Monday, November 27, 2006

We Fight for Israel. Why?

A premise of this blog is that pro-Israel influence on the U.S. government is the most important story missing from American news coverage.

It’s very rare to hear something like this in the U.S.:

“Jordan’s King Abdullah said Sunday [on ABC, November 26, 2006], the problems in the Middle East go beyond the war in Iraq and that much of the region soon could become engulfed in violence unless the central issues are addressed quickly. King Abdullah said it is natural that Americans, with troops fighting in Iraq, view that war as the major problem in the Middle East. “But, for the majority of us living in this part of the world, it has always been the Israeli-Palestinian, Israeli-Arab problem."

(I have to comment that Americans wouldn’t have the war problem if they hadn’t started the war.)

A few courageous souls have spoken out.

Pat Buchanan, in the March 24, 2003 issue of the "American Conservative”, wrote under the title “Whose War?”:

“We charge that a cabal of polemicists and public officials seek to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America’s interests. We charge them with colluding with Israel to ignite those wars and destroy the Oslo Accords. We charge them with deliberately damaging U.S. relations with every state in the Arab world that defies Israel or supports the Palestinian people’s right to a homeland of their own. We charge that they have alienated friends and allies all over the Islamic and Western world through their arrogance, hubris, and bellicosity.
“They charge us with anti-Semitism—i.e., a hatred of Jews for their faith, heritage, or ancestry. False. The truth is, those hurling these charges harbor a ‘passionate attachment’ to a nation not our own that causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country and to act on an assumption that, somehow, what’s good for Israel is good for America.”

An elected official who speaks out against pro-Israel pressure is rarest of all.

Under the title ”Bush wanted to invade Iraq to help Israel” , U.S. Senator Ernest Hollings wrote, more than two years ago, in May 2004,

“The president’s war has backfired, and we’re creating more terrorism than we’re stopping. . . . Even President Bush acknowledges that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9-11. . . . Of course there were no weapons of mass destruction. Israel's intelligence, Mossad, knows what's going on in Iraq. . . . They have to know. . . . Israel long since would have taken us to the weapons of mass destruction if there were any or if they had been removed. . . .
“With Iraq no threat, why invade a sovereign country? The answer: President Bush's policy to secure Israel. . . . Bush felt . . . spreading democracy in the Mideast to secure Israel would take the Jewish vote from the Democrats. You don't come to town and announce your Israel policy is to invade Iraq. But George W. Bush, as stated by former Secretary Paul O'Neill and others, started laying the groundwork to invade Iraq days after inauguration. And, without any Iraq connection to 9-11, within weeks he had the Pentagon outlining a plan to invade Iraq.”
Hollings named columnist Charles Krauthammer; Richard Perle, the former chair of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board; and Paul Wolfowitz, a deputy secretary of defense, as leaders of the push for U.S. wars which would benefit Israel.
“With President Bush's domino policy in the Mideast gone awry, he keeps shouting ‘Terrorism War.’ Terrorism is a method, not a war. We don't call the Crimean War with the Charge of the Light Brigade the Cavalry War. Or World War II the Blitzkrieg War. There is terrorism in Ireland against the Brits. There is terrorism in India and in Pakistan. In the Mideast terrorism is a separate problem to be defeated by diplomacy and negotiation, not militarily.”
Various Jewish organizations attacked Senator Hollings. The ADL (Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith) sent him a letter:

"This is reminiscent of age-old, anti-Semitic canards about a Jewish conspiracy to control and manipulate government. We urge you . . . to reconsider these comments and reject public debate that invokes stereotypes or intolerance of any kind."

(You can always spot the ADL by its use of the word “canard”. It’s almost a trademark, like calling any criticism of the Israel Lobby the equivalent of some insanely inflated theory of a Jewish conspiracy. See, Reductio ad absurdum.)

In response to the charges of anti-Semitism, Senator Hollings spoke in the Senate on May 20, 2004. I haven’t yet been able to find a transcript of that speech, but a report in the ”JTA Global News Service of the Jewish People” offered some excerpts:

“I don’t apologize for this column,” Hollings said. “I want them to apologize to me for talking about anti-Semitism.” And he reiterated his view that the Iraq war was fought for Israel. “That is not a conspiracy. That is the policy, Everybody knows it . . . You can’t have an Israel policy other than what AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) gives you around here,”
The JTA article went on to report that some Democrats on Capitol Hill said Hollings was on the mark about AIPAC.
“Sen. Hollings eloquently stated what many members of Congress believe but are too afraid to say,” said one senior Democratic Hill staffer. . . The staffer said lawmakers fear they’ll lose elections if they don’t support AIPAC. “More likely, they’ll lose key fund-raising support or be deluged with calls and appearances from pro-Israel lobbyists and constituents. Sometimes it’s just easier to sign the letter.”

And sometimes it’s just easier to start the war.

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