbrella group of ‘official’ pro-Israeli pressure groups, is but a small component of this major third force in the American political process. What the Israel Firsters lack in terms of an actual demographic voting constituency, they make up for by having a major stake in influential media monopolies.
Let us begin with the obvious links between the mass media titans and what is essentially an ethnic lobby. Mortimier Zuckerman, the President of Major American Jewish Organizations, publishes US World and News Report. William Safire of the New York Times publicly acknowledges doing public relations work for Ariel Sharon. Thomas Friedman has spent two decades sanitizing the criminal war record of both Begin and Sharon. Ted Koppel boasts of his personal friendship with Netenyahu. At CNN, Walter Isaccson appears to be coordinating coverage with the IDF. Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post likes to pose to the right of Netenyahu. Conrad Black, the Canadian media tycoon, publishes the Jerusalem Post, which reads like a semi-official publication of the IDF.
During the Clinton years, the keys at the State Department were handed over to operatives straight from the Israeli Lobby. Martin Indyk, former head of AIPAC was made ambassador to Israel. Dennis Ross, the ‘mediator’, also had ideological roots in the lobby. Eagleburger, Holbrooke and Albright are all dedicated Israel Firsters.
With the change in administration, a new batch of pro-Israeli activists moved into key positions. Ideologically, they pose as ‘neo-conservatives’; a movement that even the New York Times reports is mostly Jewish. In fact, the proper definition of neo-conservative is an Israel Firster who wanted to be politically viable after the Reagan ‘revolution’. To a large extent, the difference between ‘neo’ and the ‘oldo’ conservatives is the country they aspire to serve. The ‘oldos’ are America Fisters, while the ‘neos’ worship the ‘old country’, a mystical Yiddish supremacist apartheid state built on the ruins of Palestine on the shores of the Eastern Mediterranean.
In the last two decades, the Israeli Lobby has expanded its constituency to include a major new base among right wing Evangelicals who believe that Israel is always right. According to this very new and very American branch of Protestant Christianity, the bible says Israeli goons can kill and maim Palestinians, steal their land and place them under a constant stage of siege. Among the followers of this ‘new religion’ is one Richard Armey, the House Majority Leader, who has publicly advocated the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the West Bank. This new ‘constituency for repression’ believes that Israel has biblical sanction to administer collective punishment and torture, destroy personal and public property and generally make life miserable for the native people of the Holy Land.
It makes little difference to these ‘Zionist Christians’ that the community they seek to ‘cleanse’ includes the oldest Christian community in the world. And it matters even less to the Israel Firsters that their doctrines also predict the mass conversion of Jews and the end of times.
Today, between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, ten million people are locked in a bitter struggle over land and destiny. Nearly half of the population between the river and the sea are native Palestinians. Their desperate cry for liberty is not only ignored by America, but tens of billions in United States tax revenues are spent to assist their tormentors.
We have an American policy in the Middle East that serves the constituency of a third party that no American has ever voted for. It is an ethnic constituency that includes lunatic elements with visions of an apocalyptic end to our one common planet.
In the aftermath of the criminal assaults on America, we are long due for an investigation of the real cause of all our troubles with radicalized elements in the Middle East. Why is our Congress investigating the CIA, the FBI and the INS, when the real focus should be on the State Department and a catastrophic foreign policy that amounted to the appeasement of a belligerent foreign state run by war criminals? Why do we have an Israeli Lobby so powerful that it acts like a major political party and constantly tampers with our foreign policy to align it with the dictates of the Likudniks in Tel Aviv? What vital American national interest is served by the continued repression of the Palestinian people?
The deadly assaults against our shores on 911 could certainly have been avoided. But the notion that any American government would have sanctioned such an assault or been lax in attempting to stop it is a bit off the wall. Yet, the fact remains that both the Clinton and Bush administrations were arrogant enough to take foreign policy risks to appease the constituency of the Israeli Lobby, the phantom third party that has come to dominate public discourse on foreign policy. It was common knowledge that there would be a price to pay for the Gulf War, the Saudi military bases, the murderous economic blockade of Iraq and the humiliating occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan. If there was an intelligence failure, it was a failure to properly assess the potential cost of our errant foreign policies.
Congress is now interrogating the intelligence community. I would rather that the intelligence community started interrogating Congress. Perhaps the INS should be called upon to sort out our governors and find out which ones deserve ID cards to properly identify them as members of the third party. But since Congress is the designated investigator, perhaps they should call for the State department to come clean with the American people. How did so many members of the Israeli Lobby end up in such prominent positions at Foggy Bottom during the Clinton years? How many have found new homes in the Bush administration? Did they serve American interests or align themselves with Sharon’s agenda? What measures can be taken to protect the State Department from the fundamentalist theology of the third party? Do certain ethnic publishers have an inordinate say in tailoring our policies in the Middle East and beyond? If Safire works for Sharon, should he still get a fair hearing with Colin Powell? I am certain that John Foster Dulles would have given a very candid response to all questions regarding the third party.
We are at a critical point in the history of the Republic and the world. It is essential that men of honor insist that proper scrutiny be paid to the third party. No rational discourse of the 911 disaster is possible without taking account of the ruthless nature of the operatives of the Israeli Lobby. Do not expect the New York Times, CNN or the Washington Post to instigate such a probe. They are very much part of the problem. It will be left to the brave voices of the alternative press to lead the charge and uncover some very basic truths about 911. The good news is that none of this is rocket science and the public record will eventually be set straight. Congress can investigate now or be investigated later.
Mr. Ahmed Amr is Editor of NileMedia.com in Seattle and a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN).