WHY JUDEO-CHRISTIAN SUPPORT WAR
C. E. Carlson
The French author, Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote Democracy in America when he traveled here in the first third of the 19th Century. In ringing tones he sang the praises of America's invulnerable strength and spirit. He attributed its greatness to its citizens' sense of morality... even with the abundant church attendances he observed in America. De Tocqueville wrote in French and is credited with this familiar quote: AMERICA IS GREAT BECAUSE SHE IS GOOD, AND IF AMERICA EVER CEASES TO BE GOOD, SHE WILL CEASE TO BE GREAT.
De Tocqueville could see the power of America, but he could not have known in 1830 that she was soon to be under an attack aimed at its churches and the very sense of morality that he extolled. First, there was a War Between the States, which scarred the powerful young nation in its strapping youth. A worse attack on America was to commence near the turn of the 20th century. This was the onset of an attack on American Christianity that continues unabated against the traditional, Christ-following church. This attack, which author Gordon Ginn calls "The final Apostasy," began with a small very wealthy and determined European political movement. It had a dream, and the American churches stood in its way.
The World Zionist movement, as its Jewish founders called themselves, had plans to acquire a homeland for all Jews worldwide, even though most were far from homeless, and many did not want another home. Not any land would do. World Zionists wanted a specific property that American Christians called "the Holy Land." But if these Zionists read "Democracy in America" or any of the journals of any of America's churches, which no doubt they did, they could not help but know that Jerusalem was not theirs to have. As self-proclaimed Jews, they were, according to the Christian New Testament, the persecutors of Christ and most of his early followers, and the engineers of his crucifixion. America's traditional churches in the 19th Century would never stand for a Jewish occupation of Jesus' homeland. World Zionist leaders initiated a program to change America and its religious orientation. One of the tools used to accomplish this goal was an obscure and malleable Civil War veteran named Cyrus I. Schofield. A much larger tool was a venerable, world respected European book publisher--The Oxford University Press.
The scheme was to alter the Christian view of Zionism by creating and promoting a pro-Zionist subculture within Christianity. Scofield's role was to re-write the King James Version of the Bible by inserting Zionist-friendly notes in the margins, between verses and chapters, and on the bottoms of the pages. The Oxford University Press used Scofield, a pastor by then, as the Editor, probably because it needed such as man for a front. The revised bible was called the Scofield Reference Bible, and with limitless advertising and promotion, it became a best-selling "bible" in America and has remained so for 90 years. The Scofield Reference Bible was not to be just another translation, subverting minor passages a little at a time. No, Scofield produced a revolutionary book that radically changed the context of the King James Version. It was designed to create a subculture around a new worship icon, the modern State of Israel, a state that did not yet exist, but which was already on the drawing boards of the committed, well-funded authors of World Zionism.
Scofield's support came from a movement that took root around the turn of the century, supposedly motivated by disillusionment over what it considered the stagnation of the mainline American churches. Some of these "reformers" were later to serve on Scofield's Editorial Committee. Scofield imitated a chain of past heretics and rapturists, most of whose credibility fizzled over their faulty end times prophesies. His mentor was one John Nelson Darby from Scotland, who was associated with the Plymouth Brethren and who made no less than six evangelical trips to the US selling what is today called "Darbyism." It is from Darby that Scofield is thought to have learned his Christian Zionist theology, which he later planted in the footnotes of the Scofield Reference Bible. It is possible that Scofield's interest in Darbyism was shared by Oxford University Press, for Darby was known to Oxford University. (The History of Darbyism) The Oxford University Press owned "The Scofield Reference Bible" from the beginning, as indicated by its copyright, and Scofield stated he received handsome royalties from Oxford. Oxford's advertisers and promoters succeeded in making Scofield's bible, with its Christian Zionist footnotes, a standard for interpreting scripture in Judeo-Christian churches, seminaries, and Bible study groups. It has been published in at least four editions since its introduction in 1908 and remains one of the largest selling Bibles ever.
The Scofield Reference Bible and its several clones is all but worshiped in the ranks of celebrity Christians, beginning with the first media icon, evangelist Billy Graham. Of particular importance to the Zionist penetration of American Christian churches has been the fast growth of national bible study organizations, such as Bible Study Fellowship and Precept Ministries. These draw millions of students from not only evangelical fundamentalist churches, but also from Catholic and mainline Protestant churches and non-church contacts. These invariably teach forms of "dispensationalism," which draw their theory, to various degrees, from the notes in the Oxford Bible.
Among more traditional churches that encourage, and in some cases recommend, the use of the Scofield Reference Bible is the huge Southern Baptist Convention of America, whose capture is World Zionism's crowning achievement. Our report on Southern Baptist Zionism, entitled "The Cause of the Conflict: Fixing Blame".
Scofield, whose work is largely believed to be the product of Darby and others, wisely chose not to change the text of the King James Edition. Instead, he added hundreds of easy-to-read footnotes at the bottom of about half of the pages, and as the Old English grammar of the KJE becomes increasingly difficult for progressive generations of readers, students become increasingly dependent on the modern language footnotes. Scofield's notes weave parts of the Old and New Testaments together as though all were written at the same time by the same people. This is a favorite device of modern dispensationalists who essentially weigh all scripture against the unspoken and preposterous theory that the older it is, the more authoritative. In many cases the Oxford references prove to be puzzling rabbit trails leading nowhere, simply diversions. Scofield's borrowed ideas were later popularized under the labels and definitions that have evolved into common usage today--"pre-millennialism," "dispensationalism," "Judeo-Christianity," and most recently the highly political movement openly called "Christian Zionism."
Thanks to the work of a few dedicated researchers, much of the questionable personal history of Cyrus I. Scofield is available. It reveals he was not a Bible scholar as one might expect, but a political animal with the charm and talent for self-promotion of a Bill Clinton. Scofield's background reveals a criminal history, a deserted wife, a wrecked family, and a penchant for self-serving lies. He was exactly the sort of man the World Zionists might hire to bend Christian thought--a controllable man and one capable of carrying the secret to his grave. (See The Incredible Scofield and His Book by Joseph M. Canfield). Other researchers have examined Scofield's eschatology and exposed his original work as apostate and heretic to traditional Christian views. Among these is a massive work by Stephen Sizer entitled Christian Zionism, Its History, Theology and Politics. We Hold These Truths is grateful to these dedicated researchers. Our own examination of the Oxford Bible has gone in another direction, focusing not on what Scofield wrote, but on some of the many additions and deletions The Oxford University Press has continued to make to Scofield Reference Bible since his death in 1921. These alterations have further radicalized the Scofield Bible into a manual for the Christian worship of the State of Israel beyond what Schofield would have dreamed of. This un-Christian anti-Arab theology has permitted the theft of Palestine and 54 years of death and destruction against the Palestinians, with hardly a complaint from the Judeo-Christian mass media evangelists or most other American church leaders. We thank God for the exceptions. It is no exaggeration to say that the 1967 Oxford 4th Edition deifies--makes a God of--the State of Israel, a state that did not even exist when Scofield wrote the original footnotes in 1908. This writer believes that, had it not been for misguided anti-Arab race hatred promoted by Christian Zionist leaders in America, neither the Gulf War nor the Israeli war against the Palestinians would have occurred, and a million or more people who have perished would be alive today.
What proof does WHTT have to incriminate World Zionism in a scheme to control Christianity? For proof we offer the words themselves that were planted in the 1967 Edition, 20 years after the State of Israel was created in 1947, and 46 years after Scofield's death. The words tell us that those who control the Oxford Press recreated a bible to misguide Christians and sell flaming Zionism in the churches of America. There is little reason to believe that Scofield knew or cared much about the Zionist movement, but at some point, he became involved in a close and secret relationship with Samuel Untermeyer, a New York lawyer whose firm still exists today and one of the wealthiest and most powerful World Zionists in America. Untermeyer controlled the unbreakable thread that connected him with Scofield. They shared a password and a common watering hole--and it appears that Untermeyer may have been the one who provided the money that Scofield himself lacked. Scofield's success as an international bible editor without portfolio and his lavish living in Europe could only have been accomplished with financial aid and international influence. This connection might have remained hidden, were it not for the work of Joseph M. Canfield, the author and researcher who discovered clues to the thread in Scofield family papers. But even had the threads connecting Scofield to Untermeyer and Zionism never been exposed, it would still be obvious that that connection was there. It is significant that Oxford, not Scofield, owned the book, and that after Scofield's death, Oxford accelerated changes to it. Since the death of its original author and namesake, The Scofield Reference Bible has gone through several editions. Massive pro-Zionist notes were added to the 1967 edition, and some of Scofield's most significant notes from the original editions were removed where they apparently failed to further Zionist aims fast enough. Yet this edition retains the title, "The New Scofield Reference Bible, Holy Bible, Editor C.I. Scofield." It's anti-Arab, Christian subculture theology has made an enormous contribution to war, turning Christians into participants in genocide against Arabs in the latter half of the 20th century. The most convincing evidence of the unseen Zionist hand that wrote the Scofield notes to the venerable King James Bible is the content of the notes themselves, for only Zionists could have written them. These notes are the subject of this paper.
Oxford edited the former 1945 Edition of SRB in 1967, at the time of the Six Day War when Israel occupied Palestine. The new footnotes to the King James Bible presumptuously granted the rights to the Palestinians' land to the State of Israel and specifically denied the Arab Palestinians any such rights at all. One of the most brazen and outrageous of these NEWLY INSERTED footnotes states: "FOR A NATION TO COMMIT THE SIN OF ANTI-SEMITISM BRINGS INEVITABLE JUDGMENT." (page 19-20, footnote (3) to Genesis 12:3.) (our emphasis added) This statement sounds like something from Ariel Sharon, or the Chief Rabbi in Tel Aviv, or Theodore Herzl, the founder of Modern Zionism. But these exact words are found between the covers of the 1967 Edition of the Oxford Bible that is followed by millions of American churchgoers and students and is used by their leaders as a source for their preaching and teaching.
There is no word for "anti-Semitism" in the New Testament, nor is it found among the Ten Commandments. "Sin," this writer was taught, is a personal concept. It is something done by individuals in conflict with God's words, not by "nations." Even Sodom did not sin--its people did. The word "judgment" in the Bible always refers to God's action. In the Christian New Testament, Jesus promises both judgment and salvation for believing individuals, not for "nations."
There was also no "State of Israel" when Scofield wrote his original notes in his concocted Scofield Reference Bible in 1908. All references to Israel as a state were added AFTER 1947, when Israel was granted statehood by edict of the United Nations. The Oxford University Press simply rewrote its version of the Christian Bible in 1967 to make antipathy toward the "State of Israel" a "sin." Israel is made a god to be worshiped, not merely a "state." David Ben-Gurion could not have written it better. Perhaps he did write it!
The Oxford 1967 Edition continues on page 19: "(2) GOD MADE AN UNCONDITIONAL PROMISE OF BLESSINGS THROUGH ABRAM'S SEED (a) TO THE NATION OF ISRAEL TO INHERIT A SPECIFIC TERRITORY FOREVER" "(3) THERE IS A PROMISE OF BLESSING UPON THOSE INDIVIDUALS AND NATIONS WHO BLESS ABRAM'S DESCENDANTS, AND A CURSE LAID UPON THOSE WHO PERSECUTE THE JEWS." (Page 19, 1967 Edition Genesis 12:1-3) This bequeath is joined to an Oxford prophesy that never occurs in the Bible itself: "IT HAS INVARIABLY FARED ILL WITH THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE PERSECUTED THE JEW, WELL WITH THOSE WHO HAVE PROTECTED HIM." and "THE FUTURE WILL STILL MORE REMARKABLY PROVE THIS PRINCIPLE"(footnote (3) bottom of page19-20Genesis 12:3) None of these notes appeared in the original Scofield Reference Bible or in the 1917 or 1945 editions. The state of Israel DID NOT EXIST in 1945, and according to the best dictionaries of the time, the word "Israel" only referred to a particular man and an ancient tribe, which is consistent with the Bible text. See "Israel," Webster's New International Dictionary 2nd (1950) Edition.
All of this language, including the prophecy about the future being really bad for those who "persecute the Jews," reflects and furthers the goals of the Anti-Defamation League, which has a stated goal of creating an environment where opposing the State of Israel is considered "anti-Semitism," and "anti-Semitism" is a "hate crime" punishable by law. This dream has become a reality in the Christian Zionist churches of America. Only someone with these goals could have written this footnote. The State of Israel's legal claims to Arab lands are based on the United Nations Partitioning Agreement of 1947, which gave the Jews only a fraction of the land they have since occupied by force. But when this author went to Israel and asked various Israelis where they got the right to occupy Palestine, each invariably said words to the effect that "God gave it to us." This interpretation of Hebrew scripture stems from the book of Genesis and is called the "Abrahamic Covenant". It is repeated several times and begins with God's promise to a man called Abraham who was eventually to become the grandfather of a man called "Israel:"
" AND I WILL MAKE OF THEE A GREAT NATION, AND I WILL BLESS THEE, AND MAKE THY NAME GREAT; AND THOU SHALL BE A BLESSING:" " AND I WILL BLESS THEM THAT BLESS THEE, AND CURSE HIM THAT CURSETH THEE: AND IN THEE SHALL ALL FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED." Genesis 12:3, King James Edition. It is upon this promise to a single person that modern Israeli Zionists base their claims to what amounts to the entire Mid-East. Its logic is roughly the equivalent of someone claiming to be the heir to the John Paul Getty estate because the great man had once sent a letter to someone's cousin seven times removed containing the salutation "wishing you my very best." In "Sherry's War," We Hold These Truths provides a common sense discussion of the Abrahamic Covenant and how millions of Christians are taught to misunderstand it.
It is tempting to engage in academic arguments to show readers the lack of logic in Scofield's theology, which has led followers of Christ so far astray. It seems all too easy to refute the various Bible references given in support of Scofield's strange writings. But we will resist the temptation to do this, because others have already done it quite well, and more importantly because it leads us off our course. It is also inviting to dig into Scofield's sordid past as Canfield has done, revealing him to be a convicted felon and probable pathological liar, but we leave that to others, because our interest is not in Scofield's life, but in saving the lives of millions of innocent people who are threatened by the continuing Zionist push for perpetual war. Instead, we will examine the words on their face. The words in these 1967 footnotes are Zionist propaganda that has been tacked onto the text of a Christian Bible. Most of them make no sense, except to support the Zionist State of Israel in its war against the Palestinians and any other wars it may enter into. In this purpose, Zionism has completely succeeded. American Judeo-Christians, more recently labeled "Christian Zionists," have remained mute during wars upon Israel's enemies in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and elsewhere. It is past time to stop the spilling of more blood, some of it Christian blood.
Now, for evidence of the intent of the Zionists deception of Christians, let us examine some Scofield's notes THAT HAVE BEEN ALTERED OR REMOVED by Oxford after his death. In 1908 Scofield wrote in 1908: "THE CONTRAST, 'I KNOW THAT YE ARE ABRAHAM'S SEED' - 'IF YE WERE ABRAHAM'S CHILDREN' IS THAT BETWEEN THE NATURAL AND THE SPIRITUAL POSTERITY OF ABRAHAM. THE ISRAELITISH PEOPLE AND ISHMAELITISH PEOPLE ARE THE FORMER; ALL WHO ARE 'OF THE PRECIOUS FAITH WITH ABRAHAM,' WHETHER JEWS OR GENTILES, ARE THE LATTER (ROM 9, 6-8; GAL, 4-14. SEE 'ABRAHAMIC COVENANT' GEN 15, 18, NOTE)." ( Scofield's 1945 page 1127, note to John 8:39) Compare that with the Oxford note substituted in the 1967 Edition: "8:37 ALL JEWS ARE NATURAL DESCENDANTS OF ABRAHAM, BUT ARE NOT NECESSARILY HIS SPIRITUAL POSTERITY, CP Rom 9-6-8, Gal 3: 6-14" (Note (1) P1136, Oxford 1967 Edition, note to Jn 8:37.) How, pray tell, can "all Jews" be "natural descendants of Abraham," a Chaldean who lived some 3000 years ago? Persons of all races are Jews and new Jews are being converted every day from every race. One might as well say all Lutherans are the natural descendants of Martin Luther; or that all Baptists come from the loins of John the Baptist. This note could only have been written by an Israeli patriot, for no one else would have a vested interest in promoting this genetic nonsense. Shame on those who accept this racism; it is apostate Christianity.
The original Scofield note was far out of line with traditional Christianity in 1908 and should have been treated as heresy then. Yet Scofield had failed to go far enough for the Zionists. Scofield clearly recognized what the book of Genesis states, that the sons of Ishmael are co-heirs to Abraham's ancient promise. Did not Scofield say "the Israelitish people and Ishmaelitish people are...the natural posterity of Abraham"? The Oxford Press simply waited for Scofield to die and changed it as they wished. And what is it that Scofield said that did not satisfy the Zionists who rewrote the Oxford 1967 Edition? The answer is an easy one. Most Arab and Islamic scholars consider Arabs in general and the Prophet Mohamed in particular to be direct descendants of Ishmael, Abraham's first son and older half-brother of Isaac, whose son Jacob was later to become known as "Israel." Many Arabs believe that through Ishmael they are co-heirs of to Abraham's promise, and they correctly believe that present-day Israelis have no Biblical right to steal their land. Jewish Talmudic folklore also speaks of Ishmael, so the Zionists apparently felt they had to alter how Christians viewed the two half brothers in order to prevent Christians from siding with the Arabs over the land theft. The Zionists solved this dilemma by inserting a senseless footnote in the 1967 (Oxford) Scofield Reference Bible which, in effect, substitutes the word "Jews" for the words "The Israelitish people and Ishmaelitish people," as Scofield originally wrote it. The Israelitish and Ishmaelitish people lived 3000 years ago, but the Zionists want to claim the Arabs' part of the presumed birthright right now! Read it again; "all Jews are natural descendants of Abraham, but are not necessarily his spiritual posterity." And there is more of such boondogglery in the Oxford bible. On the same page 1137 we find yet another brand new Zionist-friendly note referring to the New Testament book of John 8:37. "(2) 8:44 THAT THIS SATANIC FATHERHOOD CANNOT BE LIMITED TO THE PHARISEES IS MADE CLEAR IN 1Jn3:8-10" (note SRB 1967 Edition, P1137 to John 8:44) Let us look at the verse Oxford is trying to soften, wherein Jesus is speaking directly to the Pharisees, who were the Jewish leaders of his day, and to no one else: "YE ARE OF YOUR FATHER THE DEVIL, AND THE LUST OF YOUR FATHER YE WILL DO. HE WAS A MURDERER FROM THE BEGINNING, AND ABODE NOT IN THE TRUTH, BECAUSE THERE IS NO TRUTH IN HIM. WHEN HE SPEAKEST A LIE, HE SPEAKEST OF HIS OWN; FOR HE IS A LIAR, AND THE FATHER OF IT." John 8:44 King James Ed.) Those are plain words. No wonder the Zionists wanted to dilute what Jesus said. Not only did Oxford add a new footnote in 1967, but they inserted no less than four reference cues into the King James sacred text, directing readers to their specious, apostate footnotes. It seems the Zionists cannot deny what Jesus said about Pharisees, but they do not want to bear the burden of being "sons of Satan" all by themselves. Now here's the text of the verse to which Oxford refers in order to try to solve this problem: "HE THAT COMMITETH SIN IS OF THE DEVIL; FOR THE DEVIL SINNETH FROM THE BEGINNING. FOR THIS PURPOSE THE SON OF GOD WAS MANIFESTED, THAT HE MIGHT DESTROY THE WORK OF THE DEVIL." (1Jn3:8.King James Edition) Fine, but this verse, spoken by Jesus to His followers in a speech about avoiding sin, in no way supports Oxford's argument that Jesus was not talking directly to and about the Pharisee leaders when he called them "Sons of Satan" in John 8:44. It is a different book written at a different time to a different audience. This is typical Christian Zionist diversion.
To find out to whom Jesus is speaking you must read the rest of John 8, not something from another book. Furthermore, John 8:44 is only one of some 77 verses where Jesus confronted the Pharisees by name and in many cases addressed them as "satanic" and as "vipers." Oxford simply ignores most of these denunciations by Jesus, adding no notes at all, and the Christian Zionists go along without question. These are a few examples of Zionist perversions of scripture that have shaped the doctrine of America's most politically powerful religious subculture, the "Christian Zionists" as Ariel Sharon calls them, or the dispensationalists, as intellectual followers call themselves, or the Judeo-Christians as our politically-correct politicians describe themselves. Today's Mid-East wars are not caused by the predisposition of the peoples, who are no more warlike than any human tribes. Without the pandering to Jewish and Zionist interests that is carried out by this subculture--the most vocal being the celebrity Christian evangelists--there would be no such wars, for there is not enough support for war outside of organized Zionist Christianity.
Reverend Stephen Sizer of Christ Church, England is perhaps the most dedicated new scholar writing about the Scofield Bible craze, popularly known as Christian Zionism. He has quipped, "Judging Christianity by looking at the American Evangelists is kind of like judging the British by watching Benny Hill."
Reverend Sizer's remark brings to mind another Benny; his name is Benny Hinn, not a British comic, but an American evangelist spouting inflammatory hate-filled words aimed at Muslims everywhere. Hinn was speaking to the applause of an aroused crowd of thousands in the American Airline Center in Dallas when he shocked two Ft. Worth Star Telegram religious reporters covering the July 3d event by announcing, "We are on God's side," speaking of Palestine. He shouted, "This is not a war between Jews and Arabs. It is a war between God and the Devil." Lest there be any doubt about it, Hinn was talking about a blood war in which the Israelis are "God" and the Palestinians are "the Devil."
Benny Hinn is one of hundreds of acknowledged Christian Zionists who have no problem spouting outright race hatred and who join in unconditional support for Israel without regard for which or how many of Israel's enemies are killed or crippled. His boldness stems from his knowledge that the vast majority of professing Christians from whom he seeks his lavish support-the Judeo-Christians, or Christian Zionists--do not shrink at his words, because they have been conditioned to accept them, just as Roman citizens learned to accept Christian persecution, even burning alive, under Nero. Several evangelists in attendance affirmed their agreement with Hinn - "the line between Christians and Muslims is the difference between good and evil."
An amazing number of professing Christians are in agreement with the fanatical likes of Hinn, including Gary Bauer, Ralph Reed, James Dobson and hundreds more. Yet Hinn's profit-seeking fanaticism is not as shocking as that of men like Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention who occupy the highest positions in the area of conservative religious thought. Land may have stopped short of branding all Muslims as devils, but he attacked their leader and Prophet and stated that, according to Baptist Bible interpretation, the Palestinian people have no legal rights to property in Palestine. (See our discussion of Southern Baptists entitled "The Cause of the Conflict: Fixing Blame".)
The more politically conservative and libertarian the speaker expressing hatred for Islam, the more shocking the statement sounds. One example is Samuel Blumenfeld, a veteran textbook author and advocate of home education. His attack on Islam in a story entitled "Religion and Satanism" in the April 2002 conservative, Calvinist Chalcedon Report leaves little room for civil liberties and freedom of thought. He writes, "Islam is a religion ruled by Satan," and asks, "Can anyone under the influence of Satan be trusted?" Blumenfeld shows poor judgment and a lack of morality when he allows phrases such as "willing agents of Satan," "another manifestation of Satanism" and "the willingness of Muslims to believe blatant lies," to spill from his pen.
How can anyone interpret these words by Land, Hinn, Blumenfeld, and yes, our own President, as anything less than race hatred? Who would make such generalized and transparently false statements against any other minority except Muslims? About 100 million American Christians need to recover their true faith in Christ Jesus, who never denounced any individual on account of his group. Jesus even tried to save the Pharisees, and only denounced them when they showed themselves to be deceivers. There is not a word in the New Testament that urges any follower of Jesus to murder one child in Iraq or condemn Palestine to death. Race hatred is a Zionist, not a Christian, strategy.
Christian Zionism may be the most bloodthirsty apostasy in the entire history of Christianity or any other religion. Shame on its leaders: they have already brought the blood of untold numbers innocent people down upon the spires and prayer benches of America's churches. WHTT asks every Christian to share this article with pastors and church leaders, especially lay leaders. We ask every Muslim and Jew who reads it to do the same. You might wish to suspend giving money to any organizations that preach Zionist race hatred in any form, especially under the cover Jesus Christ. And lastly, We Hold These Truths invites your informed comments and questions. -Copyright 2002, WHTT, may be reproduced in full with permission.
Resources from WHTT. Listen to: "Kulture Klash II, How Oxford University Press and CI Scofield stole the Christian Bible" on WHTT Internet Talk Radio. Also available on tape. The Incredible Scofield and His Book, Joseph M. Canfield, hard cover. (soon available) Sherry's War: Twenty page research paper plus 1 hour audiotape by C. E. Carlson, - How Judeo-Christians mix and match scripture verses and use of extra text out of context to promote the Pop Church's "chosen people" and end times scenario. Sherry and many other well-meaning, professed Christians have justified war against Arab people without a scrap of scriptural support and with little knowledge of the conflict. "Sherry's War" offers insight into current Christian sub-culture and why many have justified or ignored the brutal assassinations of Islamic peoples simply because they are not Israelis or Christian. An introduction to WHTT's classic 20-page study by the same name; Sent to all contributors. The Final Apostasy - by Gordon Ginn Ph.D. Is your church apostate, would you know it if it were? A book that reveals the untold historical and documented ex-post facto changes made in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament...after Christ. These changes have affected what all of us believe, from the Reformation to Day911. Ginn sheds light on the turmoil in the Middle East and reveals the results of some Christians' tragic errors in accepting the "Final Apostasy". 218 pages Would you like to support our work? Copyright (c) 2001-2003, We Hold These Truths All Rights Reserved Please send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org May be reproduced only in full.
By Yoginder Sikand CounterCurrents.org
Represented by literally hundreds of small denominations and churches today, particularly in America, Christian Zionism is today a formidable force and a major actor in global politics. Christian Zionism comes in various shades, but the core of its message is total, unflinching support to the state of Israel and the Zionist imperialist project. Christian Zionists today exercise an enormous clout in the Bush administration. Bush, too, may himself be characterised in some sense as a Christian Zionist, for his policies in the Middle East and elsewhere clearly reflect or tally with the Christian Zionist agenda.
War, conquest and imperialist domination, based on a fanatic insistence on the absolute truth of Christianity and the racial superiority of the Jews lie at the very heart of Christian Zionism. Christian Zionists believe that the Jews are God's 'Chosen People' and that God has given the Jews the absolute right to complete control over not just Palestine but, indeed, a vast stretch of territory, extending from present-day Egypt to Iraq, the so-called 'Greater Israel'. God, they claim, has selected the Jews above all other people. Hence, they insist, those who oppose the imperialist project of the advocates of 'Greater Israel' or the Zionist occupation of Palestine are 'God's enemies', deserving to be crushed by every available means, including outright war and decimation.
Advocating Israel does not mean, however, that Christian Zionists accept Judaism as a legitimate means of salvation after Jesus. Nor does it translate into genuine love for the Jews, a departure from the traditional teachings of the Church that, for centuries, viewed Jews as 'Christ-killers'. Since Christian Zionists believe that Christianity is the only religion acceptable to God, and that, as the Bible claims, salvation is possible only through Jesus, they insist that Jews cannot be 'saved' unless they convert to Christianity. Yet, because Christian Zionists are dogged defenders of the state of Israel and are fiercely anti-Arab and anti-Muslim, they have been able to establish a close nexus with right-wing Jewish groups and with the Israeli state and are today an integral part of the American-Israeli axis.
Christian Zionism is a call for global war. The belief that Christianity is the sole truth, that all other faiths are 'Satanic' or 'false', that the Jews must all gather in Palestine to fulfil so-called Biblical prophecies, and that a grand global war will soon erupt leading to the massacre of hundreds of millions and heralding the 'second coming' of Jesus, who will establish his Christian kingdom extending till the four corners of the world, clearly indicate the hate-driven, global expansionist project of Christian Zionism.
John Hagee is a prime example of a Christian Zionist zealot. He is the founder and pastor of the Cornerstone Church, in Texas, USA, which claims some 16,000 members. As with numerous other similar American Christian fundamentalist preachers, his church is richly endowed and media savvy. Hagee is the president of the 'Global Evangelism' media company that broadcasts his daily programmes on television and radio throughout the USA and around the world. He is the author of numerous books on Christian Zionism, some of which have been reprinted by Christian fundamentalist publishers abroad as well.
'Final Dawn Over Jerusalem' is one of Hagee's major writings on Christian Zionism that well exemplifies the imperialist agenda that lies at its very core. The aim of the book is to defend the Israeli occupation of Palestine, to denounce those who seek to protest Israeli atrocities, and to advocate the cause of 'Greater Israel', all this in the name of Christianity and premised on the notion of the Jews as being allegedly God's 'Chosen People'.
Racism is integral to the Christian Zionist message, as Hagee makes amply clear. The Bible, Hagee, says, describes the Jews as 'the apple of God's eye' [Zech 2:8]. He quotes the Bible as addressing the Jews and declaring, 'For you are a holy people to the LORD your God' and 'the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth' [Deut.14:2]. This means, so Hagee argues, that those who harm the Jews or the state of Israel or stand in the way of the design of 'Greater Israel' will 'experience the instant wrath of God'. To those who dare to challenge the oppressive Zionist state, Hagee announces, 'The man or nation that lifts a voice or hand against Israel invites the wrath of God'. Such people will, Hagee insists, be 'cursed' by God.
Hagee's notion of God thus appears to be that of a tribal Jewish deity, who functions as a willing tool in the pursuit of Jewish expansionism. The Bible was written by Jewish hands, and given that, as many liberal Christians would themselves concede, much of it is a human product, numerous Biblical verses were written in order to legitimise the interests of the community from which its writers were drawn. This would seem obvious to any discerning layman, but Biblical literalists like Hagee vehemently disagree. For them every word of the Bible is sacrosanct and divine. Biblical literalism is pressed into the service of the Christian Zionist imperialist and racist agenda. Drawing upon numerous verses of the Bible, Hagee argues, 'God watches over Israel as a protective parent hovers over an only child'. 'The nation of Israel', he makes so bold as to declare, 'was created by a sovereign act of God. All other nations were created by an act of war or a declaration of men, but Israel was intentionally created by God so that He would have a physical place of inheritance on the earth'. Accordingly, Hagee would have us believe that for this god, who is seen as in need of a 'physical place' for himself, non-Jews or Gentiles, are second-rate human beings or less, and so can easily be dispensed with if they are seen as coming in the way of Jewish imperialism.
The tribal Jewish version of God that Hagee presents appears entirely unjust and arbitrary, far from being impartial in the way he deals with His creation. Given the fact that the God of the Biblical literalist imagination is a Jewish deity, and not the universal God who looks upon His entire creation impartially, he is seen as blessing Jewish conquests of territories of their enemies. Thus, quoting the Bible, Hagee writes that God gave the land of 'Greater Israel', a vast swathe of land stretching from Egypt all the way till Iraq, to the Jews, descendants of Isaac, forever. That being the case, Hagee suggests that people living in those territories, millions of Arabs, both Muslims and Christians, have no right to live there or else must accept to live under Jewish rule. Although Hagee does not say this explicitly, what this means is that those who refuse to accept Jewish rule must, therefore, be either killed or expelled.
The god of Hagee's imagination appears as an entirely whimsical real estate agent. 'God established Israel's national geographic boundaries', Hagee writes. 'The exact borders of Israel are detailed in Scripture just as our heavenly Father dictated them', he goes on, adding, 'The divine Surveyor drove the original stakes into Judean soil and decreed that no one should ever change these property lines. The real estate contract and lands covenants were signed in blood and stand to this very hour'. Hence, he argues, 'Jews have the absolute right as mandated by God to the land of Israel and, more specifically, to the city of Jerusalem'. Hence, he suggests, Palestinians have no claim to their own historical land, and must make way for Jewish occupiers.
Hagee's defence of Zionist imperialism goes to ridiculous lengths. Laughable as this may sound, he argues, 'Israel has a Spy in the sky'-God Himself. God, he claims, provides Israel, the Jewish people and the state of Israel, with special protection. 'No nation in the world can match the defensive force guarding the State of Israel. The archangel Michael has a special assignment to guard Israel'. And those who, for any reason oppose Israel, and this includes Palestinians fighting Israeli occupation and oppression, are said to incur God's wrath. 'The Lord stands watch in the darkest night with an eye trained on the nation of Israel and, more specifically, Jerusalem. Those who fight with Israel fight with Him', Hagee asserts.
So central is Israel to Hagee's tribalistic version of God that he goes to the extent of arguing that the fate of each and every person on the face of the planet depends essentially on his or her attitude to the Jews. 'Prosperity or punishment depends on how we treat Israel', he alleges, because, he claims, the Jews, as descendants of Abraham 'enjoy heavenly favour'. To back his claim he quotes the Bible as saying that when God entered into a covenant with Abraham, He gave him an 'awesome promise', saying, 'I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed' [Gen. 12:3]. Hence, Hagee insists, the United States, and, indeed, anyone else who wishes to please God, must consistently engage in 'compassionate support of the State of Israel', adding that, 'The quickest and most effective way to be on God's side is to stand with the State of Israel and the Jewish people in their hour of need'. By doing this, he claims, one can win God's favour, because, 'God blesses the man or nation that blesses Israel or the Jewish people'.
At no time before, Hagee firmly believes, has support for Israel and Zionist imperialism, been more crucial than today. This is because, he claims, Jesus is returning to the world soon, and Israel must be protected in order to welcome the Messiah. Hagee's image of Jesus in his 'second coming' bears no resemblance to the familiar notion of the suffering, loving Jesus. Rather, in his description Jesus appears as a fierce warrior, rallying Christians to arms and heralding the final, global war, ironically in the name of the 'Prince of Peace'. In the doomsday scenario that Hagee outlines, what he calls 'fanatical attacks' by Arabs on Israel, particularly Jerusalem, would mount. In response, Christ ians the world over, he says, must rally behind Israel. At this hour, he insists, 'we must let the world know that if a line has to be drawn, it will be drawn around Christians as well as Jews. We are united and indivisible'.
The city of Jersualem, Hagee believes, is the crux of the final battle before Jesus' 'second coming'. This city, considered sacred by Jews, Muslims and Christians alike, has been ordained, so Hagee argues, by God to be 'under the exclusive control of the Jewish people' until Jesus arrives again. The final battle of Armageddon will, he writes, be centred on this city, with Arabs or Muslims seeking to wrest control of it from the Jews. In this regard, Hagee says, Christians, for their part, must staunchly defend Israel and must refuse any peace offers, such as allowing for a shared Jerusalem or joint control of the town by Jews and Arabs. In particular, he appeals to the United States to do everything in its power to back Israel and to crush its opponents, claiming this is the only way to win God's favour. If America fails to do this, he warns, it would be crushed by God Himself!
Quoting various verses of the Bible, Hagee describes what he sees as the unfolding of events of cosmic proportions, ushering in a global war the like of which has never been witnessed hitherto and heralding the 'second coming of Jesus'. In this global war, he says, Muslims, whom he regards as followers of a 'false' religion, would ally with the Russians to fight against Israel. This would lead to a global nuclear war, with hundreds of millions being killed. At this point, the 'Anti-Christ' will appear, attack Jerusalem and will take over the reigns of the world, falsely claiming to usher in peace. But, this grand deception will not last long, and, instead, will only lead to even more devastating wars. At this time, Hagee says, Christians must defend, by every means possible, the Jews and Israel, and wage war against the armies of those opposed to God's 'Chosen Race', the Jews. Only then can they be saved, he insists.
After years of global war and terrible destruction, Hagee writes, Jesus will be sent by God to deliver the world. Mounted on a white horse, he will arrive at the battlefield at Armageddon. Defeating the 'Anti-Christ' and his army, he will establish his global kingdom with his capital in Jerusalem, there to 'rule and reign forever'. Hagee's description of Jesus' future global kingdom offers little cause to cheer for non-Christians, including, ironically, even the Jews whom he so ardently defends. It would, as he himself makes clear, be nothing short of a global Christian empire, and an antiquated one at that, with kings and queens and presidents still in place! How they would continue to be around when Jesus rules the whole world is a mystery that Hagee leaves unsolved.
Ruled by Jesus, Hagee writes, 'Jerusalem, the apple of God's eye, will become the joy of the world. The city will become the international worship center, and people from all over the world will make pilgrimages to worship in the holy temple. Kings, queens, princes and presidents shall come to the Holy City' to adore Jesus. Presumably, these all will be Christians themselves, for Hagee quotes the Bible as predicting that 'at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father'.
As Hagee's book clearly indicates, Christian Zionism, rooted in tradition of the Crusades and a long history of Church triumphalism, is a recipe for global war and Christian imperialism. Moreover, it reflects a total lack of genuine spirituality, seeking to reduce the notion of God into a petty, whimsical and racist dictator who willingly urges the slaughter of innocents in order to protect the expansionist designs of his supposedly 'Chosen People'. Of course, Christian Zionism is hardly unique in its use of religion for such blatantly political ends, but given the immense clout enjoyed by its advocates today, especially in America, it is a much more menacing threat to world peace than is sometimes imagined and cannot be simply dismissed as the ravings of lunatics on the fringe.
Reproduced gratefully from: www.CounterCurrents.org
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 Sumaria-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 ancestral homes.
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 on Congress.
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 foreign-policy challenge. 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 necessity." If Bush suspends U.S. aid, he will liberate all Americans from long years of bondage to Israel's misdeeds.
Paul Findley, a Representative from Illinois 1961-83, is the author of three books related to the Middle East, the latest being Silent No More: Confronting America's False Images of Islam. He resides in Jacksonville, Illinois.
For the facts about the USS Liberty, visit: http://www.ussliberty.com or http://home.cfl.rr.com/gidusko/liberty/
ALFRED M. LILIENTHAL
It had been a nasty, rainy night when an elderly, affluent Hartford couple made their way from their home to a meeting. As their car slowly turned left at the entrance to the Jewish Community Center, another automobile raced out of the fog and rammed into them. My cousin, whose countless civil and philanthropic deeds had endeared her to the community, was dead before she could reach the hospital; her husband seriously injured.
Ever since the appearance of my Readers' Digest article, in which I crossed swords with Zionist Organization chieftain, Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, my relatives in Hartford had looked upon me as a plain and simple nut, if not a traitor. Former close family ties had deteriorated to a point of near-total ostracism. Nevertheless, blood is thicker than water, and I rushed to Connecticut for the last rites of a wonderful woman, and was among the 800 to pay Sunday morning tribute to her in a packed synagogue-the very one from which, in the presence of many family members, I had been excoriated by the rabbi during the High Holy Days services thirty years earlier for daring to speak out publicly against Zionism.
Having flown up from Washington, I spent the night at the home of other cousins from whom my iconoclastic views had separated me even before the Digest piece appeared.
Cousin Bern and I stayed up reminiscing late into the night, and, of course, the Middle East crisis came into our conversation. "You know, I have never been a Zionist," he said. "But something had to be done to provide a home for Jewish refugees. That is why I have always supported the State of Israel, given substantially to the UJA, and even headed the Hartford drive." This reasoning, so typical of thousands of other Jews, has been responsible for the Zionist takeover of the American Jewish community-lock, stock and barrel.
My rejoinder, I feared, fell on ears as deaf as those I had encountered in my continual efforts to open doors to reasoning and to banish emotionalism. Americans of Jewish faith cannot visualize the extent to which their rabbis and secular leadership, operating through Organized Jewry, have totally deceived them into confusing humanitarianism with nation-building, religion and nationalism. A home could have been found in 1947 for the 285 000 survivors of Hitler's concentration camps without ever establishing a state; just as today security for the Jews of Israel can be obtained without the continued expansionism wrought by the West Bank settlements policy or the ruthless repression of the rights of the Palestinian people.
But only an ever-larger state will appease the hungry ambitions of Zionist leaders. Privately they have incessantly declared that they have no interest in refugees, only in creating a sovereign state. In their atheism and agnosticism, they have manifested even less concern for Judaism, the religious faith. Adroitly exploiting Nazi genocide, their propaganda has used the Holocaust to extract a blank check from Zionist and non-Zionist co-religionists which enabled them in 1948 to bet the future of American Judaism on the roulette of power politics.
Speaking unqualifiedly in the name of all Jews, Zionist acumen made certain that the politicians remained hypnotized more than ever by the "Jewish vote." All they had to do was to remind both political parties that their eloquent support of Israel was a prerequisite for their conquest of pivotal election states.
When so much is at stake in the Middle East, inevitably the question must arise: How has the Zionist will been imposed on the American people? Far from all Jews believed in the concept of the Jewish state, and the Jews themselves constituted but a very small minority of the American population, less than three percent. Is it possible that Americans have been so apathetic that six million can manipulate 230 million?
But there are many compelling reasons why population figures are of little relevance to the Zionist success story. Mahatma Gandhi once remarked: "Numbers are not critical to any struggle. Strength and purpose are." This strength, matched by wealth and position, can be summed up in one word: power. The Zionists have been able to muster fantastic muscle at the right moment and at the right place, or instill the fear that it might be used.
The triumph of Zionism would never have been Possible without the 20th century's Holy Trinity: Hitler, the supine politicians and the compliant media. By labeling those who opposed the course upon which Israeli leadership intractably committed their new state as "anti-Semitic," they crushed budding dissent. Without understanding the underlying reasons, the Jewish rank and file could point to the large number of prominent Christian supporters of the state and boast: "Just as it is not necessary to be Jewish to love Levy's rye bread, so one need not be Jewish to be a Zionist." Everyone loves a winner. What little organized opposition there was to Zionism totally collapsed with Israel's stirring victory in the June 1967 six-day war. The anti-Zionist American Council for Judaism all but vanished, and thereafter, even non-Zionists were not ashamed to be counted in Zionists ranks, as Commentary editor Norman Podhertz so loudly proclaimed in "Now, Instant Zionism."
A principal reason for the remarkable political success achieved by the Jewish connection and the Zionist connectors lies deep in the American political system. Our system of representative government has been profoundly affected by the growing influence and affluence of minority pressure groups, whose strength invariably increases as presidential elections approach. This makes it virtually impossible to formulate foreign policy in the American national interest. The Electoral College system has greatly fortified the position of the national lobbies established by ethnic, religious and other minority pressure groups-the Jewish-Zionist-Israel lobby in particular.
Under this anachronistic system, state votes go as a unit to the candidate winning a plurality of the vote, which endows a well-organized lobby with tremendous bargaining power. And the Jewish connection has been augmented by the Jewish location: seventy-six percent of American Jewry is concentrated in sixteen cities of six states -California, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio and Florida-with 181 electoral votes. It only takes 270 electoral votes to elect the next President of the United States.
This explains why the politicians have been mesmerized by fear of the "Jewish vote" in a hotly contested state. The inordinate Israelist influence over the White House, the Congress and other elected officials, stems from this ability to pander bloc votes, as well as to fill the campaign coffers of both parties with timely contributions. The individual Jew who might not go along with Zionist ideology or Jewish nationalism is too cowardly to speak out and take the usurpers of his voice to task; and so the peddling goes forward.
Few Jews appreciate the methodology employed by the powerful Zionist lobby in Washington to keep the politicians in line. It's not exactly pretty, and even in the declining morality of our day, I am certain that many would be revolted by what is done in their name to help the Middle East's "bastion of democracy."
This lobby, fully integrated within our national elective process, has become intrinsic to the warp and woof of the U.S. political system for the past thirty-two years. Show me a man who is running for President, and I will show you invariably a politician who will not dare offend this potent lobby. Show me a legislator in either branch of the congress, and I will show you an office holder who invariably bows to this powerful pressure group. Whereas other pressure groups may have to comb the congressional offices, arguing the merits of certain proposals in order to gain the necessary affirmative votes, the Israeli lobby channels information to its many allies in Congress, rounds up scores of assured votes when they are needed, and has the pleasant task of urging well-intentioned, overly eager members not to wander off with their own competing legislation in support of Israel.
During the height of the 1973 war, a thirty-six hour phone blitz by I.L. Kenen, the head of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC, the Israeli lobby), resulted, on 18 October, in the immediate introduction of legislation in both houses to transfer "Phantom aircraft and other equipment in the quantities needed by Israel to repel aggressors in the amount of $2.2 billion." A massive campaign prefaced the passage of this military aid bill, and an attempt to strip $500 million from the legislation was defeated when Kenen fired off ninety-five telegrams to House Appropriations and Foreign Affairs Committee members.
When the influential chairman of the latter committee, Clement J. Zablocki, sought across-the-board reductions in military exports to Middle East countries, including Israel, he found himself forced to bow to Zionist pressure. The "Israel-Firsters" and AIPAG moved to block him from assuming the chairmanship of the committee in the 95th Congress. Only after a bitter, behind the scenes, conference was an amicable arrangement worked out. The Congressman has not since opposed any of Israel's lofty ambitions on Capitol Hill.
Surprisingly, it was the New York Times itself, usually the staunchest supporter of Zionist and Israeli goals, which exposed and analyzed frankly the activities of this most powerful of pressure groups in an August 1975 article. As a demonstration of an allegedly new, U.S. impartiality, President Ford had agreed to sell Jordan the improved Hawk missiles with the NAS systems worth some $256 million. But the lobby went immediately to work. A secret communication about the proposed sale, based on a classified Defense Department document, sent by the White House to members of the Senate Foreign Relations and the House Foreign Affairs Committees, was leaked to AIPAC by Zionist aides of New Jersey Senator Clifford P. Case and New York Representative Jonathan B. Bingham. Immediately, the lobby mobilized its organization in 197 major and 200 smaller cities across the country, warning of the dangers to Israel. In a two-page memorandum and letter describing the scope and nature of the proposed sale, the lobby concluded that it was capable of "providing cover for offensive operations against Israel."
The communities were called upon to act at once and to apply forceful pressure. Within twenty-four hours of the memorandum's distribution, congressmen were besieged with phone calls, telegrams and mailgrams from constituents urging them to oppose the Hawk sale to Jordan.
Despite the threat that Jordan's King Hussein might turn elsewhere, even to the Soviet Union, the legislators stuck by their guns, and the matter was tabled. An unidentified Democratic Senator was quoted in the Times as saying that he would only talk without attribution about the Israeli lobby "because they can deliver votes and they control a lot of campaign contributions. That's why I cannot go on the record or I'd be dead."
"It's the strongest lobby," the Senator added. "It doesn't dilute its strength by lobbying on other issues -a lot of members resent it, but they don't feel they can do anything about it. That lobby wants to do Congress' thinking on Israel-they don't want any independent judgements."
Demands on the Justice Department to investigate how a classified White House document had been transmitted to an agent of the State of Israel were ignored. The lobby was too strong.
Spade work on the Hill has been carried out by a group of dedicated, key young staff people. Michael Kraft from Senator Case's office; Stephen Bryen of the Middle East subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Scott Cohen, Senator Charles Percy's aide; Richard Perle of Senator Henry Jackson's staff; Richard D. Siegel from Pennsylvania Senator Richard Shweicker's office; Mel Grossman, an aide to Florida's Edward J. Gurney; Edward A. "Pete" Lakeland, Jacob Javits' aide; Daniel L. Speigel from Senator Muriel Humphrey's office; Mel Levine, an aide to California's John V. Tunney; Jay Berman from Birch Bayh's office; and Kenneth Davis, an assistant to Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania when he was Minority Leader.
According to Stephan D. Isaacs in his book Jews and American Politics, this group has worked "quietly, drafting legislation and other materials and mounting 'backfires' to ensure support of appropriate legislation advancing Israel's many causes" while Senators Jackson, Javits, Ribicoff and others worked "out front" to garner support among fellow Senators.
It was this effort that was responsible for the passage of the Jackson-Vanick amendment to the 1972 U.S. trade agreement with the Soviet Union, the first nail placed in the coffin of détente. Pleas of President Ford-who had earlier expressed sympathy for the plight of Soviet Jewry in a "State of the World" address-to reject this amendment as inimical to American interests and relations with the Soviet Union were to no avail. Jackson, the lobby's stalwart champion on the issue of Soviet Jewry, insisted on encumbering the agreement, mutually advantageous to the U.S. and the Soviet Union, with the amendment guaranteeing an annual emigration of a set number of Soviet Jews. Whether d6tente is good or not for the U.S. is debatable, but to link this issue with the question of Soviet Jewry is a wholly untenable position.
The one senator who, over many years, consistently refused to bow to Zionist pressures and who defied the Israeli lobby was Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman J. William Fulbright. He incurred Zionist wrath when he stated on "Face the Nation" in 1973 that: "The Israelis control the policy of the Congress and the Senate ... Somewhere around 80% of the Senate of the U.S. is completely in support of Israel-of anything Israel wants..."
Jews in Arkansas blasted the Senator: "Fulbright's rival in the May 1974 Democratic primary, Governor Dale Bumpers boasted:
To the great satisfaction of the lobby, this flow of money helped defeat Senator Fulbright and return him to private life. But this victory in the long run may turn out to be only a Pyrrhic one for American Jews.
In a memorable speech on the floor of the Senate, Mr Fulbright had placed "the whipsawing of foreign policy by certain minority groups to the detriment of the national interest" in its broader, historical perspective:
But as long as legislative staff members kept their Jewishness uppermost in mind, vital objectivity could never be accomplished.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B'nai B'rith, likewise, has done its share in "converting" congressmen at critical moments. Opposition to sending the deadly C-3 concussion bombs to the Zionist state immediately brought overt suggestions from the ADL that opponents were secretly anti-Semitic. "That's the perversive force they strike at in the hearts of members up here," one Capitol Hill aide was quoted as saying. "If you're in opposition to anything Israel wants, you get a big white paintbrush that says you're anti-Semitic."
The story behind legislative chicanery in behalf of Israel scarcely ever surfaces, and when it does, it is summarily dismissed as anti-Semitic propaganda. But one day, predicted a senior U.S. diplomat, according to Newsweek magazine, there will be a congressional investigation into how we lost the Middle East that will make the great China debate seem trivial. It is sad to contemplate how many innocent American Jews may suffer for the actions of their self-appointed spokesmen. The undue influence registered by a small minority on behalf of a foreign state will indeed not look pretty.
In the light of day, the link between the thirteen-year Israeli occupation of Holy Jerusalem and the course taken by the Islamic revolution in Iran will be more than clear. The unholy alliance forged between Iran and Israel, supported by pressure on successive presidents, together with the Henry Kissinger-Nelson Rockefeller initiative, during the midst of the hostage crisis, in bringing the Shah to the U.S., will one day become common knowledge. More people, to use the 1948 words of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at the time of Israel's establishment, will complain about "the shameful junking of international interests to regain Jewish votes." The silencing of criticism of Israeli policy by a veritable world Who's Who, ranging from philosopher William Ernest Hocking, Father Daniel Berrigan and Dorothy Thompson to Dag Hammarskjold, Bruno Kreisky and Charles de Gaulle, will in the long run prove to have been a real tragedy for all Americans.
Can the Jewish community in the United States be brought to its senses before total disaster overtakes it? Can the process, once described by the editor of the Jewish Newsletter William Zuckerman as "Campaign Judaism," by which this community has "almost consciously emptied itself of all higher aspirations and spiritual needs and has willingly limited itself to the role of financial milk cow for others" be brought to an end? It will indeed be difficult to tear Jewish leaders and their wives from the massive Israeli Bond and UJA drives, from Hadassah teas, and gaudy banquets, and garish publicity, all masked as philanthrophic functions.
Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Hebrew University, Israel Shahak, himself a survivor of Bergen-Belsen, maintains that undeviating devotion to the State of Israel by Israeli and American Jews is "both immoral and against the mainstream of Jewish tradition and is nothing but Jewish apostasy."
Dr. Shahak added:
It will be no simple task to detach Jews from such idolatrous worship. The blatant expansionism and racism, defiantly displayed by Prime Minister Begin did not awaken American Jews. They are unable to discern that the gravest danger to peace stems not so much from geographic expansionism, in the guise of security, or from the seizure of land belonging to Palestinian Arabs for centuries, but from ideological expansionism which views Palestine as belonging exclusively to the Jewish people as inchoate citizens of the state established in their name. It is extemely doubtful whether any successor to Menachem Begin, be he Shimon Peres or Ezer Weizman, will dare to attempt to cast Israel out of its Zionist mold or that there will be a Jewish American revolt.
The myth-makers have been too powerful in weaving their web. Hebrew, Israelite, Judean, Judaism and the Jewish people have been accepted as one, suggesting historic continuity. In fact they were different people in different historical times with varying ways of life who continually intermarried with indigenous Amorites, Canaanites, Midianites, Phoenicians and other Semitic ancestors of the present-day Arabs. It is too often forgotten that Judaism was a tremendous proselytizing force throughout the world before, and even after, the coming of Jesus. In The Thirteenth Tribe, Arthur Koestler, supported overwhelmingly by such anthropologists as Ripley, Weissenberg, Hertz, Boas, Mead and Fishberg, proves that the vast majority of today's Jews are descendants of the Khazars of South Russia. They converted to Judaism in 70 A.D. at the time of the dispersion of the small, original Judaic Palestinian population by Roman Emperors Vespasian and Titus. The Ben-Gurions, the Golda Meirs, and Begins, who have clamored to go back "home," probably never had antecedents in that part of the world.
The American Jew has permitted the Zionist quest for roots in Palestine to lead him into the most dangerous shoals. The abnormal, unique relationship, which he has allowed to be carried out in his name, between Jews in the United States and Israel, has forged an "Israel-First" policy which is an underlying factor in the continuing tensions besetting the Middle East and the Islamic world. U.S. security interests have become endangered; an energy crisis has been thrust into every American home. The enmity towards the United States, incurred in the Arab-Muslim world, has eroded the measureless reservoir of goodwill stemming from the many educational and eleemosynary institutions founded by Americans.
In a world which has never needed spiritual faith more than during this present threat to civilization, universal Judaism has itself become gravely imperiled. For what is left of its universal, ethical precepts without the ethos of righteousness? In the ruthless takeover of Palestine, in driving out the indigenous population, the Israelis have violated tenets deeply imbeded in the preachments of the Prophets. And sadly, American Jews have compounded the felonly with racist attitudes towards Palestinians, in particular the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
What is both sad and equally ironic, is that in permitting themselves to be traumatized by a refuted racial myth, the Jews of America have allowed Hitler to triumph. In doling out incarceration and death while sweeping through conquered Europe, the FiAhrer undid the laws of emancipation and the process of integration for which so many Jews had so-long struggled, when he decreed: "You are not a German, you are a Jew-You are not a Frenchman, you are a Jew-You are not a Belgian, you are a Jew." Yet these are the identical words Zionist leaders intone as they meticulously promote the emigration to the Holy Land of Jews from around the globe, plotting their exodus from lands in which they have lived happily for centuries. Moshe Dayan succinctly expressed it in the New York Times magazine: "I am a Jew before I am an Israeli."
Rarely has the deceit of so few been so widely practiced to the detriment of so many, as in the formulation and implementation of American Middle East policy. But normal, friendly relations with all peoples of the region may still be restored. If the PLO is recognized by the U.S. and obstacles to the creation of a Palestinian state are removed, Arab and Jew, Muslim and Hebrew, in an atmosphere of justice, may still renew their millenial peaceful co-existence side by side. But there is no place for Zionism.
Such a happy goal is not illusory. It may be achieved when Jewish Americans find the courage to stand up as individuals and throw off the yoke of Organized Jewry. It is imperative-by word and, more importantly, by deed-for every Jew in the United States to articulate this credo openly and loudly: "Judaism is not Zionism -- Zionism is not Judaism -- anti-Zionism is not anti-Semitism. Israel's flag is, in no way, mine."
April 2002 Prospect magazine (UK)
America's unconditional support for Israel runs counter to the interests of the US and its allies. We need an open, unprejudiced debate about it
Until recently, America's middle east policy was a peripheral part of its global strategy, which focused on preventing the Soviet Union from intimidating US allies in western Europe and east Asia. Britain was the dominant western power in the middle east until the 1960s, and US influence was countered in much of the region by the Soviet Union until the end of the cold war. The indifference of much of the national security elite and the public to the region, in between crises, permitted US policy to be dominated by two US domestic lobbies, one ethnic and one economic-the Israel lobby and the oil industry (which occasionally clashed over issues like US weapons sales to Saudi Arabia).
Times have changed. The collapse of the Soviet empire created a power vacuum which has been filled by the US, first in the Persian Gulf following the Gulf war, and now in central Asia as a result of the Afghan war. Today the middle east is becoming the centre of US foreign policy-a fact illustrated in the most shocking way by the al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington. A debate within the US over the goals and methods of American policy in the middle east is long overdue. Unfortunately, an uninhibited debate is not taking place, because of the disproportionate influence of the Israel lobby.
Today the Israel lobby distorts US foreign policy in a number of ways. Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, enabled by US weapons and money, inflames anti-American attitudes in Arab and Muslim countries. The expansion of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land makes a mockery of the US commitment to self-determination for Kosovo, East Timor and Tibet. The US strategy of dual containment of Iraq and Iran, pleases Israel-which is most threatened by them-but violates the logic of realpolitik and alienates most of America's other allies. Beyond the region, US policy on nuclear weapons proliferation is undermined by the double standard that has led it to ignore Israel's nuclear programme while condemning those of India and Pakistan.
The debate that is missing in the US is not one between Americans who want Israel to survive and those-a marginal minority-who want Israel to be destroyed. The US should support Israel's right to exist within internationally-recognised borders and to defend itself against threats. What is needed is a debate between those who want to link US support for Israel to Israeli behaviour, in the light of America's own strategic goals and moral ideals, and those who want there to be no linkage. For the American Israel lobby, Tony Smith observes in his authoritative study, Foreign Attachments: The Power of Ethnic Groups in the Making of American Foreign Policy (Harvard), "to be a 'friend of Israel' or 'pro-Israel' apparently means something quite simple: that Israel alone should decide the terms of its relations with its Arab neighbours and that the US should endorse these terms, whatever they may be."
The Israel lobby is one special-interest pressure group among many. It is a loose network of individuals and organisations, of which the most important are the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)-described by the Detroit Jewish News as "a veritable training camp for Capitol Hill staffers"-and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations. The Israel lobby is not identical with the diverse Jewish-American community. Many Jewish-Americans are troubled by Israeli policies and some actively campaign against them, while some non-Jewish Americans-most of them members of the Protestant right-play a significant role in the lobby. Even pro-Israel groups differ on the question of Israeli policies. According to Matthew Dorf in the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: "The Zionist Organisation of America lobbies Congress to slow the peace process. Their allies are mostly Republicans. At the same time, the Israel Policy Forum and Americans for Peace Now work to move the process along. Democrats are most sympathetic to their calls."
The Israel lobby is united not by a consensus about Israeli policies but by a consensus about US policies towards Israel. Most of the disparate elements of the pro-Israel coalition support two things. The first is massive US funding for Israel. As Stephen M Walt writes in International Security (Winter 2001/02), "In 1967 Israel's defence spending was less than half the combined defence expenditures of Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Syria; today Israel's defence expenditure is 30 per cent larger than the combined defence spending of these four Arab states." Israel receives more of America's foreign aid budget than any other country-$3 billion a year, two thirds in military grants (total aid since 1979 is over $70 billion).
Along with aid, the Israel lobby demands unconditional US diplomatic protection of Israel in the UN and other forums. To a degree, this is justified; the US has been right to denounce the ritual "Zionism-is-racism" rhetoric of various kleptocracies and police states. The US, however, has been wrong to block repeatedly efforts by its major democratic allies in the UN security council to condemn Israeli repression and colonisation in the occupied territories.
It is difficult to prove direct cause-and-effect connections between the power of a lobby and America's foreign policy positions. But, in the middle east, it is hard to explain America's failure to pressure Israel into a final land-for-peace settlement-particularly since the Oslo deal in 1993-without factoring in the Israel lobby. The influence of the lobby may be easier to detect in the way US positions have shifted on more specific totems of the conflict. For example, Israeli settlements in the occupied territories were regarded as illegal during the Carter administration. Under Reagan, they shifted to being an "obstacle" to peace and are now just a complicating factor. Similarly, East Jerusalem was considered by the US to be part of the occupied territories but recently its status has become rather more ambiguous.
Concern on the part of US citizens about the fate of members of their ethnic group or religion in foreign countries is nothing new. The Irish-American, Cuban-American and Greek-American lobbies have all significantly influenced US foreign policy. And the desire to win over Catholic voters with eastern European relatives in the 1996 election is thought to have been a factor in President Clinton's decision to expand Nato to the east. However, the Israel lobby is different in strategy and scale from other historic American ethnic lobbies.
Most ethnic lobbies-of which the German and Irish diasporas were the most influential in the past-have based their power on votes, not money. (Most immigrant groups have been relatively poor at first, and have lost their ethnic identity on becoming more prosperous.) The influence of these lobbies has usually been confined to cities and states in which particular ethnic groups have been concentrated-Irish-American Boston, German-American Milwaukee, Cuban-American Miami. The emergent Latino lobby is similar in its geographic limitation. The small US Jewish population (about 2 per cent of the total) is highly concentrated in New York, Los Angeles, Miami and a few other areas.
The Israel lobby, however, is not primarily a traditional ethnic voter machine; it is an ethnic donor machine. Unique among ethno-political machines in the US, the Israel lobby has emulated the techniques of national lobbies based on economic interests (both industry groups and unions) or social issues (the National Rifle Association, pro- and anti-abortion groups). The lobby uses nationwide campaign donations, often funnelled through local "astroturf" (phony grassroots) organisations with names like Tennesseans for Better Government and the Walters Construction Management Political Committee of Colorado, to influence members of Congress in areas where there are few Jewish voters.
Stephen Steinlight, in an essay for the Centre for Immigration Studies, describes how the Israel lobby uses donations to influence elected officials: "Unless and until the triumph of campaign finance reform is complete...the great material wealth of the Jewish community will continue to give it significant advantages. We will continue to court and be courted by key figures in Congress. That power is exerted within the political system from the local to national levels through soft money, and especially the provision of out-of-state funds to candidates sympathetic to Israel." Steinlight adds: "For perhaps another generation... the Jewish community is thus in a position to divide and conquer and enter into selective coalitions that support our agendas." Steinlight is the recently-retired director of national affairs at the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
As well as campaign contributions, the Israel lobby's power is exercised through influence on government appointments. Until recently, Democrats and Republicans differed in their attitude to the lobby but now both parties are significantly influenced by it, although in different ways.
Historically, Jewish-Americans have been part of the Democratic coalition and they remain the only white ethnic group which consistently votes overwhelmingly for Democrats. By contrast, between Eisenhower and the elder Bush, many Republicans shared the attitude attributed, perhaps apocryphally, to a former Republican secretary of state: "Fuck the Jews. They don't vote for us anyway." Influenced by big business and the oil industry in particular, Republicans often tilted towards the Arabs (Arab regimes, not voiceless Arab populations). Although Nixon, an anti-semite in his personal attitudes, rescued Israel in the 1973 war, Eisenhower infuriated the Jewish-American community by thwarting the joint seizure of Egypt's Suez Canal by Israel, Britain and France in 1956. Another Republican president, George Bush Sr, enraged the Israel lobby during the Gulf war by pressuring Israel not to respond to Iraq's missile attacks, choosing not to occupy Baghdad and promising America's Arab allies that the US would push Israel on the Palestinian issue. The elder Bush was the last president to criticise the lobby publicly, in September 1991, when he complained that "there are 1,000 lobbyists up on the Hill today lobbying Congress for loan guarantees for Israel and I'm one lonely little guy down here asking Congress to delay its consideration of loan guarantees for 120 days."
The Democrats exploited this split between the Israel lobby and the first Bush administration. In an address to AIPAC in May 2000, presidential candidate Al Gore recalled, "I remember standing up against Bush's foreign policy advisers who promoted the insulting concept of linkage, which tried to use loan guarantees as a stick to bully Israel. I stood with you, and together we defeated them." In 1997, Fran Katz, the deputy political affairs director of AIPAC, became finance director of the Democratic national committee; the previous year, the former chairman of AIPAC, Steve Grossman, had become national chairman of the Democratic party, telling the press, "My commitment to strengthening the US-Israel relationship is unwavering."
Clinton also appointed Martin Indyk, a veteran of a pro-Israel think-tank associated with AIPAC, as ambassador to Israel, only a few years after this Australian citizen received his US citizenship papers. It is true that Clinton (and Indyk) took the Palestinian cause seriously and the US administration did push Israel further than it wanted to go on some issues prior to the Wye River agreement and in the failed Barak-Arafat negotiations. But the fact that so many of the senior US administration officials involved in those failed negotiations had ties to the Israel lobby raised troubling questions about the ability of America to act as an honest broker.
Furthermore, leading members of the Israel lobby encouraged the greatest abuse of the presidential pardon power in American history-Clinton's pardon of Mark Rich, a fugitive billionaire on the FBI's Most Wanted list who had surrendered his US citizenship rather than pay the taxes he owed. A Who's Who list of the Israeli and Jewish-American establishments successfully lobbied Clinton to pardon Rich, including prime minister Ehud Barak, the former head of Mossad and the head of the US Anti-Defamation League (many of the same individuals also supported a pardon for the imprisoned American spy for Israel, Jonathan Pollard). In a New York Times piece in February 2001, Clinton claimed he had done it for Israel: "Many present and former high-ranking Israeli officials of both major political parties and leaders of Jewish communities in America and Europe urged the pardon of Mr Rich because of his contributions and services to Israeli charitable causes, to the Mossad's efforts to rescue Jews from hostile countries, and to the peace process through sponsorship of education and health programmes in Gaza and the West Bank."
Most Jewish-Americans are politically hostile to George W Bush, whose alliance with the Christian right disturbs them. Yet the younger Bush has, in practice, been influenced more by the Israel lobby than by the oil lobby. The State department of Colin Powell, who has described himself as a "Rockefeller Republican" and supports Palestinian statehood, has rapidly lost influence to the Defence department, where a cadre of pro-Israel hawks allied with Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz has seized the initiative. AIPAC's advertising for its April 2002 conference, whose keynote speaker will be Ariel Sharon, describes an invitation-only "president's cabinet brunch": "In an elegant brunch session at the St. Regis Hotel, Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz gives an insider's view of the Pentagon's efforts in the war on terrorism."
Richard Perle, chairman of Bush's quasi-official defence policy board, co-authored a 1996 paper with Douglas J Feith for the Likud prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Entitled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," it advised Netanyahu to make "a clean break from the peace process." Feith now holds one of the most important positions in the Pentagon-deputy-under-secretary of defence for policy. He argued in the National Interest in Fall 1993 that the League of Nations mandate granted Jews irrevocable settlement rights in the West Bank. In 1997, in "A Strategy for Israel," Feith called on Israel to re-occupy "the areas under Palestinian Authority control" even though "the price in blood would be high." On 13th October 1997, Feith and his father were given awards by the right-wing Zionist Organisation of America, which described the honorees as "the noted Jewish philanthropists and pro-Israel activists."
The radical Zionist right to which Perle and Feith belong is small in number but it has become a significant force in Republican policy-making circles. It is a recent phenomenon, dating back to the late 1970s and 1980s, when many formerly Democratic Jewish intellectuals joined the broad Reagan coalition. While many of these hawks speak in public about global crusades for democracy, the chief concern of many such "neo-conservatives" is the power and reputation of Israel. William Kristol, editor of the right-wing Weekly Standard, explained the reason for the rhetoric about global democracy to the Jerusalem Post (27th July 2000): "I've always thought it was best for Israel for the US to be generally engaged and generally strong, and then the commitment to Israel follows from a general foreign policy."
The liberalism and Democratic partisanship of most Jewish-Americans forces the Zionist right to find its popular constituency, not in the Jewish community itself, but in the Protestant evangelical right of Pat Robertson and others-many of whose members share the Christian Zionism of the early British patrons of Israel. In 1995, after I exposed the anti-semitic sources of Pat Robertson's theories about a two-century-old Judaeo-Masonic conspiracy in an essay in The New York Review of Books, Norman Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary, denounced me rather than Robertson. Podhoretz conceded that Robertson's statements about Jewish conspiracies were anti-semitic but argued that, in the light of Robertson's support for Israel, he should be excused according to the ancient rabbinical rule of batel b'shishim.
Like other lobbies whose power is based on campaign money and appointments, the Israel lobby has influence chiefly over elected officials and their staffs. It has little ability to influence career public servants, such as those in the military, the intelligence agencies and the foreign service. At most, it can try to de-legitimise such officials when they do not play along by, for example, vilifying members of the US foreign service as "Arabists." And the uniformed military is often attacked in the pages of pro-Israel journals whose writers (most of them armchair generals who never served in the military) denounce the alleged pusillanimity of American soldiers who are unwilling to "take out" states like Iraq and Iran that particularly threaten Israel. Even the intelligence community has been accused of anti-semitism, for its principled opposition to a pardon for the spy, Jonathan Pollard.
The aborted career of Admiral Bobby Ray Inman provides a troubling example of this dynamic at work. After Clinton nominated Inman, a career Naval officer and the former head of the national security agency, for the position of secretary of defence, Inman was savaged in the press by William Safire, a former Nixon speechwriter and conservative Republican who thought George Bush Sr was insufficiently pro-Israel. In his New York Times column Safire damned Inman for having "contributed to the excessive sentencing of Jonathan Pollard," Israel's spy in the naval intelligence service (whom some Jewish-Americans treat as a martyred saint). Inman responded by charging that Safire had secretly lobbied the CIA Director, William Casey, to overrule a 1981 decision by Inman, then deputy CIA director, which limited Israel's access to US intelligence. For this reason, Safire attacked Inman in the New York Times by charging him with an "anti-Israel bias." Rather than face what he called the "new McCarthyism," Inman withdrew.
After campaign contributions and high-level appointments, media influence is the third major asset of the Israel lobby. The problem is not that Jews in the media censor the daily news; there are passionate Zionist publishers like Mort Zuckerman and Martin Peretz, but their very ardour tends to discredit them. The reporters of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the television networks are reasonably fair in their coverage of the middle east. The problem is that the Arab-Israeli conflict is presented in the absence of any historical or political context. For example, most Americans do not know that the Palestinian state offered by Barak consisted of several Bantustans, criss-crossed by Israeli roads with military checkpoints. Instead, most Americans have learned only that the Israelis made a generous offer which Arafat inexplicably rejected. To make matters worse, the conventions of reporting the Arab-Israeli conflict in the mainstream press typically portray the Palestinians as aggressors-"In response to Palestinian violence, Israel fired missiles into Gaza." No reporters ever say, "In response to Israel's three-decade occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinian gunmen fought back against Israeli forces."
Still, many journalists reporting from the middle east, both Jewish and non-Jewish, try hard to be objective. It is not in the news stories, but in the opinion pages and the journals of opinion-which ought to provide the missing context-that propaganda for Israel has free reign. There are several widely-syndicated columnists and television pundits who are apologists for the Israeli right, like Safire, Cal Thomas, George Will and Charles Krauthammer. Others like Anthony Lewis, Flora Lewis and Thomas Friedman do criticise right-wing Israeli governments, but anything more than the mildest criticism of Israel is taboo in the mainstream media.
The taboo against anti-Arab bigotry, however, is weak. One of the saddest consequences of Israel's colonialism has been the moral coarsening of elements of the Jewish-American community. I grew up admiring Jewish civil rights activists for their sometimes heroic role in the fight to dismantle segregation in the US. But today I frequently hear Jewish acquaintances discuss Arabs in general, and Palestinians in particular, in terms as racist as those once used by southerners in public when discussing blacks. "Israel should have given the Palestinians to Jordan after 1967," a Jewish editor recently said to me, in the same tone used by an elderly white southerner who once told me, "We should have left them all in Africa." The parallel can be extended. After 1830, the defence of slavery and later segregation in the old south led white southerners to abandon the liberal idealism of the founding era in favour of harsh racism and a siege mentality. Since 1967, the need to justify the rule of Israel over a conquered helot population has produced a similar shift from humane idealism to unapologetic tribalism in parts of the diaspora, as well as in Israel. It is perhaps no coincidence that the most important non-Jewish supporters of Israel in the US today are found in the deep south among descendants of the segregationist Dixiecrats.
Within part of the Jewish-American population, the influence of Zionism appears to be increasing. This is a recent phenomenon. Traditionally, non-Orthodox Jewish-Americans have been divided among three broad traditions: universalist liberalism, Marxist radicalism and ethnic Zionism. The first tradition has been of enormous value in American history. Jewish activists and philanthropists have played an invaluable role in supporting the extension of civil rights to Americans of all races, religions, and both genders. But Jewish liberalism is a victim of its own success. Having eliminated barriers to Jewish advancement in American society, like the quotas limiting Jewish students in Ivy League universities and prestigious clubs, Jewish liberals are tending to disappear through assimilation. More than half of Jewish-Americans marry outside the Jewish community and their children tend not to be raised as Jews.
The attrition of Jewish numbers by assimilation and intermarriage is producing alarm among Jewish-Americans devoted to preserving Jewish distinctness, by means of conservative religious observance, ideological Zionism, or both. Many have given up secularism for observant religion in recent years (Joseph Lieberman, Al Gore's vice-presidential candidate, is the most famous). Ironically, many neo-traditionalist Jews now express a bitter hostility toward the very secularism and pluralism that used to be identified by anti-semites with emancipated Jews. "Most American Jews have two religions, Judaism and Americanism, and you can't have two religions any more than you can have two hearts or two heads," wrote Adam Garfinkle, editor of the National Interest, in the journal Conservative Judaism. Indeed, there is a parallel between the rise of Jewish fundamentalism in the US and Israel and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the Muslim world. In both cases, reactionaries believe that their traditions are being destroyed by secular western values, including feminism, religious tolerance and natural science. In both the Jewish and Muslim cases, the antidote that is offered to "corrupting western values" is pre-modern religious law-the Jewish law or the sharia.
Ethnocentric political Zionism as the basis of Jewish identity is more appealing to many former leftist and liberal Jews in the US than the adoption of a stringent Orthodox Jewish lifestyle. But making political Zionism the basis of Jewishness imposes a stark dual loyalty, as Stephen Steinlight argues in the essay I have quoted. "I'll confess it, at least: like thousands of other typical Jewish kids of my generation, I was reared as a Jewish nationalist, even a quasi-separatist. Every summer for two months, for ten formative years during my childhood and adolescence, I attended Jewish summer camp. There, each morning, I saluted a foreign flag, dressed in a uniform reflecting its colours, sang a foreign national anthem, learned a foreign language, learned foreign folk songs and dances, and was taught that Israel was the true homeland. Emigration to Israel was considered the highest virtue... Of course we also saluted the American and Canadian flags and sang those anthems, usually with real feeling, but it was clear where our primary loyalty was meant to reside... That America has tolerated this dual loyalty-we get a free pass, I suspect, largely over Christian guilt about the Holocaust-makes it no less a reality."
The restraint on robust debate about Israel in the political centre means that the most vocal critics of Israeli policy and the US Israel lobby are found on the far left and the far right. Critics on the left, like Edward Said and Noam Chomsky, are not taken seriously outside of left-wing academic circles because their condemnations of US and Israeli policy in the middle east are part of ritualised denunciations of all US foreign policy everywhere.
On the far right, the so-called old right, represented by Patrick Buchanan, there has always been a coterie of writers who mingle their denunciations of Israel and the Israel lobby with rants against secular humanists, homosexuals, feminists, third world hordes and other alleged enemies of a white Christian America. The lunatic fringe represented by the militia movement that spawned Timothy McVeigh refers to the federal government as ZOG-the Zionist-Occupied Government. This kind of demonology is also found among black nationalists, like Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam.
It is only a small exaggeration to say that, if the far right hates Israel mainly because it hates Jews, the far left hates Israel mainly because it hates America. With critics like Chomsky, Buchanan and Farrakhan, the Israel lobby has an easy time persuading most Americans that critics of Israel are lunatic-fringe figures. Israel has also been fortunate in its Palestinian enemies. Yasser Arafat is no Gandhi or Mandela, Palestinian suicide bombers are indistinguishable from the al Qaeda fanatics in their tactics, though not their cause, and footage of Palestinians dancing in the streets on learning of the 11th September attacks appalled Americans otherwise sympathetic to the goal of Palestinian independence.
None the less, the Israel lobby's influence on US policy and public opinion is challenged by groups ranging from the increasingly vocal Arab-American lobby and black Democrats (who tend to sympathise with the Palestinians), to career military and foreign service personnel and the Republican business establishment, particularly oil executives, who are more interested in the Persian Gulf than in the West Bank. In the long run, the relative diminution of the Jewish-American population, as a result of intermarriage and immigration-led population growth, will combine to attenuate the lobby's power.
At present, however, members of Congress from all regions are still reluctant to offend a single-issue lobby that can and will subsidise their opponents; many journalists and policy experts say in private that they are afraid of being blacklisted by editors and publishers who are zealous Israel supporters; top jobs in the US national security apparatus routinely go to individuals with close personal and professional ties to Israel and its American lobby; and soldiers and career diplomats are sometimes smeared in whisper campaigns if they thwart the goals of Israeli governments. In these circumstances, how could US policy not be biased in favour of Israel?
The kind of informed, centrist criticism of Israel which can be found in Britain and the rest of Europe, a criticism that recognises Israel's right to exist and defend itself, whilst deploring its brutal occupation of Palestinian territory and discrimination against Arab Israelis, is far less visible in the US. What is needed at this moment in American and world history is a responsible criticism of the US Israel lobby which, unlike the left critique, accepts the broad outlines of US grand strategy as legitimate and which, unlike the critique of the far right, is not motivated by an animus against either Jewish-Americans or the state of Israel as such.
In the past, the Israel lobby had one feature which distinguished it from, say, the Irish lobby: the country it supported was threatened with extinction by its neighbours. That is no longer the case. Moreover, most Americans would support Israel's right to exist and to defend itself against threats even if the Israel lobby did not exist. However, in the absence of the Israel lobby, America's elected representatives would surely have made aid to Israel conditional on Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories. It is this largely unconditional nature of US support for Israel that compromises its middle east policy.
In the years ahead, we Americans must reform our political system to purge it of the corrupting influence, not only of corporations and unions, but also of ethnic lobbies-all of them, the Arab-American lobby as well as the Israel lobby. As the percentage of the US population made up of recent immigrants grows, so does the danger that foreign policy will be subcontracted to this or that ethnic diaspora encouraged-by the success of the Israel lobby-to believe that deep attachment to a foreign country is a normal and acceptable part of US citizenship.
Public policy cannot prevent bias toward foreign countries among ethnic voting blocs, although assimilation can weaken it. By contrast, ethnic donor machines can be all but eliminated by the regulation of political donations. Campaign finance reforms in the US that ban out-of-state and out-of-district donations, or replace private with public funding, are desirable on their merits. Among their other benefits, reforms like these would cripple all national pressure groups that rely on donations rather than on debate, without unfairly singling out any particular special interest, like the Israel lobby. In addition to campaign finance reform, the US needs to curtail the number of appointed positions in national security agencies. Reducing the number of "in-and-outers" in the national security elite would reduce opportunities for those affiliated with ethnic lobbies and economic interests like the oil industry, to affect US foreign policy from within government. Until Americans have ended this corruption of our democratic process, our allies in Europe, Asia and the middle east will continue to view our middle east policy with trepidation.
The truth about America's Israel lobby is this: it is not all-powerful, but it is still far too powerful for the good of the US and its alliances in the middle east and elsewhere.
David Irving's ActionReport
[images added by this website]
BY JAMES WARREN
CHICAGO - (KRT) - Rev. Billy Graham openly voiced a belief that Jews control the American media, calling it a "stranglehold" during a 1972 conversation with President Richard Nixon, according to a tape of the Oval Office meeting released Thursday by the National Archives.
"This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country's going down the drain," the nation's best-known preacher declared as he agreed with a stream of bigoted Nixon comments about Jews and their perceived influence in American life.
"You believe that?" says Nixon after the "stranglehold" comment.
"Yes, sir," says Graham.
"Oh, boy," replies Nixon. "So do I. I can't ever say that but I believe it."
"No, but if you get elected a second time, then we might be able to do something," replies Graham.
Later, Graham mentions that he has friends in the media who are Jewish, saying they "swarm around me and are friendly to me." But, he confides to Nixon, "They don't know how I really feel about what they're doing to this country."
The newly released tapes cover the first six months of 1972, with the Vietnam War and the upcoming presidential campaign the backdrops for many conversations. The tapes touch subjects as varied as using a nuclear bomb on North Vietnam (a notion quickly derided by adviser Henry Kissinger) and settling a West Coast dock strike.
They also include all of the famous "smoking gun" conversation about the Watergate break-in, known for its damaging disclosures about a cover-up and its 18 1/2-minute gap.
The Nixon-Graham remarks came during a 90-minute session after a prayer breakfast the men attended on Feb. 1, 1972.
"I find this rather stunning," said William Martin, a professor of religion and sociology at Rice University in Houston and author of "A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story."
"This is out of character with anything else I have heard Billy Graham say or be quoted as saying," Martin said. "It is disappointing."
"What Graham said that day is inexcusable. Did it ever occur to him that he should have countered the president?" said Martin Marty, a religious historian at the University of Chicago who noted the distinction some conservative evangelicals and pentecostals have made between supporting Israel but not American Jews.
"One really did not associate him with this," said Michael Kotzin, a vice president at the Jewish United Fund in Chicago. "Rather than try to direct Nixon in a different direction, he reinforces him and eggs him on when it came to these stereotypes, and that's troubling."
Graham, 83, is not in good health and indicated, through spokesman Larry Ross, that he could not respond since he did not recall the conversation.
Thursday's release of 426 more hours brings to about 2,600, out of a total of 3,700, the hours of recordings either publicly disclosed or returned to the Nixon family because they were deemed strictly personal. Many recordings, including the Graham tape, are edited to exclude content believed to disclose national security information, constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of privacy or reveal trade secrets, among other matters.
Previous tapes have underscored the complexity of Nixon, including his insecurity and occasional nastiness. Apologists tend to cite his fits of bigotry as ancillary to his policy achievements, with the Nixon estate claiming that his harshness was often a display of faux machismo in the presence of H.R. Haldeman or his other top aide, John Erhlichman.
While other prominent figures, such as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, then a Nixon aide, can also be heard on tapes during mean-spirited discourses by Nixon, many assumed a more passive role. Graham is unusual for being a distinguished outsider actively taking part.
Graham and Nixon had become close friends during the Eisenhower administration, when Nixon was vice president. They were of the same generation and both reflected a strong opposition to communism and a shared evangelical bent. The friendship remained strong until Nixon was brought down by the Watergate scandal and resigned the presidency in August 1974.
Haldeman's own diaries briefly noted the unseemly conversation. He wrote that there was discussion "of the terrible problem arising from the total Jewish domination of the media, and agreement that this was something that would have to be dealt with."
He continues, "Graham has the strong feeling that the Bible says there are satanic Jews and there's where our problem arises." No such comments about the Bible are found on the tape released Thursday but, since it contains several long deletions, it's believed such remarks were excised.
The lengthy chat opens with Graham praising Nixon's prayer breakfast remarks. "There were a lot of people in tears when you finished this morning and it's very moving. That's the best I've heard you at one of those breakfast things."
After offering Nixon tips on preparing himself for big speeches, as well as strategy for his re-election campaign, Graham notes that he's just been invited to lunch with editors of Time magazine. "I was quite amazed since this is the first time I've heard from Time since (Time founder) Henry Luce died."
"You meet with all their editors, you better take your Jewish beanie," says Haldeman.
Graham laughs. "Is that right? I don't know any of them now."
Nixon then broaches a subject about which "we can't talk about it publicly," namely Jewish influence in Hollywood and the media. He cites Paul Keyes, a political conservative who is executive producer of the NBC hit, "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In," as telling him that "11 of the 12 writers are Jewish."
"That right?" says Graham, prompting Nixon to claim that Life magazine, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and others, are "totally dominated by the Jews." He calls network TV anchors, Howard K. Smith, David Brinkley and Walter Cronkite "front men who may not be of that persuasion," but that their writers are "95 percent Jewish."
He demurs that this does not mean "that all the Jews are bad" but that most are left-wing radicals who want "peace at any price except where support for Israel is concerned. The best Jews are actually the Israeli Jews."
"That's right," agrees Graham, who later concurs with a Nixon assertion that a "powerful bloc" of Jews confronts Nixon in the media. "And they're the ones putting out the pornographic stuff," Graham adds.
Nixon contends that "every Democratic candidate will owe his election to Jewish people," but he won't.
Haldeman turns the subject to the White House press corps and the Gridiron Club, a bastion of the media establishment, both of which they say were mostly WASP once, but no more.
"It was the Merriman Smiths, the Dick Wilsons, the Kilpatricks, all that kind of people. But you look at what covers the president today and it's really kind of scary," Haldeman says. Haldeman and Nixon both cite by name reporters from the Los Angeles Times (David Kraslow), New York Times (Max Frankel), Washington Post (Stanley Karnow) and NBC (Herb Kaplow) but stumble on getting to CBS.
"From CBS, Rather, Dan Rather, is Rather? . . ." says Haldeman. A deletion then follows with the next voice heard being that of Graham, who alludes to A.M. Rosenthal, managing editor of the New York Times.
"But I have to lean a little bit, you know. I go and see friend of Mr. Rosenthal at The New York Times, and people of that sort. And all, I don't mean all the Jews, but a lot of the Jews are great friends of mine. They swarm around me and are friendly to me. Because they know I am friendly to Israel and so forth. They don't know how I really feel about what they're doing to this country. And I have no power and no way to handle them."
Nixon says, "You must not let them know."
The conversation turns to religious magazines, postal rates and Nixon's uncharitable thoughts on certain Cabinet members. Graham then leaves and, a few minutes later, Nixon tells Haldeman, "You know it was good we got this point about the Jews across."
"It's a shocking point," says Haldeman, a frequent cheerleader during Nixon's negative diatribes.
"Well," says Nixon, "it's also, the Jews are irreligious, atheistic, immoral bunch of bastards."
© 2002, Chicago Tribune.
Reproduced gratefully from: David Irving's ActionReport Online
Commentary -- I got a copy today of JJ Goldberg's book Jewish Power. Rather than repeat all the information offered, I thought I would provide an overview and some links, and allow readers to confirm all this for themselves.
For those who don't believe that the various Zionist and religious-Jewish organizations come together to generate policy, you have obviously not heard (as I hadn't) of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council. Let me allow Mr. Goldberg, who is a journalist in Israel and America, and who is editor of the Jewish weekly "Forward", to describe this group to you:
"The council, known by the Jaw Breaking title of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, or NCRAC [pronounced 'nacrac"), is nothing less than the central policy making council of the organized American Jewish community. Its membership includes a dozen of the most powerful and broadly representative groups on the national Jewish scene: the three main synagogue unions, Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox; the three main "defense agencies," Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, and American Jewish Congress; and the three largest Jewish women's groups, Hadassah, the National Council on Jewish Women, and Women's American ORT. Also included, along with a handful of other national bodies, are 117 local community councils, representing the world of Jewish federated charities and their donors."
Ah. And what do these groups do? Mr. Goldberg tells us:
"MCRAC's policy positions are hammed out in intense, year-long negotiations among the agencies, then booted on at the council's annual assembly and published each fall in a booklet, the Joint Program Plan. ... The eighty-four page plan for 1992 included, along with ten pages on Israel and eight pages on anti-Semitism in Russia and the Arab world, no less than six pages on public-school education, six pages on abortion rights and the status of women, four pages on poverty, three pages each on immigration policy, federal courts, and universal health care, and four pages on the environment."
So what is being said is that ALL THE JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS IN AMERICA REALLY DO MEET ONCE A YEAR AND DECIDE ON A JOINT POLITICAL PLATFORM. Wow. :-O I am still trying to absorb that.
In my recent article for Pravda on the Jewish lobby, someone told me that the Jewish lobby in America didn't have an official position on gun control. Mr. Goldberg disagrees, stating, "The 1994 plan added ten pages entitled 'Gun Control and Violence,' plus a four page section titled 'Constitutional Protections in a Pluralistic Democracy.' These protections addressed issues ranging from the death penalty and homosexual right to term limits, campaign-finance reform, and congressional redistricting."
So American Jewry, meaning all the synagogues and all the formal Jewish power structure, actually does have a written program which it issues each year and which all organizations adhere to. So if you are wondering why, say Orthodox Jewish congregations are not active on issues like abortion and homosexuality with conservative Christian churches, it is because they have coordinated with all the other Jewish community groups in America not to be active on those issues. And if you are wondering why you see all the Jewish organizations working together on issues like undermining the Second Amendment and banning guns, it is because ALL JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS IN THE COUNTRY MEET ANNUALLY TO DECIDE WHAT TO THINK ON THESE ISSUES.
Wow. I keep putting that in capitals because it blows me away.
Those who would like to read Mr. Goldberg's book, in which he goes into detail on how Jewish organizations did a lot of things, from blocking pro-Christian educational legislation to forcing George Bush Sr out of office, you can buy this book here:
Now Mr. Goldberg does point out that not all Jews follow this line. "The NCRAC agenda provokes widespread resentment among Jewish activists at the grassroots." In particular, he points to a growing racist movement among Jews that want NCRAC to denounce blacks as the course of crime in America, and wants NCRAC to recognize that "Islam [is] the enemy of Judaism."
Sounds like a pleasant group of folks.
Let's hear what one rabbi has to say about abortion in the Jewish religion in Mr. Goldberg's book:
"In rabbinic canon law, .. Human life does not simply begin at conception. It develops gradually, acquiring greater legal protection as the fetus gains viability. Development continues even after birth, he added parenthetically; an infant that dies before the eighth day does receive a Jewish funeral. "In any case, ... Judaism rules that the mother's needs automatically take precedent until the moment of birth. 'There is ... a moral and ethical basis for a woman to undergo an abortion. Do not impose the view of some on all of us.'"
Abortion is a religious freedom, because Judaism does not recognize infants under eight days of life as human beings, and does not recognize killing a seven day old infant as murder.
Maybe I'm writing this because I just spent a few hours listening to a Muslim preacher at the local Islamic center talk about how Jews are the children of Satan who think Jesus is the illegitimate son of a whore. The local Islamic Center was holding an interfaith day of understanding, and they brought in this guy who is an ex-Catholic priest who converted to Islam, and who is now the chief Muslim in Maryland, and he started preaching hellfire and brimstone right from the Koran. Much to my amusement, many Jews who came these to be "interfaith" walked out when he started discussing what Jews think about Jesus from the Talmud. Many of the Christians seemed very uncomfortable. One politicians, Maria Pina-Faustus, walked out when the Muslim preacher guy refused to denounce Osama bin Laden, and stated that "we have not seen any evidence that he is guilty, so how can we denounce him" and told another woman "we cannot say he does not represent Islam, because we have no process by which a believer can be excommunicated, unless he publicly states he does not believe in Allah and he does not believe Mohammed was the Prophet."
But still, it is one thing to hear about Jews from William Pierce. It is quite another to hear about them from a Jewish guy.
And BTW, according to the Rabbi, the Christian faith allows abortion too. Check Exodus 21:22 "I two men strive and one strikes a woman with a child, so that her fruit departs, and yet no harm follows, he shall surely be fined." The Rabbi was literally escorted out of the Louisiana State Legislature when he tried to testify to that effect.
Let's go back to the story of how the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a group now headed by Mortimer Zuckerman, destroyed the first George Bush. This is how Goldberg tells it:
"Shoshana Cardin was sitting in a Washington hotel room reviewing the day's lobbying when word came of Bush's remarks. A Baltimore civic leader and professional volunteer, she headed up the powerful forces that the President was complaining about. Her precise title was Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. Known to its members as the Presidents Conference, the group is a loose coalition of four dozen Jewish religious associations, civil rights agencies, welfare funds, and fraternal societies. It includes most of the groups that make up the dizzying alphabet soup of American Jewish community life, ranging from household names like B'nai B'rith, Haddassh, and the United Jewish appeal to obscure factions like the Jewish Labor Committee and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.
"... What the President had said, as she heard it, was that when Jews advocated their beliefs as citizens, they were somehow engaging in unacceptable civic behavior. In fact, Cardin angrily decided, it was the president who's behavior was unacceptable."
Now for those who don't remember exactly what the President said, let me give some background. This Jewish lobby which claims it doesn't exist had been demanding that the US government steal ten billion dollars from the US working people and give it to Israel to settle Soviet Jews who were unhappy with Russia. Think about that -- what do I, as an American taxpayer, care about Soviet Jews going to Israel, and why should I, as an American taxpayer, have to pay for Israel's problems? When Mexicans decide to cross the Rio Grande in the middle of the night and settle in America, Israel doesn't send us money to "settle" them in the American southwest, so why should we have to fund the immigration of non-American citizens from a non-American country like the Soviet Union into a non-American country like Israel? Doesn't make any sense, right?
Bush, being a white America, didn't think it made any sense either. He was tired of footing the bill, and put forward an initiative in Congress that said that Americans would pay to settle the Soviet Jews, but only if Israel both made a lasting and permanent peace deal with the Palestinians and actually implemented it. He didn't so "no, we won't support Israel" he said "we will give you $10 billion dollars one last time if you will finally stop fighting and make peace so we don't have to worry about your crap any more." The American Jewish lobby -- people like Shoshana Cardin -- were OUTRAGED at that!! They felt very firmly that they had a RIGHT to bribe out Congress and steal our money and take it to their country to help their people. They felt that they had a RIGHT to subvert the Constitution and impoverish working American of all races and colors. This was their RIGHT and they were going to use it.
Imagine that arrogance. The RIGHT to steal our tax dollars, money we earn with our blood, our sweat, and our tears, and transfer it out of the country to Israel, to give it to people that not only never earned it, are not even our people. $10 billion dollars means $2,000 for every single person in Israel (Israel's population: 5 million). When is the last time our government gave every American $2000? Couldn't you use $2000. Couldn't every working person in this country who earns under $20,000 a year (or under $50,000 a year, or anything!) and still pays taxes on it do with an extra $2000 in their pocket -- to pay off their debts, buy a car, buy a house, so something good for their family and their children? But instead of giving American tax money to Americans, it was given to Israelis because pro-Israeli American Jewish organizations bribed the Congress. Don't believe they bribed the Congress? Check this out:
Jews provide "between one-fourth and one half of all Democratic campaign funds."
And all the information I've cited above is in the first 40 pages of this 400+ page book.
I urge all of you to buy this book and read it. It is frightening. The basic idea -- that the majority of people who live in a country have a right to govern that country -- is undermined by the basic assumption of the book -- that Jews, despite being a minority who's views are not representative of the American people, have a right to use bribery and press intimidation to dictate foreign and domestic policy to America, and to make sure America adheres to their perverse interpretation of Jewish religious and cultural-political values. That is what this lobby believes, and they believe that anyone who criticizes them for using unethical methods to impose unpopular policies on this country is guilty of denying them their right to petition the government. What arrogance!
I also just finished reading two other reports, both issues by Jewish organizations, that should be of interest to LSN readers. One is an American Jewish Committee report on "Russian Jewish Elite's and Anti-Semitism." It explains the situation in Russia prior to the Putin takeover, and discusses how Russia's Jewish oligarchs liked to gloat by saying things like "Jewish bankers own 50 percent of the capital in Russia" and answering the question "who runs Russia" by saying "Jews." Note that the oligarchies who said these things have now, in 2001, been mostly either exiled, assassinated, or arrested for their hubris.
The address of this report is:
And lastly, I refer you to a report by George Soros' Union of Jews of the Former Soviet Union. This report actually has some real anti-Semitism in it -- there have been several instances in Russia where Chechen guerillas have kidnapped twelve and thirteen year olds Jewish girls, raped them, and cut off their finger when their families couldn't ransom them. This is wrong. But most of what the report complains about are two things: 1) People have made or published political statements that Jewish organizations don't like.
2) People are joining political organizations that Jewish organizations don't like.
3) People have stated as a general principle that, as Russia is 86% ethnic Russian, it would inappropriate for Russia to have a Jewish president, or a majority-Jewish cabinet.
The solution recommended in the report is that people who make statements that Jewish organizations don't like, or who join groups that Jewish organizations don't like, or who believe that Russia should be ruled by Russians, should be arrested and placed in jail and not permitted to be part of the political process. Remarkably, this agenda, and the "anti-Semitic" remarks directed against them, are the EXACT SAME remarks directed against them in America.
Russians were mad that all the television stations were owned by Jews. They didn't like Jewish banks owned half of the country's capital and venture capital. They didn't like that a large number of Yeltsin's ministers were Jewish. They felt that, as the country was 86% Russian and 1% Jewish, that Jews should not, generally, be running the country's senior ministries -- and should certainly not be running ALL of the country's senior ministries. This belief George Soros finds intolerable. In a "democracy," Jews should be able, not just theoretically, but in practice, to hold all the ruling positions in the government, despite the fact that there are no significant numbers of Jews living in the country.
Think about that, because its an important question -- does a country, say England, have a right to a government of Englishmen? Does a Nigerian have the same right to be the King of England as an Englishman? Should the Germans elect a Chinaman as Chancellor? Did the British have the right to colonize the Sudan and rule it as a territory? Because to say that a person with allegiance to a foreign nation or foreign ethnic group has a right to rule over a group of people who are not of his ethnicity or culture is to defend the underlying ideology of colonialism. Then notice how many Jewish writers in the United States (ahem ... Jonah Goldberg) defend colonialism -- now that they are defining the terms of colonization. Then ask yourself this:
Is it "right-wing" to be opposed to colonialism? If not, and if one really believes in the ethnic self-determination of people, than why is it that Jews have a "right," as George Soros claims, to rule Russia, but the British do not have a "right" to rule India?
These questions are important, because the essence of modern Zionism is that it is an imperialist and capitalist ideology, perpetrated by a handful rich Jews, that is in opposition to the right of elf-determination of all of the other world's people, because it claims as a "right" the right to rule any of the world's peoples that it chooses.
This is frightening stuff. It is frightening that anyone could believe it, and frightening that we, right now, are living through the results of it. Just as World War I and World War II led to thousands of colonial subjects fighting the European and Asian war on behalf of their colonial masters, America has been drawn in to the Zionist conflict on behalf of a group of people who feel that they have established themselves as our neocolonial masters.
Think about the war on Afghanistan in terms of Third World liberation, with America being the nation in need of liberating. Anyways, the Soros report can be downloaded here:
It is almost 200 pages, but quite a read.
In any case, I hope I've given you something to think about. This stuff blows my mind. There is something seriously wrong in the world, and it is time that people rose up and fixed it. We need to wipe out the ruling class in all its manifestations -- whether Big Oil or Big Zionism -- but in the case of the current conflict, it is Zionism that is doing its utmost to lead us by the nose, all the way. It's time we understood it, and organized to fight it.
Libertarian Socialist News Post Office Box 12244 Silver Spring, MD 20908
BY JOHN SUGG
Editor's note: Portions of the report mentioned in this article can be found at http://atlanta.creativeloafing.com/2002-03-20/news_dea.pdf .
A major international espionage saga is unfolding across the United States, with some of its roots right here in the Atlanta area. It's been pretty hush-hush so far, largely because the implications could be a major embarrassment for the government.
The spy story is even more touchy because it isn't Saddam, Fidel, Osama or even what passes nowadays for the KGB spying on America -- but our "friend" in the war against "evil," Israel.
The basis of the spy allegations is a 60-page document -- a compilation of field reports by Drug Enforcement Administration agents and other U.S. law enforcement officials.
Creative Loafing last week obtained a copy of the report from intelligence sources with long-term contacts among both Israeli and American agencies. The government has attempted to deflect attention from earlier leaks about the spy scandal. However, while declining to confirm or deny the authenticity of the document, a spokesman for the DEA, William Glaspy, did acknowledge that the agency had received many reports of the nature described in the 60 pages.
A source familiar with the creation of the document has told CL that the 60-page memo was a draft intended as the base for a 250-page report. The larger report has not been produced because of the volatile nature of suggesting that Israel spies on America's deepest secrets.
Another DEA spokesperson, Rogene Waite, told Associated Press a draft document had been compiled and forwarded to other agencies.
The validity of the scenarios described in the document is attested to in at least one official mention. The Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, in a March 2001 summary, reported on "suspicious visitors to federal facilities" and noted the type of "aggressive" activity recounted in the document obtained by the Planet.
The nation's most prominent Jewish newspaper, the New York-based Forward, also has confirmed portions of the vast spying network -- although stating that the Israelis were monitoring Arabs in the United States, not trying to access U.S. secrets. Referring to the arrest of five Israeli employees of a New Jersey moving company who were arrested and held for two months after the Sept. 11 attack, Forward on March 15 stated: "According to one former high-ranking American intelligence official, who asked not to be named, the FBI came to the conclusion at the end of its investigation that the five Israelis ... were conducting a Mossad surveillance mission and that their employer, Urban Moving Systems of Weehawken, N.J., served as a front."
Forward also reported that a counterintelligence probe concluded two of the men were operatives of Mossad, Israel's spy service.
Reports of the spying were first made public in December broadcasts by Fox News reporter Carl Cameron. It isn't clear whether he had the 60-page document or was only told its contents. A French online news service has obtained the report, and Le Monde in Paris has advanced the story. However, in the United States, the media ignored the original Fox broadcast, and only a handful of publications. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution hasn't reported the story although another Cox-owned paper, The Palm Beach Post has.
The absence of reporting hasn't gone unnoticed. The authoritative British intelligence and military analysis service, Jane's Information Group, on March 13 chided: "It is rather strange that the U.S. media ... seem to be ignoring what may well prove to be the most explosive story since the 11 September attack, the alleged breakup of a major Israeli espionage operation in the United States which aimed to infiltrate both the Justice and Defense departments and which may also have been tracking al-Qaida terrorists before the aircraft hijackings took place."
In flat language and sometimes excruciating bureaucratic detail, the document relates scores of encounters between federal agents and Israelis describing themselves as art students. The implication is that the seemingly innocuous cover was used to gain access to sensitive U.S. offices and military installations. For example, Paragraph 82 of the document states that MacDill Air Force Base intelligence officers were warned in March 2001 of the art students' efforts. A month later, a special alert was issued about a "possible intelligence collection effort" at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City. Among other activities, the base houses AWACS surveillance planes and repairs B-1 bombers.
The author of the document is not identified. However, many DEA and other law enforcement agents are named. CL has contacted some of the named agents, and three federal employees have confirmed the incidents described in the report. None disputed the authenticity of the report. One senior DEA official, when read paragraphs that mentioned him, said: "Absolutely, that's my report," adding, however, that he didn't think the incidents were sufficient to prove an ongoing spy operation. All of the federal employees said they could not be quoted by name.
The specific incidents are richly chronicled, down to names, drivers' license numbers, addresses and phone numbers of the Israelis.
Perhaps most intriguing, the Israelis' military and intelligence specialties are listed: "special forces," "intelligence officer," "demolition/explosive ordnance specialist," "bodyguard to head of Israeli army," "electronic intercept operator" -- even "son of a two-star (Israeli) army general."
"The activities of these Israeli art students raised the suspicion of (the DEA's Office of Security Programs) and other field offices when attempts were made to circumvent the access control systems at DEA offices, and when these individuals began to solicit their paintings at the homes of DEA employees," the document states. "The nature of the individuals' conduct, combined with intelligence information and historical information regarding past incidents (involving Israelis leads the DEA) to believe the incidents may well be an organized intelligence gathering activity."
The document also links the Israelis to possible drug investigations. The report states: "DEA Orlando has developed the first drug nexus to this group. Telephone numbers obtained from an Israeli Art Student encountered at the Orlando (district office) have been linked to several ongoing DEA MDMA (Ecstasy) investigations in Florida, California, Texas, and New York."
Much of the Israeli activity, according to the report, centered on Florida. In addition to attempting to gain access to government installations, the document states that the Israelis approached many intelligence agents, prosecutors and federal marshals at their homes -- including one incident on Davis Islands.
In researching this story, the CL has learned of other encounters not included in the 60-page report. For example, a member of Congress from Georgia recounted to CL of being targeted by the art students on two occasions. A Tampa state court judge was also approached. Neither the member of Congress nor the judge wanted to be named.
In an era where CNN CEO Walter Issacson says it would be "perverse" to televise Afghan babies killed by U.S. bombs, it's not surprising some stories go unnoticed by a press that embraces "patriotism" by ignoring sacred cows.
One such sacred cow is what's happening in Israel and Palestine. Reporters know that to criticize Israel -- to point out, for example, that wanton killing of innocents is equally devilish, whether committed by Ariel Sharon's soldiers flying U.S.-made helicopters, or by a Hamas suicide bomber who pushes the button -- is to risk being called an anti-Semite. It's a tired canard meant to bludgeon debate into silence, but it's often effective.
Even with that background, however, it's a little hard to understand the media's avoidance of the spy story. In 1999, word began spreading among intelligence agencies about bands of Israeli "students" doing very strange things, such as popping up around federal buildings and military establishments marketing artwork.
According to CL intelligence sources, low-level alerts began being flashed around to offices of the FBI, DEA, federal prosecutors and others. By March 23, 2001, counterintelligence officials had issued a bulletin to be on the watch for Israelis masquerading as "art students." The alert stated that there was an "ongoing 'security threat' in the form of individuals who are purportedly 'Israeli National Art Students' that are targeting government offices selling 'artwork.'"
At the same time, American intelligence services were increasingly worried by the dominance of many highly sensitive areas of telecommunications by Israeli companies. Comverse Infosys (now called Verint) provides U.S. lawmen with computer equipment for wiretapping. Speculation is that "catch gates" in the system allowed listeners to be listened to. Software made by another Israeli outfit, Amdocs, provided extensive records of virtually all calls placed by the 25 largest U.S. telephone companies. The relationship of those companies to the detained Israelis is detailed in the 60-page document.
The DEA's intense interest in the case stems from its 1997 purchase of $25-million in interception equipment from Israeli companies, according to a March 14 report by Intelligence Online, a French Web-based service that first revealed the existence of the 60-page document.
"In assigning so many resources to the inquiry (all DEA offices were asked to contribute)," Intelligence Online stated. "The agency was clearly worried that its own systems might have been compromised."
Often the Israeli "students" sold their artwork on street locations near federal buildings. In Tampa on March 1, 2001, a DEA agent heard a knock on his office door. According to the government report: "At the door was a young female who immediately identified herself as an Israeli art student who had beautiful art to sell." Knowing about the security alert, the agent began questioning the "student." After several contradictory statements, the agent concluded "her responses were evasive at best."
Elsewhere, the document notes that the students were "persistent" in trying to gain access to the homes of law enforcement personnel.
On other occasions, the "students" showed up at homes of intelligence agents, judges and other government employees. The report describes a December 2000 incident when a man and a woman knocked on the door of an Atlanta DEA agent. "Both subjects claimed to be Israeli art students," the document states. "The Special Agent examined some of the artwork, but became suspicious when the students would not provide him with a contact telephone number.... Subsequently, the Special Agent saw someof the exact same artwork for sale at [a]kiosk in the Mall of Georgia."
Many of the apparent operatives had set up shop at addresses only stones' throws from Arabs in San Diego, Little Rock, Irving, Texas, and in South Florida. The Planet also has obtained a watch list of mostly Arabs under scrutiny by the U.S. government. The addresses of many correspond to the specific areas where the Israelis established bases.
For example, an address for the Sept. 11 hijacking leader, Mohammad Atta, is 3389 Sheridan St. in Hollywood, Fla., only a few blocks and a few hundred feet from the address of some of the Israelis, at 4220 Sheridan.
A dozen Israelis, including the alleged surveillance leader, had been based in Hollywood, Fla., between January and June last year -- quite possibly watching Arabs living nearby who are suspected of providing logistical support to Osama bin Laden's network. Especially in Florida, where 10 of the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists lived, the revelations about the Israeli activities bolster speculation, reported by a Fox news reporter, that the students-cum-spies might have gained advance knowledge of aspects of the Sept. 11 terrorists -- and not passed on that critical intelligence to the United States. CL sources with Israeli connections suggest that the information might have been relayed to U.S. agencies, but might have been ignored or overlooked.
Despite the highly suspect behavior of the Israelis, the media hadn't picked up on the story.
Then came Sept. 11. While America was mesmerized by the "War on Terrorism," the media went out to a four-martini lunch when it came to skeptical reporting.
With a few commendable exceptions. One of those is Carl Cameron, a gutsy reporter for Fox News. On Dec. 12, Cameron broke the blockbuster spy story. He said at the time: "Since Sept. 11, more than 60 Israelis have been arrested or detained, either under the new PATRIOT anti-terrorism law, or for immigration violations. A handful of active Israeli military were among those detained, according to investigators, who say some of the detainees also failed polygraph questions when asked about alleged surveillance activities against and in the United States."
Fox also reported the Israeli "students" "targeted" U.S. military bases -- which is bolstered by the report obtained by the CL.
In the rest of the world -- Europe, Arab countries and Israel, especially -- the story made headlines. Even the official Chinese news agency perked up. Not in our well-defended (against disturbing news) homeland, however.
Cameron, in an interview, said he doesn't believe the conspiracy theories about why the story was ignored here. An honest scribe, he points to a shortcoming in his own work -- one hammered on by Israeli critics at the time -- conceding "there were no (on the record) interviews. I didn't tell other reporters where to find the documents. They couldn't do instant journalism."
Others at Fox confirm there was intense pressure on the network by pro-Israeli lobbying groups, such as the Anti-Defamation League and the misnamed Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA).
"These charges are arrant nonsense unworthy of the usually reliable Fox News," CAMERA huffed in a Dec. 12 release.
Cameron reported Dec. 13 that federal agents were afraid to criticize Israel. "Investigators within the DEA, INS and FBI have all told Fox News that to pursue or even suggest Israeli spying ... is considered career suicide."
Cameron told me in similar language that's what journalists also can face. And, what's clear is that Fox quickly removed the story from its Web site. (It was reposted this month by Fox after other media began showing interest in the story.)
After Cameron's initial reports, the story pretty much evaporated in the United States before Christmas. Then, all hell broke loose in the last few weeks. Intelligence Online in France obtained the same 60-page June 2001 federal report that CL has. The French Web site reported that 120 Israelis had by now been detained or deported by U.S. authorities.
Let's repeat that: 120 potential spies. This isn't worth press curiosity?
Few papers have given the story significant space. Many, like the AJC, haven't uttered a peep.
Some of what has seeped out is disturbing. The Oklahoman, prompted by the French articles, reported last week that 10 months ago four Israelis peddling artwork (but carrying military IDs) were detained near sensitive Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. Le Monde in Paris recounted that six intercepted "students" had cell phones purchased by an Israeli vice consul in the United States. Sources told me that many of the phones had a walkie-talkie feature that was virtually impossible to intercept.
Bush administration shills were quick to try to spin the story -- perhaps to minimize damage should it turn out the government did have information in advance about the people or activities that led to the Sept. 11 attack. A Justice Department spokesperson, Susan Dryden, called the spy report an "urban myth," and other federal flacks trumpeted that no Israeli had been charged with or deported for spying. Of course, in the Great Game, "friendly" spies are seldom embarrassed by being called by their true colors. The Israelis who have been deported have been given the boot because of visa expirations and other minor violations.
The Washington Post, which apparently doesn't have the 60-page document, nonetheless reported March 6 that unnamed law enforcement officials had told the paper that a "disgruntled" DEA agent had compiled the report after other federal agencies didn't react to the Israelis' suspicious behavior. The Post, however, also quoted a DEA spokesman who acknowledged that the large number of incident reports had been combined into a draft memo. As with CL's inquiry, the DEA spokesman wouldn't confirm for the Post whether the memo was the 60-page document.
Predictably, Israeli Embassy spokesman Mark Reguev derided the Intelligence Online report as "nonsense."
And, pro-Israeli apologists such as anti-Arab ideologue Daniel Pipes quickly took the field with strident polemics. Pipes, who makes no claim of having seen the 60-page document, nonetheless claimed in a March 11 column that the story was a "dangerous falsehood" and that "U.S. journalists found not a shred of evidence to support" it.
The fact that reporters were beginning to piece together real shreds was blithely ignored by Pipes.
Israel in the past has belligerently denied wrongdoing until long after the truth was obvious. Israel claimed Jonathan Pollard -- a super spy who did horrendous, deadly damage to the United States until arrested in 1985 - wasn't an agent. And, Israel has stubbornly contended its 1967 attack on the USS Liberty, in which 35 American sailors were slaughtered, was an accident -- a lie exposed in recent reports including one last fall on the History Channel. A recent authoritative book, Body of Secrets, by James Bamford, concludes that National Security Agency officials "were virtually unanimous in their belief that the attack was deliberate."
With the purported art students, it's likely that denial will reach screeching levels. The Bush administration would find it difficult to explain why it either ignored or discounted such a large espionage operation.
Senior Editor John Sugg can be reached at 404-614-1241.
Information about the
Israeli spy ring in the US (which has received scant
The Cost of Israel to U.S. Taxpayers
By Richard H. Curtiss
DECEMBER 1997, Pages 43-45
FOR many years the American media said that "Israel receives $1.8 billion in military aid" or that "Israel receives $1.2 billion in economic aid." Both statements were true, but since they were never combined to give us the complete total of annual U.S. aid to Israel, they also were lies -- true lies.
Recently Americans have begun to read and hear that "Israel receives $3 billion in annual U.S. foreign aid." That's true. But it's still a lie. The problem is that in fiscal 1997 alone, Israel received from a variety of other U.S. federal budgets at least $525.8 million above and beyond its $3 billion from the foreign aid budget, and yet another $2 billion in federal loan guarantees. So the complete total of U.S. grants and loan guarantees to Israel for fiscal 1997 was $5,525,800,000.
One can truthfully blame the mainstream media for never digging out these figures for themselves, because none ever have. They were compiled by the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. But the mainstream media certainly are not alone. Although Congress authorizes America's foreign aid total, the fact that more than a third of it goes to a country smaller in both area and population than Hong Kong probably never has been mentioned on the floor of the Senate or House. Yet it's been going on for more than a generation.
Probably the only members of Congress who even suspect the full total of U.S. funds received by Israel each year are the privileged few committee members who actually mark it up. And almost all members of the concerned committees are Jewish, have taken huge campaign donations orchestrated by Israel's Washington, DC lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), or both. These congressional committee members are paid to act, not talk. So they do and they don't.
The same applies to the president, the secretary of state, and the foreign aid administrator. They all submit a budget that includes aid for Israel, which Congress approves, or increases, but never cuts. But no one in the executive branch mentions that of the few remaining U.S. aid recipients worldwide, all of the others are developing nations which either make their military bases available to the U.S., are key members of international alliances in which the U.S. participates, or have suffered some crippling blow of nature to their abilities to feed their people such as earthquakes, floods or droughts.
Israel, whose troubles arise solely from its unwillingness to give back land it seized in the 1967 war in return for peace with its neighbors, does not fit those criteria. In fact, Israel's 1995 per capita gross domestic product was $15,800. That put it below Britain at $19,500 and Italy at $18,700 and just above Ireland at $15,400 and Spain at $14,300.
All four of those European countries have contributed a very large share of immigrants to the U.S., yet none has organized an ethnic group to lobby for U.S. foreign aid. Instead, all four send funds and volunteers to do economic development and emergency relief work in other less fortunate parts of the world.
The lobby that Israel and its supporters have built in the United States to make all this aid happen, and to ban discussion of it from the national dialogue, goes far beyond AIPAC, with its $15 million budget, its 150 employees, and its five or six registered lobbyists who manage to visit every member of Congress individually once or twice a year.
AIPAC, in turn, can draw upon the resources of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a roof group set up solely to coordinate the efforts of some 52 national Jewish organizations on behalf of Israel.
Among them are Hadassah, the Zionist women's organization, which organizes a steady stream of American Jewish visitors to Israel; the American Jewish Congress, which mobilizes support for Israel among members of the traditionally left-of-center Jewish mainstream; and the American Jewish Committee, which plays the same role within the growing middle-of-the-road and right-of-center Jewish community. The American Jewish Committee also publishes Commentary, one of the Israel lobby's principal national publications.
Perhaps the most controversial of these groups is B'nai B'rith's Anti-Defamation League. Its original highly commendable purpose was to protect the civil rights of American Jews. Over the past generation, however, the ADL has regressed into a conspiratorial and, with a $45 million budget, extremely well-funded hate group.
In the 1980s, during the tenure of chairman Seymour Reich, who went on to become chairman of the Conference of Presidents, ADL was found to have circulated two annual fund-raising letters warning Jewish parents against allegedly negative influences on their children arising from the increasing Arab presence on American university campuses.
More recently, FBI raids on ADL's Los Angeles and San Francisco offices revealed that an ADL operative had purchased files stolen from the San Francisco police department that a court had ordered destroyed because they violated the civil rights of the individuals on whom they had been compiled. ADL, it was shown, had added the illegally prepared and illegally obtained material to its own secret files, compiled by planting informants among Arab-American, African-American, anti-Apartheid and peace and justice groups.
The ADL infiltrators took notes of the names and remarks of speakers and members of audiences at programs organized by such groups. ADL agents even recorded the license plates of persons attending such programs and then suborned corrupt motor vehicles department employees or renegade police officers to identify the owners.
Although one of the principal offenders fled the United States to escape prosecution, no significant penalties were assessed. ADL's Northern California office was ordered to comply with requests by persons upon whom dossiers had been prepared to see their own files, but no one went to jail and as yet no one has paid fines.
Not surprisingly, a defecting employee revealed in an article he published in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs that AIPAC, too, has such "enemies" files. They are compiled for use by pro-Israel journalists like Steven Emerson and other so-called "terrorism experts," and also by professional, academic or journalistic rivals of the persons described for use in black-listing, defaming, or denouncing them. What is never revealed is that AIPAC's "opposition research" department, under the supervision of Michael Lewis, son of famed Princeton University Orientalist Bernard Lewis, is the source of this defamatory material.
But this is not AIPAC's most controversial activity. In the 1970s, when Congress put a cap on the amount its members could earn from speakers' fees and book royalties over and above their salaries, it halted AIPAC's most effective ways of paying off members for voting according to AIPAC recommendations. Members of AIPAC's national board of directors solved the problem by returning to their home states and creating political action committees (PACs).
Most special interests have PACs, as do many major corporations, labor unions, trade associations and public-interest groups. But the pro-Israel groups went wild. To date some 126 pro-Israel PACs have been registered, and no fewer than 50 have been active in every national election over the past generation.
An individual voter can give up to $2,000 to a candidate in an election cycle, and a PAC can give a candidate up to $10,000. However, a single special interest with 50 PACs can give a candidate who is facing a tough opponent, and who has voted according to its recommendations, up to half a million dollars. That's enough to buy all the television time needed to get elected in most parts of the country.
Even candidates who don't need this kind of money certainly don't want it to become available to a rival from their own party in a primary election, or to an opponent from the opposing party in a general election. As a result, all but a handful of the 535 members of the Senate and House vote as AIPAC instructs when it comes to aid to Israel, or other aspects of U.S. Middle East policy.
There is something else very special about AIPAC's network of political action committees. Nearly all have deceptive names. Who could possibly know that the Delaware Valley Good Government Association in Philadelphia, San Franciscans for Good Government in California, Cactus PAC in Arizona, Beaver PAC in Wisconsin, and even Icepac in New York are really pro-Israel PACs under deep cover?
In fact, the congressmembers know it when they list the contributions they receive on the campaign statements they have to prepare for the Federal Election Commission. But their constituents don't know this when they read these statements. So just as no other special interest can put so much "hard money" into any candidate's election campaign as can the Israel lobby, no other special interest has gone to such elaborate lengths to hide its tracks.
Although AIPAC, Washington's most feared special-interest lobby, can hide how it uses both carrots and sticks to bribe or intimidate members of Congress, it can't hide all of the results.
Anyone can ask one of their representatives in Congress for a chart prepared by the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress, that shows Israel received $62.5 billion in foreign aid from fiscal year 1949 through fiscal year 1996. People in the national capital area also can visit the library of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Rosslyn, Virginia, and obtain the same information, plus charts showing how much foreign aid the U.S. has given other countries as well.
Visitors will learn that in precisely the same 1949-1996 time frame, the total of U.S. foreign aid to all of the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean combined was $62,497,800,000 -- almost exactly the amount given to tiny Israel.
According to the Population Reference Bureau of Washington, DC, in mid-1995 the sub-Saharan countries had a combined population of 568 million. The $24,415,700,000 in foreign aid they had received by then amounted to $42.99 per sub-Saharan African.
Similarly, with a combined population of 486 million, all of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean together had received $38,254,400,000. This amounted to $79 per person.
The per capita U.S. foreign aid to Israel's 5.8 million people during the same period was $10,775.48. This meant that for every dollar the U.S. spent on an African, it spent $250.65 on an Israeli, and for every dollar it spent on someone from the Western Hemisphere outside the United States, it spent $214 on an Israeli.
These comparisons already seem shocking, but they are far from the whole truth. Using reports compiled by Clyde Mark of the Congressional Research Service and other sources, freelance writer Frank Collins tallied for the Washington Report all of the extra items for Israel buried in the budgets of the Pentagon and other federal agencies in fiscal year 1993. Washington Report news editor Shawn Twing did the same thing for fiscal years 1996 and 1997.
They uncovered $1.271 billion in extras in FY 1993, $355.3 million in FY 1996 and $525.8 million in FY 1997. These represent an average increase of 12.2 percent over the officially recorded foreign aid totals for the same fiscal years, and they probably are not complete. It's reasonable to assume, therefore, that a similar 12.2 percent hidden increase has prevailed over all of the years Israel has received aid.
As of Oct. 31, 1997 Israel will have received $3.05 billion in U.S. foreign aid for fiscal year 1997 and $3.08 billion in foreign aid for fiscal year 1998. Adding the 1997 and 1998 totals to those of previous years since 1949 yields a total of $74,157,600,000 in foreign aid grants and loans. Assuming that the actual totals from other budgets average 12.2 percent of that amount, that brings the grand total to $83,204,827,200.
But that's not quite all. Receiving its annual foreign aid appropriation during the first month of the fiscal year, instead of in quarterly installments as do other recipients, is just another special privilege Congress has voted for Israel. It enables Israel to invest the money in U.S. Treasury notes. That means that the U.S., which has to borrow the money it gives to Israel, pays interest on the money it has granted to Israel in advance, while at the same time Israel is collecting interest on the money. That interest to Israel from advance payments adds another $1.650 billion to the total, making it $84,854,827,200.That's the number you should write down for total aid to Israel. And that's $14,346 each for each man, woman and child in Israel.
It's worth noting that that figure does not include U.S. government loan guarantees to Israel, of which Israel has drawn $9.8 billion to date. They greatly reduce the interest rate the Israeli government pays on commercial loans, and they place additional burdens on U.S. taxpayers, especially if the Israeli government should default on any of them. But since neither the savings to Israel nor the costs to U.S. taxpayers can be accurately quantified, they are excluded from consideration here.
Further, friends of Israel never tire of saying that Israel has never defaulted on repayment of a U.S. government loan. It would be equally accurate to say Israel has never been required to repay a U.S. government loan. The truth of the matter is complex, and designed to be so by those who seek to conceal it from the U.S. taxpayer.
Most U.S. loans to Israel are forgiven, and many were made with the explicit understanding that they would be forgiven before Israel was required to repay them. By disguising as loans what in fact were grants, cooperating members of Congress exempted Israel from the U.S. oversight that would have accompanied grants. On other loans, Israel was expected to pay the interest and eventually to begin repaying the principal. But the so-called Cranston Amendment, which has been attached by Congress to every foreign aid appropriation since 1983, provides that economic aid to Israel will never dip below the amount Israel is required to pay on its outstanding loans. In short, whether U.S. aid is extended as grants or loans to Israel, it never returns to the Treasury.
Israel enjoys other privileges. While most countries receiving U.S. military aid funds are expected to use them for U.S. arms, ammunition and training, Israel can spend part of these funds on weapons made by Israeli manufacturers. Also, when it spends its U.S. military aid money on U.S. products, Israel frequently requires the U.S. vendor to buy components or materials from Israeli manufacturers. Thus, though Israeli politicians say that their own manufacturers and exporters are making them progressively less dependent upon U.S. aid, in fact those Israeli manufacturers and exporters are heavily subsidized by U.S. aid.
Although it's beyond the parameters of this study, it's worth mentioning that Israel also receives foreign aid from some other countries. After the United States, the principal donor of both economic and military aid to Israel is Germany.
By far the largest component of German aid has been in the form of restitution payments to victims of Nazi attrocities. But there also has been extensive German military assistance to Israel during and since the Gulf war, and a variety of German educational and research grants go to Israeli institutions. The total of German assistance in all of these categories to the Israeli government, Israeli individuals and Israeli private institutions has been some $31 billion or $5,345 per capita, bringing the per capita total of U.S. and German assistance combined to almost $20,000 per Israeli. Since very little public money is spent on the more than 20 percent of Israeli citizens who are Muslim or Christian, the actual per capita benefits received by Israel's Jewish citizens would be considerably higher.
Generous as it is, what Israelis actually got in U.S. aid is considerably less than what it has cost U.S. taxpayers to provide it. The principal difference is that so long as the U.S. runs an annual budget deficit, every dollar of aid the U.S. gives Israel has to be raised through U.S. government borrowing.
On this basis the $84.8 billion in grants, loans and commodities Israel has received from the U.S. since 1949 cost the U.S. an additional $49,936,880,000 in interest.
There are many other costs of Israel to U.S. taxpayers, such as most or all of the $45.6 billion in U.S. foreign aid to Egypt since Egypt made peace with Israel in 1979 (compared to $4.2 billion in U.S. aid to Egypt for the preceding 26 years). U.S. foreign aid to Egypt, which is pegged at two-thirds of U.S. foreign aid to Israel, averages $2.2 billion per year.
There also have been immense political and military costs to the U.S. for its consistent support of Israel during Israel's half-century of disputes with the Palestinians and all of its Arab neighbors. In addition, there have been the approximately $10 billion in U.S. loan guarantees and perhaps $20 billion in tax-exempt contributions made to Israel by American Jews in the nearly half-century since Israel was created.
Even excluding all of these extra costs, America's $84.8 billion in aid to Israel from fiscal years 1949 through 1998, and the interest the U.S. paid to borrow this money, has cost U.S. taxpayers $134.8 billion, not adjusted for inflation. Or, put another way, the nearly $14,630 every one of 5.8 million Israelis received from the U.S. government by Oct. 31, 1997 has cost American taxpayers $23,240 per Israeli.
It would be interesting to know how many of those American taxpayers believe they and their families have received as much from the U.S. Treasury as has everyone who has chosen to become a citizen of Israel. But it's a question that will never occur to the American public because, so long as America's mainstream media, Congress and president maintain their pact of silence, few Americans will ever know the true cost of Israel to U.S. taxpayers.
Richard Curtiss, a retired U.S. foreign service officer, is the executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
An Open Letter to American Jews
April 3 2002 at 9:23 AM Tikkun Magazine
by Assaf Oron
(Assaf Oron is one of the first Israeli refusenisks, i.e. those reservists who refuse to serve in the Occupied territories.)
Yesterday I was informed of an interesting phenomenon: a peace-supporting Jewish organization called Tikkun published an ad in favor of us, the Israeli reservist refuseniks, and was immediately bombarded with hate mails and phones from other American Jews. What ís more interesting is that even other Jews considering themselves supporters of peace have denounced the Tikkun ad, to the extent that some of the Tikkun Advisory Board members are resigning in order to minimize the personal damage to themselves. This has so saddened, alarmed and angered me, that I find myself setting aside a half-day at the eve of Passover, and writing this open letter to you all. As is my habit, it is quite long, so please bear with me.
Most of the 'civilized' attacks, so I understand, were seemingly aimed at this or that detail of the Tikkun ad. This is nothing new to me. Over the past two months since we came out with our own ad, I've heard and read so many specific arguments about specific aspects of our act. They range from petty nit-picking to plain ludicrous, and each and every one of them can be refuted to dust in a matter of minutes. But the moment you refute them, new specific arguments sprout up like mushrooms. It is clear that there is something very general and non-specific behind all this criticism. Therefore, if you allow me, I will start from the general and only later turn to a couple of these specific issues.
The general theme is the tribal theme. A very very loud voice (and in Israel nowadays, it is the only voice that is allowed to be fully heard) keeps shouting that we are in the midst of a war between two tribes: a tribe of human beings, of pure good ñ the Israelis ñ and a tribe of sub-human beings, of pure evil ñ the Palestinians. This voice is so loud, that it has found its way even to the op-ed pages of the New York Times (William Safire, March 24 or 25). To those who find this black-and-white picture a bit hard to believe, the same voice shouts that this is a war of life and death. Only one tribe will survive, and so even if we are not purely good, we must lay morality and conscience to sleep, shut up and fight to kill--or else, the Palestinians will throw us into the sea.
Does this ring a bell to you? It does to me. As a little child growing up in Israel under Golda Meir and Moshe Dayan, all I heard was that the Arabs are inhuman monsters who want to throw us into the sea, they understand only force, and since our wonderful IDF has won the Six Day War they know not to mess with us anymore --or else. And of course, we must keep the Liberated Territories to ourselves, because there's no one to talk with. Then came the Yom Kippur war, and for a child of 7 it was the perfect proof that indeed the Arabs want to throw us into the sea, and what a great opportunity it was for our glorious IDF to teach them a lesson. I prayed for the war to continue to its natural and final end --the complete surrender of all Arab armies. I was too small to evaluate, then, how the war really ended; all these cease-fires and talks were too complicated and boring, much more boring than a war. And it seemed humiliating that WE should withdraw in these cease-fires; I remember that the re-opening of the Suez Canal was portrayed in our mass media as a kind of defeat.
A few years passed and a funny thing happened: those throw-us-into-the-sea Arabs came to talk with us, and in exchange for all of Sinai they would sign a full peace. The IDF chief of staff (the late Motte Gur, later a Labor Party minister) shouted that it is a hoax, that we should not believe Saadat, but the politicians had to sign. Already a teenager, I went and protested against the withdrawal from Sinai. It seemed strange to me that most of the demonstrators were orthodox Jews. After all, it was a purely logical issue: the Arabs are not to be trusted, that's what we've learned from day one. Well, lucky for the country, the government and the majority of the people employed a different logic, and the peace with Egypt was not missed.
But the throw-us-into-the-sea paradigm immediately found new fields for play. There was an inconvenient reality on the Northern border, and even though the forces on the other side (Palestinians 'Phew') had strictly adhered to a secret cease-fire for about a year, they were Arabs and therefore could not be trusted. So we talked ourselves into invading Lebanon and setting up a friendlier regime there. The mastermind of the invasion was defense minister Ariel Sharon, and Shimon Peres, then head of opposition, voted together with his party in favor of the invasion. Only later, when it turned sour, and after many refuseniks already sat in jail, would the main opposition turn against the whole affair. For me at 16 it was also a turning point. When I understood that the government had lied to me in order to sell me this war, I turned from 'center-rightist' to 'leftist'. Sadly enough, it has taken me almost 20 more years, in a slow and painful process, to understand how deeply the lies and self-delusion are rooted in our collective perception of reality.
Anyway, when Peres withdrew most of our forces from Lebanon in 1985, the Arabs could still not be trusted. And so, to soothe our endless paranoia and suspicion, we created that perpetual source of death and crime ironically known as "the Security Zone." It took many years, a lot of blood and Four Mothers ñ against almost all politicians, generals, and columnists ñ to finally pull us out of Lebanon. In the long and hard way, we learned that even the Lebanese are human beings whose rights must be respected.
But not the Palestinians. Because the Palestinians are too painfully close, like a rival sibling (and, may I add, because they have always been so weak), we have singled them out for a special treatment. Having them under our rule, weíve allowed ourselves to trample them like dirt, like dogs. Weíve been doing it even to our own Palestinian citizens (especially before 1966), but we have perfected our treatment in this strange no manís land created in 1967, and known as the Occupied Territories. There we have created an entirely hallucinatory reality, in which the true humans, members of the Nation of Masters, could move and settle freely and safely, while the sub-humans, the Nation of Slaves, were shoved into the corners, and kept invisible and controlled under our IDF boots.
I know. I've been there. I was taught how to do this, back in the mid-1980ís. I did and witnessed as a matter of fact, deeds that I'm ashamed to remember to this day. And fortunately for me, I did not have to witness or do anything truly "pornographic", as some friends of mine experienced.
Since 1987, this cruel, impossible, unnatural, insulting reality in the Territories has been exploding in our face. But because of our unshakeable belief that the Palestinians are monsters who want to throw us into the sea, we reacted by trying to maintain what we've created at all costs. This meant of course employing more and more and more force, with the natural result of receiving more and more and more force in return. When a fledgling and hesitating peace process tried to work its way through this mess, one major factor (perhaps THE factor) that undermined it and voided its meaning was our establishment ís endless fear and suspicion of The Other. To resolve this fear and suspicion, we chose the insane route of demanding full control of The Other throughout the process. When this Other finally decided that weíre cheating him out of his freedom (and having too many mental disorders of his own to accommodate ours as well), violence erupted, and all our ancient instincts woke up. There they are, we said in relief, now we see their true face again. The Arabs want to throw us into the sea. There's no one to talk with ('no partner", in our beloved ex-PM's words), and they understand only force. And so we responded as we know and love, with more and more and more force. This time, the effect was that of putting out a fire with a barrel of gasoline. And that's the moment when I said to myself, NO, I'm not playing this game anymore.
But what about the existential threat, you may ask? Well I ask you, have you not eyes? Don't you see our tanks strolling in Palestinian streets every other day? Don't you see our helicopters hovering over their neighborhoods choosing which window to shoot a missile into? What type of existential need are we answering in trampling the Palestinians?
Prevention of terror, I hear you say. Let me use the wonderful words of my friend Ishay Rosen-Zvi: You are fighting against terror? What a joke. The Israeli government, in its policies of Occupation, has turned the Territories into a greenhouse for growing terror!!!
We have sown the seeds, grown them, nurtured them ñ and then our blood is spilled, and the centrist-right-wing politicians reap the benefits. Indeed, terror is the right-wing politicianís best friend. You know what? When you treat millions of people like sub-humans for so long, some of them will find inhuman strategies to fight back. Isn't that what the Zionists, and other Jewish revolutionaries, argued about a hundred years ago in order to explain the questionable strategies of survival that Jews used in Europe? Didn't our forefathers say, Let us live like human beings, and see how we'll act just like other human beings?
So here's the deal. I hope that the first part of this letter made it clear that I don't buy the "they want to throw us into the sea" crap. It's just a collective self-delusion of ours. But more importantly, I don't see tribes. I see people, human beings. I believe that the Palestinians are human beings like us. What a concept, eh? And before everything else, before EVERYTHING else, we must treat them like human beings without demanding anything in return. And no (to all die-hard Barak fans), throwing them a couple of crumbs in which they can set up pitiful, completely controlled Bantustans in between our settlements and bypass roads, and believing it to be a great act of "generosity', does NOT come close to answering this basic requirement. This requirement is NOT negotiable; moreover, in a perfect demonstration of historical justice, it is a vital requirement for the survival of our own State.
After that, and based on the lessons of modern history, especially that of the Arab-Israeli conflict (as was briefly described above), I do believe that the Palestinians will calm down, and that the elusive "Security" and peace will finally come upon us (as it did, incidentally, for almost two whole years between Wye 1998 and Camp David 2000). I don't have any insurance policy for that (well --almost none, except the solemn promise of the entire Arab world), but remember - I have this funny notion that they are human beings. In any case, we are seeing now all too well what type of insurance policy the opposite paradigm is providing us.
In the meanwhile, I refuse to be a terrorist in my tribe's name. Because that's what it is: not a "war against terror', as our propaganda machine tries to sell. This is a war OF terror, a war in which, in return for Palestinian guerrilla and terror, we employ the IDF in two types of terror. The more visible one are the violent acts of killing and destruction, those which some people still try to explain away as "surgical acts of defense." The worse type of terror is the silent one, which has continued unabated since 1967 and through the entire Oslo process. It is the terror of Occupation, of humiliation on a personal and collective basis, of deprivation and legalized robbery, of alternating exploitation and starvation. This is the mass of the iceberg, the terror that is itself a long-term greenhouse for counter-terror. And I simply refuse to be a terrorist and criminal, even if the entire tribe denounces me.
That leads me to the first specific subject: are we, the refuseniks, being persecuted and denounced, or are we enjoying the wonderful Israeli tolerance and democracy and exploiting it to make trouble? Well, I must admit that this is not yet the USSR or Pinochet's Chile, and at least the Jews here enjoy a relative democracy (describing it as vibrant or tolerant would be a gross error, but that is a different subject altogether; maybe in another letter). I first must point out that the government and IDF also enjoy the image of 'letting us speak', and it serves them well. Secondly, in a rather sophisticated manner the establishment (with the generous and voluntary help of the mass media) is effectively shutting us up.
The media has decided for us that there is no opposition. Thus, a demonstration of 20,000 is reported in 5 seconds at the late-night edition, and a demonstration of 500 outside a military prison is completely ignored. The fact that right now there are over a dozen refuseniks in jail ñ the largest number in twenty years ñ is hidden from the Israeli public. The story of Captain (res.) Itai Haviv and Sergeant (res.) Yair Yeffeth, who demanded a full military trial in which they could prove that refusal is innocence and that the order to serve in the Territories is illegal, was not told anywhere except for a brief mention in the back pages of Haaretz. So the public, of course, didnít learn that the IDF evaded answering these demands, and that Itai Haviv will spend the Seder night in prison following a ëdisciplinary hearing.í I hope the readers are intelligent enough to know that if the media wanted, these stories would make the headlines.
Still, you keep hearing about us. That's the key word, ABOUT us. But you don't hear us. You just hear people explaining, analyzing, mostly (in a ratio of 99 to 1) attacking us. We have become the perfect 'hate hour' figures, to reunite the tribe against (have you read 1984?) Petty "volunteer" groups who organized against us, a mayor who called upon local governments not to hire us, and a group of industrialists who called employers to fire us, have all won their moment in the spotlight. No one cared to mention that these are blatantly illegal calls (no, ëthe lawí is remembered only when we 'break' it). No one has tried to set limits to this discussion.
Moreover, the prime minister in one of his rare public addresses blamed us for the wave of terror (us, not his catastrophic policies). The IDF chief of staff canít stop talking about us; he sees us as a bunch of inciters with a hidden agenda. So, ironically, the only thing protecting us from long-term ëgulagí imprisonment and from losing our jobs is public opinion - the rather large pockets of support and sympathy among key sectors in the Israeli public, and yes, support ads such as the one published by Tikkun. The moment the government or IDF will think the lights are out, and no one sees or cares ñ they will find or invent the 'legal' clause (Israeli politicians are experts in this) and throw those they believe to be our "leaders" to jail for long terms. Remember, even poor Abie Nathan was thrown in for two years, just because he dared speak with PLO personnel about peace.
But that's nothing, because the moment our government will sense a "lights out" situation - a huge terror attack, an American attack on Iraq - there will be a horrible bloodbath in the Territories, compared to which the last year and a half will be remembered as a happy picnic. And that brings me to the second specific issue, that of the Nazi allusion. Some readers thought that the way the Tikkun ad said "obeying orders" was an allusion to Nazi murderers' claim that they were "just obeying orders." Rabbi Lerner has rightly pointed out to these readers, that automatic execution of orders is a characteristic of all dictatorship, not just the Nazi one, while refusal on moral grounds is a sign of democracy. I agree, but let me be less polite and politically correct. After all, it's just my country that's going up in smoke as I write. What is this? Does Israel have the exclusive monopoly of labeling all its rivals as Nazis, and everyone else has to shut up, even when reality starts speaking for itself?
Parties that support the essentially Nazi idea of deporting all Palestinians from the country, have been part of our Knesset and our "legitimate" political map since 1984. Recent opinion polls show that 35% of the Jewish public now supports this "solution", as it is sometimes called. Leaders, Rabbis, and just plain folk feel free to call openly in the mass media to eradicate Palestinian cities with or without their tenants. Last weekend, Gen. (res.) Effi Eitam, fresh out of the military and all ready to take the leadership of the religious public and become a deputy or alternative to Netanyahu, received a flattering cover story on Haaretz supplement. He unfolded his chilling ideology, calling to expel those Palestinians who don't want to remain in the Galilee and West Bank as serfs, to Jordan, and from Gaza to Sinai. And he said this: why should us, the country poorest in land resources, bear the burden of solving the Palestinian problem? Well I don't know about you, but I remember some of the Nazi rhetoric in that dark period between the Kristallnacht of 1938 and the beginning of the war, when Jews were expelled from Germany but could find no safe haven anywhere else. When I see a retired IDF general and rising political star use the exact same Nazi rhetoric on Israel's most "liberal" newspaper, without any criticism by his interviewer or the editors ñ my hair just stands on my head in horror.
Let's move from the political scene back to the ground. My friend, Captain (Res.) Dan Tamir, decided to refuse to serve in the Territories about a year ago, after he realized what he'd done as a reserve regiment ís intelligence officer a few weeks before that. He realized he had laid out the plans to convert a large Palestinian town into a closed ghetto. You can find his full statement on our website, www.seruv.org.il . The vast majority of Palestinians in the Territories now starve in such ghettos; in those days of mercy when they are allowed to leave them by foot and perhaps catch a taxi, these taxis are forbidden from using most of the paved roads in the region.
But why listen to a "leftist"? Let's hear it from senior IDF officers. One of the top commanders in the Territories was quoted in Haaretz (Jan. 25) as saying that in order to prepare for potential battles in dense urban neighborhoods, the IDF must learn, if necessary, how the German army "operated" in the Warsaw Ghetto. A week later, the reporter confirmed this quote and the fact that this is a widespread opinion in the IDF, and went further to morally defend it. A small number of people, including myself, tried to raise a scandal over this. One letter to the editor was published in Haaretz. A much tougher letter, which I wrote, was never published, nor was my plea for a phone discussion with an editor ever answered. The issue just died down. No one in Israel or in the Jewish public abroad was interested. Where were all these holy souls, who now scold Tikkun because they indirectly allude to the Nazi horror, where were they all when a senior IDF officer proudly called, "in order to beat the Palestinians, let's be Judo-Nazis"?
In my letter to Haaretz I went further. Knowing the IDF mentality and adding one to one, I concluded that the IDF is operationally prepared to invade refugee camps - an utter, indefensible war crime - and through this leak to the press it is starting to pressure the government and prepare the public opinion for the invasion. The letter was not published. It was sent on February 2. A few weeks later we all saw the horrors of the refugee camp invasions and the bloody revenge attacks that followed culminating on Passover eve. And you know what? Army generals and colonels morally and professionally pat themselves on the back, because these invasions "prevented terror", and killed only dozens and not thousands. (Note: in fact, the major reason limiting the bloodshed was the "terrorists" responsible decision not to turn the camps into all-out battlegrounds. But this may change in the next round.)
In truth, I have little hope that the Israeli public will wake up. The Israeli public, in its fear and confusion, has made a decision (aided by the politician s and mass media) to go to sleep and wake up only ìafter it is all overî. But it wonít be over, because while our mind sleeps our muscles tighten the death grip, instead of doing the only sensible thing (which requires an open mind) ñ which is to let go. Will you guys join the hypocrite mobs who sing lullabies to Israel and pounce upon the refuseniks, upon Tikkun, to shut us up? Or will you finally take responsibility and be the true friends that Israel needs now ñ even if it means not being "nice" to Israel for a while? As you sit tonight at the Seder table, please remember the dozen or so refuseniks that spend this Seder in a military jail. More importantly, please remember the thousand or so people, three quarters Palestinians and one quarter Israelis, who were here with us a year ago and have been murdered. Most of them could have been here with us, if you and we had acted sooner. We have now acted, done what little we can do. Please think of the many thousands that may be doomed soon, if you continue sitting on the fence.
May you have a happy Holiday of Freedom,
Please help us struggle free from fear, racism, hatred and the deaths they produce.
by courtesy & © 2002 Tikkun Magazine & Assaf Oron
SHARON CROSSES BUSH - BUSH RUNS FOR COVER April 2 2002 at 7:57 PM Is Sharon Blackmailing Bush?
by Ahmed Amr, Editor, Nile Media Sunday, March 31, 2002
Ponder the following sentence from The Washington Post, March 30 edition: "Cheney and Rumsfeld have long cautioned against heightening American involvement in trying to resolve the Middle East conflict, especially if it means crossing Sharon."
Now consider this little warning to Bush from The New York Times, March 28. In an article by Serge Schmemann, they write that "Sharon has made clear he is not in a mood to hold off. The prime minister openly crossed the Americans when he declared he was not prepared to allow Mr. Arafat to travel, and his government has let it be known that it is ready to resume major military operations in Palestinian territories."
What an extraordinary world we live in. The first completely dominant superpower in history can have its President publicly humiliated by a well documented psychotic war criminal. In response to this flogging in the international arena, Cheney cautions his President against tangling with Sharon. What is wrong with this picture? Where is their self-respect as men? Where is their pride as Americans supposedly representing the rest of us? Is this about America or some little warped political game they play with Sharon and his Yiddish supremacist advocates?
Why would Cheney take the humiliation of his President as cause to be wary of crossing Sharon? What dirt does Sharon and his American agents have on Cheney. Is it Cheney's advisers? Is it that they are all drawn from the ranks of the Israel First cadres in the beltway? Is it because a certain Libby manages Cheney? The same Libby who took up the Marc Rich case even after Mr. Rich gave up his American citizenship. The same Marc Rich who got an unwarranted Clinton pardon because so many Israeli politicians wrote personal recommendations on his behalf. Is it that Sharon can flex the muscle of the Yiddish supremacist media barons at The Washington Post and The New York Times? Can it be that Sharon can round up more 'American' senators than the U.S. President? Is it Enron? We can only speculate about the personal motivations of American policy-makers because they are so personal that they ought to have no place in public policy.
It certainly looks like a made for Hollywood thriller. Sharon, a war criminal, is able to threaten the President of the United States with dire consequences. The Bush Administration, burns the midnight oil, trembling at the knees, wary of tangling with Sulzberger or Sharon's senators or, for that matter, Netenyahu's senators. The plot involves top secret Israeli files, the bounty of decades of espionage. Sheltered in these detailed files is signed documented proof of American complicity in the invasion of Lebanon, Sabra and Shatila and the laundry list of American green lights to Israeli governments dating back to the 1967 war. Sharon is just the kind of thug who will use his girth to threaten to hold your ankle as he drowns.
The abnormal behavior of this Administration, especially in light of the 9-11 atrocities, is certainly worth pondering. The raw fear in their dealings with Sharon cannot be ignored. You can see them break into a cold sweat every time they tip toe towards a mild criticism of Sharon's latest crime. Sharon himself has boasted of his ability to 'control the Americans'. Notice how Israeli repression hardly merits a mention from a Secretary of State (Colin L. Powell) married to an African-American who grew up in the Birmingham, Alabama, of the 1950s. Instead of standing for liberty and freedom, we have a State Department that constantly tries to intimidate the Palestinians into capitulating to Sharon's thugs. They merely 'suggest' that Sharon 'ease up' on the siege of every Palestinian village and every town. Collective punishment against the Palestinians is explicitly endorsed as 'justifiable' policy. The murder of hundreds of Palestinians is rationalized in callous language that amounts to vilification.
What exactly is America's national security interest in repressing the Palestinians and stealing their lands? Why have the Americans lavishly subsidized insane Israeli settlement policies for 35 years? Why are we so closely aligned to a 'country' (Israel) that habitually elects criminal thugs to the highest office in the land? Try to get an answer to these questions from the State Department. They just gaze at you, pretend they didn't hear the question and sign another check to subsidize IDF brutality.
What we have here is an American political conspiracy of men who don't have the nerve to confront a war criminal on the rampage. Because that war criminal can take them down with certain revelations about their past behavior in dealing with his past behavior. A complicated plot that actually jives remarkably well with the historical record of a very weird Israeli-American 'special' relationship.
Of course, Milosovic is currently trying to do the very same thing in the Hague. In the case of this Serbian thug, the mighty mass media machine will ignore his attempts to implicate members of the Clinton Administration. When it comes to Sharon, Bush knows whose side the Yiddish supremacist will be on. They will not let Sharon be tarnished without tarnishing Bush and company. Their Israeli Prime Minister commands their loyalties and they will certainly not hesitate to wage a full assault against any government that 'crosses' their war criminal.
Read This Interesting article in to-day's Guardian.
Brian Whitaker reports on the network of research institutes whose views and TV appearances are supplanting all other experts on Middle Eastern issues
Monday August 19, 2002
A little-known fact about Richard Perle, the leading advocate of hardline policies at the Pentagon, is that he once wrote a political thriller. The book, appropriately called Hard Line, is set in the days of the cold war with the Soviet Union. Its hero is a male senior official at the Pentagon, working late into the night and battling almost single-handedly to rescue the US from liberal wimps at the state department who want to sign away America's nuclear deterrent in a disarmament deal with the Russians. Ten years on Mr Perle finds himself cast in the real-life role of his fictional hero - except that the Russians are no longer a threat, so he has to make do with the Iraqis, the Saudis and terrorism in general.
In real life too, Mr Perle is not fighting his battle single-handed. Around him there is a cosy and cleverly-constructed network of Middle East "experts" who share his neo-conservative outlook and who pop up as talking heads on US television, in newspapers, books, testimonies to congressional committees, and at lunchtime gatherings in Washington.
The network centres on research institutes - thinktanks that attempt to influence government policy and are funded by tax-deductible gifts from unidentified donors.
When he is not too busy at the Pentagon, or too busy running Hollinger Digital - part of the group that publishes the Daily Telegraph in Britain - or at board meetings of the Jerusalem Post, Mr Perle is "resident fellow" at one of the thinktanks - the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
Mr Perle's close friend and political ally at AEI is David Wurmser, head of its Middle East studies department. Mr Perle helpfully wrote the introduction to Mr Wurmser's book, Tyranny's Ally: America's Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein.
Mr Wurmser's wife, Meyrav, is co-founder, along with Colonel Yigal Carmon, formerly of Israeli military intelligence - of the Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri), which specialises in translating and distributing articles that show Arabs in a bad light.
She also holds strong views on leftwing Israeli intellectuals, whom she regards as a threat to Israel (see "Selective Memri", Guardian Unlimited, August 12, 2002).
Ms Wurmser currently runs the Middle East section at another thinktank - the Hudson Institute, where Mr Perle recently joined the board of trustees. In addition, Ms Wurmser belongs to an organisation called the Middle East Forum.
Michael Rubin, a specialist on Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, who recently arrived from yet another thinktank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, assists Mr Perle and Mr Wurmser at AEI. Mr Rubin also belongs to the Middle East Forum.
Another Middle East scholar at AEI is Laurie Mylroie, author of Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War Against America, which expounds a rather daft theory that Iraq was behind the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing.
When the book was published by the AEI, Mr Perle hailed it as "splendid and wholly convincing".
An earlier book on Iraq Saddam Hussein and the Crisis in the Gulf which Ms Mylroie co-authored with Judith Miller, a New York Times journalist, became the New York Times's No 1 bestseller.
Ms Mylroie and Ms Miller both have connections with the Middle East Forum. Mr Perle, Mr Rubin, Ms Wurmser, Ms Mylroie and Ms Miller are all clients of Eleana Benador, a Peruvian-born linguist who acts as a sort of theatrical agent for experts on the Middle East and terrorism, organising their TV appearances and speaking engagements.
Of the 28 clients on Ms Benador's books, at least nine are connected with the AEI, the Washington Institute and the Middle East Forum.
Although these three privately-funded organisations promote views from only one end of the political spectrum, the amount of exposure that they get with their books, articles and TV appearances is extraordinary.
The Washington Institute, for example, takes the credit for placing up to 90 articles written by its members - mainly "op-ed" pieces - in newspapers during the last year.
Fourteen of those appeared in the Los Angeles Times, nine in New Republic, eight in the Wall Street Journal, eight in the Jerusalem Post, seven in the National Review Online, six in the Daily Telegraph, six in the Washington Post, four in the New York Times and four in the Baltimore Sun. Of the total, 50 were written by Michael Rubin.
Anyone who has tried offering op-ed articles to a major newspaper will appreciate the scale of this achievement.
The media attention bestowed on these thinktanks is not for want of other experts in the field. American universities have about 1,400 full-time faculty members specialising in the Middle East.
Of those, an estimated 400-500 are experts on some aspect of contemporary politics in the region, but their views are rarely sought or heard, either by the media or government.
"I see a parade of people from these institutes coming through as talking heads [on cable TV]. I very seldom see a professor from a university on those shows," says Juan Cole, professor of history at Michigan University, who is a critic of the private institutes.
"Academics [at universities] are involved in analysing what's going on but they're not advocates, so they don't have the same impetus," he said.
"The expertise on the Middle East that exists in the universities is not being utilised, even for basic information."
Of course, very few academics have agents like Eleana Benador to promote their work and very few are based in Washington - which can make arranging TV appearances , or rubbing shoulders with state department officials a bit difficult.
Those who work for US thinktanks are often given university-style titles such as "senior fellow", or "adjunct scholar", but their research is very different from that of universities - it is entirely directed towards shaping government policy.
What nobody outside the thinktanks knows, however, is who pays for this policy-shaping research.
Under US law, large donations given to non-profit, "non-partisan" organisations such as thinktanks must be itemised in their annual "form 990" returns to the tax authorities. But the identity of donors does not need to be made public.
The AEI, which deals with many other issues besides the Middle East, had assets of $35.8m (£23.2m) and an income of $24.5m in 2000, according to its most recent tax return.
It received seven donations of $1m or above in cash or shares, the highest being $3.35m.
The Washington Institute, which deals only with Middle East policy, had assets of $11.2m and an income of $4.1m in 2000. The institute says its donors are identifiable because they are also its trustees, but the list of trustees contains 239 names which makes it impossible to distinguish large benefactors from small ones.
The smaller Middle East Forum had an income of less than $1.5m in 2000, with the largest single donation amounting to $355,000.
In terms of their ability to influence policy, thinktanks have several advantages over universities. To begin with they can hire staff without committee procedures, which allows them to build up teams of researchers that share a similar political orientation.
They can also publish books themselves without going through the academic refereeing processes required by university publishers. And they usually site themselves in Washington, close to government and the media.
Apart from influencing policy on the Middle East, the Washington Institute and the Middle East Forum recently launched a campaign to discredit university departments that specialise in the region.
After September 11, when various government agencies realised there was a shortage of Americans who could speak Arabic, there were moves to beef up the relevant university departments.
But Martin Kramer, of the Washington Institute, Middle East Forum and former director of the Moshe Dayan Centre at Tel Aviv university, had other ideas.
He produced a vitriolic book Ivory Towers on Sand, which criticised Middle East departments of universities in the US.
His book was published by the Washington Institute and warmly reviewed in the Weekly Standard, whose editor, William Kristol, was a member of the Middle East Forum along with Mr Kramer.
"Kramer has performed a crucial service by exposing intellectual rot in a scholarly field of capital importance to national wellbeing," the review said.
The Washington Institute is considered the most influential of the Middle East thinktanks, and the one that the state department takes most seriously. Its director is the former US diplomat, Dennis Ross.
Besides publishing books and placing newspaper articles, the institute has a number of other activities that for legal purposes do not constitute lobbying, since this would change its tax status.
It holds lunches and seminars, typically about three times a week, where ideas are exchanged and political networking takes place. It has also given testimony to congressional committees nine times in the last five years.
Every four years, it convenes a "bipartisan blue-ribbon commission" known as the Presidential study group, which presents a blueprint for Middle East policy to the newly-elected president.
The institute makes no secret of its extensive links with Israel, which currently include the presence of two scholars from the Israeli armed forces.
Israel is an ally and the connection is so well known that officials and politicians take it into account when dealing with the institute. But it would surely be a different matter if the ally concerned were a country such as Egypt, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.
Apart from occasional lapses, such as the publication of Mr Kramer's book, the Washington Institute typically represents the considered, sober voice of American-Israeli conservatism.
The Middle East Forum is its strident voice - two different tones, but mostly the same people.
Three prominent figures from the Washington Institute - Robert Satloff (director of policy), Patrick Clawson (director of research) and Mr Rubin (prolific writer, currently at AEI) - also belong to the forum.
Daniel Pipes, the bearded $100,000-a-year head of the forum is listed as an "associate" at the institute, while Mr Kramer, editor of the forum's journal, is a "visiting fellow".
Mr Pipes became the bete noire of US Muslim organisations after writing an article for the National Review in 1990 that referred to "massive immigration of brown-skinned peoples cooking strange foods and not exactly maintaining Germanic standards of hygiene".
Since he usually complains vigorously when the words are quoted outside their original context, readers are invited to view the full article at www.danielpipes.org. He is also noted for his combative performances on the Fox News channel, where he has an interesting business relationship. Search for his name on the Fox News website and, along with transcripts of his TV interviews, an advert appears saying "Daniel Pipes is available thru Barber & Associates, America's leading resource for business, international and technology speakers since 1977".
The Middle East Forum issues two regular publications, the Middle East Quarterly and the Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, the latter published jointly with the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon.
The Middle East Quarterly describes itself as "a bold, insightful, and controversial publication".
Among the insights in its latest issue is an article on weapons of mass destruction that says Syria "has more destructive capabilities" than Iraq, or Iran.
The Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, which is sent out by email free of charge - but can never-the-less afford to pay its contributors - specialises in covering the seamy side of Lebanese and Syrian politics. The ever-active Mr Rubin is on its editorial board.
The Middle East Forum also targets universities through its campus speakers Bureau - that in adopting the line of Mr Kramer's book, seeks to correct "inaccurate Middle Eastern curricula in American education", by addressing "biases" and "basic errors" and providing "better information" than students can get from the many "irresponsible" professors that it believes lurk in US universities.
At a time when much of the world is confused by what it sees as an increasingly bizarre set of policies on the Middle East coming from Washington, to understand the neat little network outlined above may make such policies a little more explicable.
Of course these people and organisations are not the only ones trying to influence US policy on the Middle East. There are others who try to influence it too - in different directions.
However, this particular network is operating in a political climate that is currently especially receptive to its ideas.
It is also well funded by its anonymous benefactors and is well organised. Ideas sown by one element are watered and nurtured by the others.
Whatever outsiders may think about this, worldly-wise Americans see no cause for disquiet. It's just a coterie of like-minded chums going about their normal business, and an everyday story of political life in Washington.
How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
By Don Atapattu
Professor Norman Finkelstein is one of a dying breed of American mavericks that relentlessly defies any attempt at easy categorization. He is the son of Holocaust survivors but an unremitting critic of Holocaust reparation claims; a Jew but is a life-long anti Zionist; and though very much a Leftist, he is often praised by far Right revisionists of the Third Reich, such as Hitler-admiring historian David Irving. He initially made his name by revealing Joan Peter's massively successful From Time Immemorial (a book heavily promoted by the Israeli lobby, that claimed there were no native Arabs before Zionist immigration into Palestine), as a colossal fraud, and for 10 years he was a Professor of Political Science at New York University.
However, he is best known as the author of four books, the most recent being The Holocaust Industry, which has catapulted him into the spotlight, due to its contention that American Jewry have ruthlessly exploited the Nazi holocaust for political and financial gain. Often lambasted for his intemperate approach, Finkelstein is unlikely to win popularity contests in America for the language he employs, as much as his arguments. Like his close friend and mentor Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein is not one to mince his words. In his eyes the mainstream Jewish organisations are 'hucksters', 'gangsters' and 'crooks'; Elie Wiesel (celebrity Holocaust survivor) is the 'resident clown' for the Holocaust 'circus'; reparations claims against Germany for Nazi era slave laborers are 'blackmail'; and he infamously dismissed Professor Goldhagen's critically acclaimed Holocaust bestseller 'Hitler's Willing Executioners' as the 'pornography of violence'. Small wonder then that he has few friends amongst the American Jewish establishment, with Elian Steinberg (World Jewish Congress Executive Secretary) stating on TV that 'Finkelstein is full of shit', and the literary editor of the pro Israeli New Republic describing him as 'poisonsomething you would find under a rock'.
In its initial hardback edition, The Holocaust Industry was a tremendous success in many nations (selling 130 000 copies in a few weeks on its publication in Germany), but in America its sales were limited to a paltry 12000. This relative failure stateside is attributed at least in part by Finkelstein to a fatwah by the Jewish establishment--he notes indignantly that the New York Times book review was much more hostile toward The Holocaust Industry than it was even to Adolf Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'. Now the revised paperback edition has just been released many of these same periodicals are uncharacteristically silent, perhaps thinking they can kill it more effectively through lack of exposure rather than outright aggression. The following is an interview conducted with Norman Finkelstein on 15 October 2001, on the eve of the paperback's publication.
It is generally considered that growing up Jewish and growing up Zionist are mutually inextricable. What made you break this link?
First of all, I don't agree that Zionism and growing up in a Jewish household are inextricably linked. It is fair to say that growing up Jewish and having a consciousness about Israel are inextricably linked. As a Jew I felt that I bore a certain amount of responsibility for the policies of Israel because Israel claimed to speak in the name of the Jewish people, and therefore they were using the history and suffering of the Jewish people as a means to justify its policies. However, my family were not Zionists, and therefore I see no special connection between the two.
You stated in a BBC interview that your radical politics have exacted 'a substantial personal cost' to yourself. Have you found yourself alienated from mainstream Jewish life?
I wouldn't say that alienation has been the price because I have managed to find a crowd of people who share my values in my life, which has been quite satisfying to me. I'd say that without wanting to pose a martyr, that I've paid a professional price for my views. Most recently I taught at Hunter College, City University of New York, and every semester I was the highest rated professor in my department on student evaluations, I had also published in the last five years, four books and I would say that in every reckoning I had proven myself to be worthy as a professor. Nonetheless, I was always the lowest paid by far, I had the heaviest teaching load, and this past May after 10 years faithful service at slave wages, I was let go and forced--at the ripe old age of 49--to relocate to Chicago to find temporary work.
How have Jewish academics and Middle East specialists reacted to the arguments that you have expanded upon in your books?
The reviews of my first book (Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict), were given the content of the book remarkably favorable. I was quite surprised by the positive reception of the first book. Generally speaking, I don't have much contact with the mainstream. I don't publish in mainstream journals, and have never been asked to publish in them. It is also true that my name comes up quite a lot in articles in mainstream publications; my writings on a variety of subjects are quite frequently cited.
While researching your second book (The Rise and Fall of Palestine: The Intifadah Years), you lived with Palestinian families in the Occupied Territories. How do you regard this time in retrospect?
First of all, it's not looking back, I still go fairly frequently, I was there in June and I stay in close touch with the families of whom I write in the book. When I first went it was a moral test of the values that are meaningful to me, and I wanted to see if I could bridge the chasm between a Jew and a Palestinian based upon our common humanity and our shared commitment to justice and decency. To that extent I would say that it was a satisfying experience, because I think that we developed close and meaningful relationships.
Were conditions in the territories as bad as you had anticipated?
I would say that the situation there is horrible. Whenever I go I almost literally count the minutes before I leave. I can't stand it there because you feel that you are watching people endure a living death for no justifiable reason people are suffering and they're wasting away a life. It's very hard to bear, because it is impossible to rationalise to oneself why you should have a meaningful and satisfying life, and these people have to endure a meaningless and horrifying life. It is impossible to rationalise, unless you consider yourself a superior human being and deserve better, than maybe it would be a tolerable situation. When you recognise your common humanity and realise that for reasons for nothing to do with anything these people have ever done that they should have to suffer this way.. it's really hard.
Did you ever experience any hostility because of your background (as an American Jew)?
Quite the contrary. The first couple of years, I was treated like royalty and people were gracious and wonderful, by the third year no one could care less that I was Jewish. It was not even a topic of discussion. Even this summer I spent time in Gaza, where the people knew I was Jewish, and they didn't care. It's not an issue; the issue is whether you are for or against the occupation.
'Image and Reality of the Israel Palestine Conflict' is a radical reinterpretation of Israeli-Arab history, turning on its head the standard Western notion of Israel being the constant victim of Arab aggression. How have historians reacted to the arguments contained within it?
As I said earlier it does get frequently cited. The chapter on Joan Peters--the hoax about Palestine being empty on the eve of Jewish colonization--is considered a standard text, everybody cites it. The chapter on Benny Morris and the Palestinian refugee question (in which Finkelstein dismisses Morris' claims that there was no overall plan by the Zionists to expel the Arabs from Palestine), is considered the definitive critique on the Morris book, and nowadays most scholarship agrees that I'm closer to the truth than Morris. The last chapters on the `67 and `73 wars...they're pretty much ignored.
Regarding your most recent work, The Holocaust Industry, can you explain who the Holocaust Industry (according to your interpretation) are and what their goals might be?
The Holocaust Industry, is as I conceive in the book, is institutions, organisations and individuals who have put to use Jewish suffering for political and financial gain. Throughout the little book, I am not at all shy of naming names, so large numbers of organisations and individuals are cited for their activities in the exploitation of the Nazi holocaust. It is hard to say the main ones, but the mainstream Jewish organisations and individuals such as Elie Wiesel, they feature prominently in the book.
Do you believe the 'Holocaust Industry' were responsible for the poor sales of the book in the US in comparison with its spectacular success elsewhere?
First of all, I do name names and a lot of these individuals and organisations have a huge vested interest in the Nazi holocaust. It's a political weapon, but it's also plainly a financial weapon, and it's unsurprising that the book would die an early death in the United States. Given those facts, it would be shocking were it otherwise.
Do you believe these people were involved in your dismissal from New York University?
I think it works much more subtly in our system. Sometimes phone calls are made, no doubt about it, but I think things work through a crystallising of a consensus--in the sense of 'this guy is more trouble than he is worth, and so it is time to let him go'. I think this is what happened at Hunter College, that yes I had an excellent teaching record, yes I had an excellent publication record, but it's also true that 'a lot of people are complaining about him and we do get all these phone calls and there are faculty members who are very uncomfortable with him because he is just not professional' and so on and so forth. Finally, a consensus crystallises that it is time to let him go.
A spokesman for the World Jewish Congress suggested that you should be grateful to organisations such as themselves, for the compensation that your parents received. Is there not some truth in that were it not for the awareness raising campaigns of these bodies, Holocaust survivors would not have been compensated at all?
These organisations frankly, bring to mind an insight of my late mother, that it is no accident that Jews invented the word "chutzpah". They steal, and I do use the word with intent, 95% of the monies earmarked for victims of Nazi persecution, and then throw you a few crumbs while telling you to be grateful. It is very hard to sink much lower than to turn the colossal suffering of the Jewish people during World War Two into an extortion racket. I really think that not even Julius Streicher (leading anti Semitic publisher in 1930's Germany) were he editing Der Stuermer today, could have conjured up the image of Jews huckstering their dead, but that's exactly what this gang of wretched crooks have done. They have disgraced the memory of the Jewish people's suffering on the one hand by turning it into an extortion racket. If there were any doubt left, I would point to the recent London Times article headlined 'Swiss Holocaust cash revealed to be a myth', that is all the claims against the Swiss banks were a fantastic concoction of the Holocaust hustlers. But then after turning Jewish suffering into an extortion racket, to then deny the actual victims these monies extorted..it is very difficult to imagine sinking any lower on a moral level than that. If they were all put behind bars, it wouldn't be yet, in my opinion, be a just punishment.
Many of the same adjectives crop up in the hostile reviews of The Holocaust Industry, such as 'bitter', 'angry', 'shrill', and 'polemical'. Do you think this is because you are breaking a hereto untouchable taboo?
Only one of the many reviews I have read, made the comment that the book was very funny, and I think that there is a certain amount of humour in the book. I didn't note personally any intimation of a rant or shrillness. You find humour there and irony there, but I should point out that the book went through several editors who were quite exacting and wherever it did go over the top, they pulled me back. I think a lot of reviews stem from the fact that most people (including myself), tend to defer to authority, and the first reviews the word that was constantly used was 'rant' and before you knew it everyone began to pick up on that, and so that became the drum beat theme of the negative reviews. Therefore, I don't think it is so much that I broke a taboo; I think the initial negative reviews set a tone for what followed.
One extraordinary fact that I learned in your book was that former President Reagan, and his UN ambassador Jean KirkPatrick, received the Simon Wiesenthal Center humanitarian of the year award (for their staunch support of Israel) despite providing political, financial and military support to extreme Right terrorist groups in Central America. Do you agree that it is an incredible perversion of history that the racism and violence of the Nazi holocaust, is now used to justify turning a blind eye to racism and violence?
Well that is what you would expect from the Simon Wiesenthal Center. This is really a gang of heartless and immoral crooks, whose hallmark is that they will do anything for a dollar. As I point out in the book, the guy who runs their headquarters in Los Angeles, runs it as a family business, and in the mid 1990's they were collectively raking in $525 000 a year.
Do you think The Holocaust Industry would have been published were you not the Jewish son of Holocaust survivors?
(Laughs) No, I have no doubt about that. First of all, it just got barely published as the son of Holocaust survivors if I weren't, there would be no chance at all. I would have been buried alive. Just the other day I was speaking to someone who I cannot name for this interview, who met with a high government official in Germany who we both know. My friend asked him about the questions raised in my book concerning the number of surviving slave labourers, and whether the German government knew that the numbers had been grossly inflated to justify the extortion of huge amounts of money. His response was that 'of course we knew what he was saying was true', but a decision was made early on to go on with the blackmail because 'we were afraid of a huge anti Semitic reaction being unleashed in Germany', and the attitude was Germany was rich enough to pay the ransom. But, if you go to Germany and try to say the things that I did, the so called 'Left' become absolutely hysterical as they have this huge vested interest in being professional anti anti-Semites and semophiles. It's this huge identity that they have carved out for themselves, and when I go out there and say that of course be anti Nazis but a lot of what is being done in the name of anti anti-Semitism, is in fact a gross falsification of history .and unless exposed will do huge damage to the Jewish people, these people go berserk. It is one of the peculiarities of this whole industry, in that it has created an alignment between the Left in Germany and the Right-wing Jewish establishment in the US. They sing the praises of people like Israel Singer (disgraced executive V.P. of the World Jewish Congress), a complete and total hoodlum - something that crawled out of the sewer, and they sing the praises of him! You would think he was Demetrios the way they talk about him.
Another matter that puts you at odds with the Jewish establishment, is your rejection of the uniqueness of Jewish persecution compared to the suffering of other peoples. What is the position of groups like the World Jewish Congress on financial reparations for the Indo-Chinese, Black slavery, the slaughter of the American Indians etc?
They don't say anything, well I shouldn't say they don't say anything. During the US Congressional hearings on the Holocaust compensation, Maxine Waters (US Congresswoman) raised the issue with the special US envoy on Holocaust compensation, and of course he responded in exactly the way you would expect--he said you can't compare and it is not the same thing, and that is the standard view of these organisations. Nothing compares to the Jews. Everything that the Jews endure, everything that the Jews achieve, is special, because we're the 'chosen people', so don't compare us with garbage like the Tasmanian savages (the entire indigenous population of Tasmania were exterminated under British colonial rule), or don't compare us with the Gypsies. I mean God forbid those uncivilised savages be compared with us. You have to understand that the great tragedy of the Second World War, was not that Jews per se were killed, but such a cultured people were killed--if you kill uncultured people, who cares?
What is your position on the comparison between Israel and the Occupied Territories and South Africa under apartheid (as raised during the recent UN convention on racism in Durban)?
I don't think the comparison with South Africa is exactly precise for a number of reasons. Israel proper--pre June `67 Israel, is a fairly lively democracy, Palestinian Arabs do enjoy rights of citizenship (as) second class citizens, it is probably similar to the situation to Blacks in the American South before the civil rights movement. The difference is that in the US South, Blacks did not have the right to vote, but that question is due to numbers, where American Blacks were the majority in several states in the South and that is why they were disenfranchised, whereas Israel's unstated official policy is that they will tolerate a minority of approximately 15%, so long as the Arabs remain around this percentage its OK to give them the right to vote because it won't affect the Jewish majority. In addition to the second-class citizenship of the Israeli Arabs, there is also the occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, and that too is not really comparable to South Africa because I think it is much worse.
Dr David Rabeeya (Iraqi born American rabbi), talks of a caste system in Israeli society, where the Arabs are clearly at the bottom, but also the non European Jews are considered to be of lesser value. He claims that the wholesale importation of Russian Jews was to ensure the demographic majority of secular European Jews over their Sephardic countrymen for generations to come.
There is some truth to that, because a large percentage of the so-called 'Russian Jews' are not Jewish. In recent years, it has been more than 50%, and the reason why is because the Israeli establishment likes the blue eyed, blonde haired Aryan types as a racial group. The Russians look right even if they are not Jewish, and they preserve the Ashkenazi elite's dominance.
You argue in The Holocaust Industry that if it were no longer in America's interest to support Israel, the Jewish elites would quickly forget about the Jewish state. Is this really tenably considering the huge emotional attachment American Jewry has to Israel?
Generations of Americans Jews have not been brought up on Zionism. Before 1967, Israel barely figured at all in American Jewish life, as anyone who goes back and reads the publications of the US Jews before then will tell you. Even nowadays people are not Zionist by conviction, they are Zionist because it is useful for their political and more recently financial self-interest. The guiding light is what serves their self-interest, not ideological commitment.
Raul Hillberg (leading Holocaust academic) says that he hopes you will expand on your work in The Holocaust Industry. Are you currently working on anything?
No. I suffered the blow of losing my job so I have to make ends meet to survive.
Did you not receive a substantial sum from the spectacular success of The Holocaust Industry in Germany and elsewhere?
No, that is science fiction. You don't receive substantial sums. I received a $5000 advance for the book, and in total I have received about $50 000. You are not going to get rich out of this...I mean $50 000 is the average annual salary in the United States, I have never made more than $22,000 in a year, so it is about two years salary. OK, I am not a kid anymore, but I expect to be living more than two more years.
I noticed that the publication of the paperback of The Holocaust Industry has been delayed in the UK
(Interrupts) No, no it's been published but I don't expect it to get any kind of publicity. It's not a bad paperbackthere is a lot of new material in it.
You dismiss entirely Professor Daniel Goldhagen's argument that the German public were collectively responsibility for the crimes of the Nazis, yet you seem to hold the Jewish people collectively responsible for the policies of Israel. Is this not a case of double standards?
Collective responsibility is not a term that is devoid of any meaning, whether or not it's true depends on the circumstances. In the case of Germany you were dealing with a fascist, terrorist state in which the population had relatively speaking no say in the making of policy and no say in the crimes committed. In other circumstances depending on which a collectivity influences policy and shapes criminal actions, it does bear a responsibility, so you have to examine each individual case for how much collective responsibility is applicable.
Following the tragedy on September 11, Left-wing writer Christopher Hitchens, criticised people like yourself and Noam Chomsky for their 'masochistic' response to the 'Islamic fascism' practised by Bin Laden and his followers. What do you think an appropriate response would be to the destruction of the World Trade Center?
(Incredulously) Well, my views are so conventional it is hard to understand why Christopher Hitchens would point to me at all, and frankly what Noam Chomsky had to say on the topic was interesting in its insights, but his general view was utterly banal. You have to look to the social and political roots of what happened, because if we were just dealing with a bunch of lunatics on the loose, then the whole question would be just a psychiatric and security question. We would bring to psychiatrists to explain what is the source of this lunacy, and we would rely on our security services to correct the problem. But plainly, no one really believes this is strictly a psychiatric or a policing problem, because there has been massive social and political commentary trying to explain it. The moment you have massive social and political commentary trying to explain a phenomenon, then you know we are no longer dealing with a strictly psychiatric question. When there were the Jim Jones mass suicides there was no such commentary, as everyone knew they are a socially and politically marginal cult, but nobody in their right mind would say the Bin Laden phenomenon is something marginal. Everyone understands that this is rooted in a deeper problem.
The next question is what are the sources of the problem? If you are a mainstream conservative the usual answer is that the fundamental source of the problem can be located in the Arab--Islamic world loathing of modernity, freedom and all the virtues of enlightenment and capitalist industry that the US stands for. If you are off the mainstream, or on the Left end of the political system, you say the main source of the problem is US foreign policy in the Middle East which has evoked hatred among Arab-Islamic society because of US crimes in Iraq, the US backed Israel crimes against the Palestinians, and so forth. (Angrily) My point is that everyone, from whatever end of the political spectrum, tries to locate the Bin Laden phenomenon in some deeper social and political current, so for Mr. Hitchens to come along and say that to explain (the attacks) is a form of rationalisation--this is sheer idiocy! There is literally not a single person, apart from Mr. Hitchens who tries to explain it in a deeper social and political current, we may disagree on what this current is, but we all realise that this is not Jim Jones, or the Branch Dravidians.
What do you think of America's moral authority to spearhead a crusade against terrorism?
If you understand terrorism to mean the targeting of civilian populations in order to achieve political goals, then plainly the US qualifies as the main terrorist government in the world today, if only because of the sheer force it has at its disposal. I am not claiming that another government were it to be in the position of the US would act better, but given the predominant material and political weight of the US today, means that they are going to be the main terrorist state in the World today, and I think that's true.
I think I can safely assume that you are not a supporter of George Bush, so did you vote for Ralph Nader or Al Gore in the last election?
I voted for Nader, and I have no doubts at all that it was the right thing to do because the Nader candidacy was extremely energising and a terrific phenomenon in American life, and I hope he continues.
What do you think of the prospects for the Green Party to become a genuine Third Force in US Politics?
I think we are now heading for very dismal time. It seems like Bush is launching a perpetual war. We endured the nightmare of the destruction of Iraq, but at least that had a beginning and an end. This current 'war' does not seem to have an end, and I think it is even conceivable that it going to endure the remainder of my lifetime and in this political climate it is very speculative to make any meaningful predictions for the future.
How democratic is America given the enormous financial and media powers with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo?
There are contradictory tendencies in American society. There's a huge range of activities that one can engage in that mark it as a quite free society. It's also true to say that the powers that be have so much control over how people think that there are fewer and fewer people make use of the rights and information available to them. So I think that both are true. The amount of control exercised by the ruling elites over the decisions, choices, lifestyles, and so forth of American society mean that many of the rights and information that is available are not accessed. I can say what I want the worst that is going to happen to me is that I lose my job. I am not going to get shot or put in a psychiatric hospital. Though it is also true to say that if a movement developed which actually tried to use on a mass level the rights available, I suspect there would be substantial repression.
If you attended Nader's rallies and speeches as I did, he was delivering a very hard-hitting critique of US capitalism, I mean it is as tough as you can really get and he was able to pull it off. No one prevented him from holding his mass rallies. They prevented him from appearing on TV, they excluded him from appearing on the (presidential candidates) debate, but he was able to organise in constituencies around the country. If it ever became a bigger phenomenon, what would have happened . I don't know.
The Pro Israeli lobby has had spectacular success in getting its version of events picked up by the media, with even the openly anti Arab / pro Israel polemic 'Exodus' on the US school curriculum. Noam Chomsky has even criticised liberal publications such as the New Republic for being openly racist toward Arabs, and Rana Kabbani has said that hating Arabs (and Muslims in particular) is the last acceptable form of racism, would you agree?
I think that they are openly racist in that they say things about Arabs that would not be permitted about other ethnic groups. These people are not pro-Israel, but Israel serves an interest to the US ruling elites and by that fact it serves a useful interest to American Jewish organisations. The moment that Israel ceases to be an interest, Israel will no longer be a concern of these organisations.
You said in your second book that one small Palestinian boy asked you if it was true that Americans believed all Palestinians to be animals, and you didn't answer not having the heart to tell him it was. Yet you also said that Arabs should reach out to America to try and build a counter consensus to Hollywood demonisations. Is this really plausible given the perceptions in American of Arabs and Muslims?
Nowadays nothing is possible with the events of September 11, a lot of hard work over many years to try to build a counter consensus disappeared in the rubble of the World Trade Center. I am utterly pessimistic about the prospects now, but I did not think it was impossible (before). Israel was suffering quite a number of major public relations disasters, beginning with the Lebanon War, the first Intifadah, and then the second Intifadah. As much as the mainstream media tries to depict the reality in a manner that suits US-Israeli interests, enough of the truth was coming through that Israel was suffering a public relations disaster. There were some prospects, how significant the prospects were we don't know, because not enough effort was made in trying to exploit those prospects, but after September 11 I don't think there is much hope.
I get the impression that you think that the West was in some way responsible for the tragedy of September 11.
Lets put it this way. The so-called West, and really we're talking about the United States, and to a lesser extent its pathetic puppy dog in England, have a real problem on their hands. Regrettably, it's payback time for the Americans and they have a problem because all the other enemies since the end of World War Two that they pretended to contend with .. were basically fabricated enemies. The Soviet Union was a conservative bureaucracy by the end of World War Two, which apart from the sphere of influence it carved out--mostly for defensive reasons--was plainly in retrospect a stabilising force in international affairs. Then the enemies that the US conjured up as the Soviet Union fell into decline beginning in the early 1980`senemies like Libya, Iraq, narco-terrorists and so forth these were basically enemies created by the United States to--among other things--justify repressive policies around the world, and to inflate its military budget. Now they do have a problem on their hands, and its going to exact a cost from Americans. The American elites can talk about honour and creativity until the cows come home, but it's not going to be like the Iraq shooting fish in a barrel situation, like they did when they destroyed Iraq in 1991. Frankly, part of me says - even though everything since September 11 has been a nightmare--'you know what, we deserve the problem on our hands because some things Bin Laden says are true'. One of the things he said on that last tape was that 'until we live in security, you're not going to live in security', and there is a certain amount of rightness in that. Why should Americans go on with their lives as normal, worrying about calories and hair loss, while other people are worrying about where they are going to get their next piece of bread? Why should we go on merrily with our lives while so much of the world is suffering, and suffering incidentally not with us merely as bystanders, but with us as the indirect and direct perpetrators. So that I think that you can summon up all the heroic and self-aggrandizing rhetoric you want, but there is a problem facing all of us now, and maybe it's about time that the United States starts having to confront the same sort of problems that much of humanity has had to confront on a daily basis for God knows how long.
Don Atapattu lives in Manchester, England.
Reproduced gratefully from: http://www.counterpunch.org/finkelstein1.html
November 05, 2014
. Communication: JerryHaff1963(at)gmail.com
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