The Zionist Lobby: a very balanced article


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

The Lobby
by Mazin B. Qumsiyeh

On the Israel/Zionist lobby in America and its influence on US policy: Why 
strategically and tactically focusing on this lobby maybe important

Why did the British Empire and all colonial powers before it use "divide and 
conquer" while the US government seems intent on unifying diverse groups from 
Iraqi resistance to Sunni Hamas to Shi'i Hizballah to Arab Nationalists? This 
administration talks and acts based on a supposed common threat and in the 
process ofcourse unifying others and creating enemies.  Perhaps the Zionist 
coined "Islamofascism" term should be a hint.  Perhaps those who think tribally 
can only think of others as equally tribal: if there is a Jewish nation and not 
simply a religion then there must also be an Islamic nation and not simply a 
religion. If "goyim/gentiles" are inherenltly anti Jewish then it would make 
sense to lump Castro, Chavez, Nasrallah and Ahmedinujad (and hence help them 
find common ground)! Or does it?  Looking carefully at these questions sometimes
generates discomfort in both left and right circles.  A lifelong pacifict once 
stated that they were put on this earth to comfort the afflicted and make the 
comfortable uncomfortable.  It is IMHO important to engage in open discussion 
regardless of where one stands on these matters. The following four pages are 
not intended to be a comprehensive analysis but hopefully strings to begin this 
needed discussion.  I would suggest actually that the Council for National 
Interest, ADC or other groups host a conference specifically to delve deeper 
into the questions raised.

Howard Friedman, President of AIPAC, titled his letter of July 30, 2006 to 
friends and supporters of AIPAC "Look what you've done".  He explained: "Israel 
is fighting a pivotal war for its life...the expected chorus of international 
condemnation of Israel's actions. ..only ONE nation in the world came out and 
flatly declared: Let Israel finish the job.. That nation is the United States of
America--and the reason it had such a clear, unambiguous view of the situation 
is YOU and the rest of America

Jewry....How do we do it? ... decades of long hard work which never ends." Ari 
Berman in The Nation stated that "The congressional reaction to Hezbollah's 
attack on Israel and Israel's retaliatory bombing of Lebanon provide the latest 
example of why AIPAC's lock on US foreign policy in the Middle East must be 
examined." (July 31, 2006 ).  So let us do a
little research on this lobby and cite some resources.  Here we divide this into
two sections:

a) Articles that describe the lobby and its influence (perhaps not "lock") on US
foreign policy, and

b) A list of situations where other elite interests (oil, weapons manufacturers)
collided with the Israel lobby and the latter won.  There are of course other 
situations where the lobby lost, especially early in its career (e.g. 1956 with 
Eisenhauer and the Suez crisis).

First a relevant quote from Nehemia Stessler writing in Haaretz, May 12, 1989: 
"Israel¹s dependence on the United States is far greater than suggested by the 
sum of $3 billion. Israel¹s physical existence depends on the Americans in both 
military and political terms. Without the US, we would not be equipped with the 
latest fighter planes and other advanced weapons. Without the American veto, we 
would have long since been expelled from every international organization, not 
to speak of the UN, which would have imposed sanctions on us that would have 
totally paralyzed Israel¹s international trade, since we cannot exist without 
importing raw material"


About the recent resolution in Congress to support Israel and condemn Hezbollah 
and Hamas (passed 410 to 8):  "They the Congress were given a resolution by 
AIPAC, They didn't prepare one." former Carter Administration National Security 
Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who addressed the House Democratic Caucus on July 
19, 2006.

"The Bush Administration is bad enough in tolerating measures they would not 
accept anywhere else but Israel, But the Congress, if anything, is urging the 
Administration on and criticizing them even at their most accommodating. When it
comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict, the terms of debate are so influenced by 
organized Jewish groups like AIPAC that to be critical of Israel is to deny 
oneself the ability to succeed in American politics." Henry Siegman, former head
of the American Jewish Congress and a Middle East expert at the Council on 
Foreign Relations.

"In 2002, two Democrats in Congress with records of voting against Israel's 
interests -- Reps. Earl Hilliard of Alabama and Cynthia McKinney of Georgia.. 
faced primary opponents who received substantial support from Jewish donors. A 
majority of AIPAC board members gave either to McKinney's challenger or 
Hilliard's or both. Hilliard and McKinney lost. Bill Banks, McKinney's campaign 
manger, charged that AIPAC had made her the "No. 1 candidate to try to remove 
from office." AIPAC denied the accusation." Washington Post, "Pro-Israel Lobby 
Has Strong Voice: AIPAC Is Embroiled in Investigation of Pentagon Leaks" 9/5/04

In 1997, Fortune magazine asked members of Congress and their staffs to list the
most powerful lobbies in Washington. AIPAC was ranked second behind the American
Association of Retired People, but ahead of the AFL-CIO and the National Rifle 
Association. A National Journal study in March 2005 reached a similar 
conclusion, placing AIPAC in second place (tied with AARP).

ŒMy No. 1 priority in foreign policy is to protect Israel.¹ Dick Armey, 
September 2002

"There are a lot of guys at the working level up here on Capitol Hill who happen
to be Jewish, who are willing . . . to look at certain issues in terms of their 
Jewishness . . . These are all guys who are in a position to make the decisions 
in these areas for those senators . . . You can get an awful lot done just at 
the staff level." Morris Amitay, a former head of AIPAC.

Think tanks that shape US policy are decidedly with the Lobby or even 
established as offshoots of the lobby: Washington Institute on Near East 
Affairs, the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the 
Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage 
Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, the
Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. "The incestuous nature of the 
proliferating boards and think tanks, whose membership lists are more or less 
identical and totally interchangeable, is frighteningly insidious. Several 
scholars at the American Enterprise Institute, including former Reagan UN 
ambassador and long-time supporter of the Israeli right wing, Jeane Kirkpatrick,
make their pro-Israel views known vocally from the sidelines and occupy 
positions on other boards.

Probably the most important organization, in terms of its influence on Bush 
administration policy formulation, is the Jewish Institute for National Security
Affairs (JINSA). Formed after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, specifically to bring 
Israel's security concerns to the attention of U.S. policymakers and 
concentrating also on broad defense issues, the extremely hawkish, right-wing 
JINSA has always had a high-powered board able to place its members inside 
conservative U.S. administrations. Cheney, Bolton, and Feith were members until 
they entered the Bush administration. Several lower level JINSA functionaries 
are now working in the Defense

Department. Perle is still a member, as are Kirkpatrick, former CIA director and
leading Iraq-war hawk James Woolsey, and old-time rabid pro-Israel types like 
Eugene Rostow and Michael Ledeen. Both JINSA and Gaffney's Center for Security 
Policy are heavily underwritten by Irving Moskowitz, a right-wing American 
Zionist, California business magnate (his money comes from bingo parlors), and 
JINSA board member, who has lavishly financed the establishment of several 
religious settlements in Arab East Jerusalem."

Previous CIA analysts Kathleen and Bill Christison write on the Israeli lobby

Total Taxpayer Cost per Israeli: $23,240 (no other country comes even

close). "Other recipients get their money in quarterly installments, but Israel 
receives its entire appropriation at the beginning of each fiscal year and can 
thus earn interest on it. Most recipients of aid given for military purposes are
required to spend all of it in the US, but Israel is allowed to use roughly 25 
per cent of its allocation to subsidize its own defence industry. It is the only
recipient that does not have to account for how the aid is spent, which makes it
virtually impossible to prevent the money from being used for purposes the US 
opposes, such as building settlements on the West Bank. Moreover, the US has 
provided Israel with nearly $3 billion to develop weapons systems, and has given
it access to such top-drawer weaponry as Blackhawk helicopters and F-16 jets. 
Finally, the US gives Israel access to intelligence it denies to its NATO allies
and has turned a blind eye to Israel¹s acquisition of nuclear weapons."

Mearsheimer and Walt, London Review of Books, 3/23/06 explain how the US policy 
in the Middle East is shaped by the lobby even against other elite interests

Philip Zelikow, member of the president¹s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, 
the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and a counsellor to

Condoleezza Rice stated clearly at the University of Virginia in September 2002 
that Iraq was not a threat to the US but the Œunstated threat¹ was a

Œthreat against Israel¹ adding that the government, "doesn¹t want to lean too 
hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell."

"Chomsky cites Stephen Zunes approvingly to the effect that 'there are far more 
powerful interests that have a stake in what happens in the Persian Gulf region 
than does AIPAC.' The practical implication of this statement is that it is 
wrong for anti-imperialists activists to pay too much attention to the Israel 
lobby. It¹s a waste of resources and a diversion from the real target -- U.S. 
imperialism. The problem is that Zunes and Chomsky are again confusing their own
leftist framework with the right wing framework they oppose. It is wrong to 
focus on identity as such, including the national/ethnic identity of 
Jews/Israelis who are key figures in the imperialist machinery. It is wrong to 
see the world as fundamentally a clash of tribal identities. But it is not wrong
to strategically focus on the Israel Lobby. The ³Israel Lobby² shouldn¹t be an 
alternative framework that competes with 'U.S. imperialism' as an explanation to
world events. The Israel Lobby should rather be a shorthand designation for a 
segment of the elites that fully participates in making U.S. imperialism happen.
To insist on ignoring the Lobby is to help it maintain a 'safe zone' for U.S. 
imperialism to hide behind. This is indeed one of the many useful services the 
Lobby provides for the larger Washington power system. The Israel Lobby is today
a major purveyor of racist and pro-war propaganda, which is shielded from public
criticism by its association with Israel and the sword of fighting 
anti-Semitism. To ignore it is to create a safe zone for racism and war at the 
heart of the U.S. public sphere." Gabriel Ash,

³What happened to all those nice plans? Israel¹s governments mobilized the 
collective power of US Jewry ‹ which dominates Congress and the media to a large
degree ‹ against them. Faced by this vigorous opposition, all the presidents; 
great and small, football players and movie stars ‹ folded, one after another.² 
Israeli journalist and peace activist Uri Avnery



- 1930's: Career British diplomats issued a government backed white paper 
suggesting tying Jewish immigration to Palestine to Palestinian economic 
interests, not just the Yishuv capacity.  Weissman and other British Zionists 
mobilized their forces en masse and the effort succeeded in reversing this 
policy quickly (well discussed in Tom Segev¹s excellent book on this period).

-1940-1945: When there was strong sentiment in the US to help European Jews 
fleeing Nazi Germany, the Zionist lobby both in Britain and the US lobbied to 
limit Jewish immigration to the west and keep the door open only for one 
destination: Palestine (see Naeim Giladi¹s book ³Ben Gurion Scandals² and Lenni 
Brenner¹s ³51 Documents: History of the Nazi-Zionist collaboration).

- 1948: When the State Department, the Pentagon, and all major career diplomats 
in the US stood against support for the establishment of Israel, President 
Truman explained his decision to his cabinet (privately) very clearly as 
relating to the lobby and voting adding that ³I have no Arab constituency² 
(Truman papers and many history books).  The US went on to twist the arms of 
other countries to support partition and the imposing of a Jewish state on 

- June 1967: Israeli forces attacked the USS Liberty in international waters.  
Naval demands of an investigation were immediately attacked by the lobby in 
Congress.  Senior Navy officers (and all survivors of the attack) were angry, 
but could do nothing in the face of a concerted media silencing campaign.   Even
in 2003 when new evidence emerged, little was reported on it (see

- 1980's: Israel uses US technology and financing to develop its own arms export
industry competing with US arms exporters but also giving advanced

technologies to US competitors.  Many US arms industry leaders are unhappy, and 
some even complain openly, and Israeli-made "Python II" missiles now arm Chinese
warplanes and in one instance threatened US planes. (see

- May 1987: The Reagan administration notified Congress of its intention to sell
1600 Maverick anti-tank missiles to Saudi Arabia.  According to the NY

Times: "Within half an hour, lobbyists from the American Israel Public Affairs 
Committee, the only group registered to lobby Congress on legislation affecting 
Israel, were on the telephone to lawmakers about the proposal. Over the next 13 
days, the committee mobilized its nationwide network of supporters with a series
of memorandums and telephone calls urging them to lobby Congress. Though it is 
unclear whether the committee, known as AIPAC, can take all the credit, more 
than 260 members of Congress co-sponsored resolutions to block the sale, 
prompting President Reagan to withdraw it."

- Early 1991: Israel asked the US for $10 billion in loan guarantees to settle 
Russian Jews. George HW Bush told Shamir that Israel could have the guarantees 
if it freezes settlement building and promises that no Russian Jews would be 
settled in the occupied areas. Shamir simply called the lobby leaders to help.  
Mobilization was so swift and powerful that Bush received a barrage of media 
questions in a Press conference in 1991.. Bush uttered his famous line ³I am 
only this little guy in the white house Š. there are these thousands on Capital 
HillŠ² and then folded.  Israel got its $10 billion and went on to increase the 
number of colonists/settlers in the

occupied Palestinian areas from less than 200,000 in 1991 to over 450,000 in 
2000. This was the main reason for the collapse of the peace process and 
increased resentment and anger in the world.

- 1992-1998: President Clinton brought to high office people who were previously
employed by the various Israeli lobby groups. Dennis Ross, who worked for WIMEP 
and was then appointed as US Envoy to the Middle East, and then returned to work
for WINEP (see

- Martin Indyk worked for AIPAC and to my knowledge is the only lobbyist for a 
foreign country ever appointed ambassador to that same foreign country.   These 
folks and many others made clear their interest in merging US policy and Israeli
policy.  Thus it was not surprising that Clinton issued assurances saying that 
if the Camp David meetings failed no one will be faulted.  But even as 
negotiations continued in Taba, Ross, Clinton, and Indyk blamed Arafat.   The 
Clinton administration, under the influence of these lobbyists, continued to 
support an aggressive policy in Iraq and tried valiantly to thwart the 
International community and many leaders of US businesses (including 
multinational companies) who pushed for ending the sanctions that were killing 
6000 children every month.

- September 2001, Bush urged Israel to show restraint in its crackdown on the 
Palestinians, and pressed Sharon to allow Shimon Peres to meet with Arafat (he 
also said publicly that he supported the creation of a Palestinian state). 
Sharon accused Bush of trying Œto appease the Arabs at our expense¹ and stated 
Œwe will not be Czechoslovakia¹. Bush was reportedly furious at being compared 
to Chamberlain, and the White House press secretary called Sharon¹s remarks 
Œunacceptable¹. The Lobby kicked into high gear.  89 Senators wrote a letter to 
Bush.  Bush backed down.  The New York Times stated that the letter Œstemmed¹ 
from a meeting two weeks before between Œleaders of the American Jewish 
community and key senators¹ with the involvement of AIPAC.

- April 2002. Israel's push into the West Bank embarrases Bush and he asked its 
government to halt the incursion and withdraw from Palestinian cities. He 
repeated this twice.  Even Condaleeza Rice (then National Security Adviser) 
emphasized "Withdraw now means withdraw now".  The Lobby swung into action. Tom 
DeLay, Dick Armey, and Trent Lott told Bush to back off.  On April 11, White 
House press secretary said that Bush believed Sharon to be a "man of peace".  No
more was heard about withdrawals.

- March 2005: In a snub to the White House, AIPAC managed to get a bill severely
restricting aid to the Palestinians and even denying the usual

clause for a presidential waiver for national security 

- April 2005. After initially complaining about Israel's plans to increase 
settlement activities to surround Jerusalem (Maale Adumim area) in violation of 
the US drafted "road map", the Bush administration backed down in the face of 
the lobby;

Shattering the myths as important both tactically and strategically:

There are many implications and ramifications of understanding the power and 
influence of the the lobby.  What if Nehemia Stessler is correct as cited above 
that without US support Israel would not be able to continue its policies (which
are now so clear in their impact on native Palestinians and Lebanes)? What if 
indeed there are many instances (as cited above) that Zionist special interests 
win against other special interests (oil and military)? What if fortune Magazine
and CIA and other analysts are correct about the power of this lobby in America?
What if this lobby can be defeated (as was shown in some cases)?  What if it 
can't? How does this relate to the war on Iraq (pushed for by neocon Zionists)?
How does one resolve the fact that Israel is now directly competing with US 
Weapons manufacturers in exporting high tech weapons even as most of this was 
made possible by US transfer of military technology and money to Israel?  How 
does one reconcile the facts that Congress and the White House frequently 
interfere to protect Israel from repercussions of its violations of US and 
international laws regarding proliferation, arms export, use of arms against 
civilians etc?

There were rare times when the lobby was not as powerful in pushing the myth of 
equivalency of US and Israeli interests.   In 1956 President Eisenhower listened
to career diplomats and US elites, and pressed for Israeli withdrawal from the 
Gaza and Sinai despite rumblings from Congress (itself influenced by the lobby).
But any such minor resistance vanished after 1967 when the lobby pushed the idea
that US weapons in Israeli hands are keeping the Soviets/Communism out of the 
Middle East (a lie because communism could never get a foothold in Arab 
society).  It is misleading to say that Israel rules US foreign policy.  But it 
would be even more misleading (and especially self-defeating for anti-war 
activists) to ignore the central role of this lobby in shaping US foreign policy
in the Middle East and in building support by various means.  Nor would it be 
fair to ignore the PR aimed at exaggerating the ³strategic use² argument to 
outright misinformation about threats and responses to promoting a particular 
and false view of Christianity (³Christian Zionism²).  For those of us 
interested in freedom and equality (i.e. human rights), it is simply not correct
to try to ignore history and facts and accept the language of our oppressor.  It
is playing into both Zionist and Imperial hands by accepting their claim that 
the reason for support of Israel (and for the war on Iraq) is a ³strategic 
relationship² directed to serving only US elite interests (oil, military, and 
other corporate interests).

The hypocrisy in US foreign policy is now visible to most people around the 
world and even here in the US with a self-censoring media it is hard to avoid 
it.  Take this simple fact that Israel has WMD, has violated 65 UN Security 
Council Resolutions and was shielded from 35 others by a US Veto (because of the
strong lobby), discriminates against people based on religion and the US 
supports it.   Iraq violated very few UN SC resolutions by invading Kuwait and 
the US bombed Iraq to a pre-industrial age (destroying water purification, 
sewage, electrical, transportation and other critical facilities), subjected it 
to sanctions (even after the withdrawal from Kuwait) that killed over 1 million 
civilians, and then bombed and occupied Iraq intending to build 14 permanent 
military basis in Iraq and installing a new regime!! Is it any wonder that 
people ask why we have such hypocrisy and question the given answers formulated 
in Tel Aviv.  After all, Iraq will continue to be a magnet of resistance 
fighters pouring in from other Arab and Islamic countries as long as Israel is 
supported in its continued ethnic cleansing of Palestinians (i.e. As long as 
this hypocrisy is evident).

Some argue whether the Lobby is the tail that wags the dog or the dog that wags 
the tail (ignoring teh possibility that there is a pack of wild dogs atacking 
John Q Public and the conflict may not be between the tail and head of one 
dog!).  Some believe the attack on Iraq was for corporate profits.  Some believe
it was WMD, defeating terrorism, and most lately bringing ³democracy² and 
freedom. Few want to consider third possibilities. Many try desperately to 
ignore the big elephant in the room.   Many US TV and newspapers consider a 
discussion outside this permissible duality as taboo (and in a way it becomes 
self-fulfilling prophecies). People are now getting facts about the Israeli 
lobby from international media, books, and most importantly the Internet.  This 
explains why an increasing number of Democrats, Republicans, Greens, and 
Independents in the US are asking some serious questions that go beyond these 
well protected dualities.  More people are realizing that without discussing the
role of the Israeli lobby in pushing for endless wars, the story would be very 
incomplete at best and misleading at worse.  This alone would be a good reason 
to tackle it.  But it is also from a utilaterian and pragmatic angle that we 
must discuss this.  If we can't even explain the instability and mayhem beyond 
the vague "US Capitalism" or the preposterous "Islamofascism", then how can we 
develp strategies to bring peace?  Counteracting destructive policies cannot be 
done in isolation of understanding who shapes these policies and why.   
Pragmatically we can also learn nuances and differences between competing 
elitist powers so that we can use these divisions to effect positive policy 
changes (this is unfortunately how politics work).  Pragmatically, we can also 
work to convince those who chose to be our enemies that they are doomed to 
failure and self destruction by continuing their policies (something we cannot 
do if we only have a vague notion of who they are let alone what motivates 
them).  If someone is an alcoholic, isn't it best to directly confront them with
their alcoholism rather than allow them to continue to perpetuate their own 
myths blaming others?  Isn't that called enabling?

Many within the Israeli lobby, the military lobby, and the oil lobby (among 
others) are beginning to see the light and leaving that destructive work 
(because ultimately it is short term gains and their children will pay dearly 
for their arrogance, greed and errors).  For example, thousands of ex-Zionists 
and hundreds of military and career diplomats are openly speaking about the 
destructive power of the Israeli lobby (not only destructive for Palestinians 
but for Americans and Israelis).  The ground is shifting as Jews, Christians, 
Muslims, and others who believe in human rights and do not support political 
Zionism join hands not only to point out the elephant in the room but also to 
take the old elephant out of the room and to an overdue retirement.  That 
political Zionism is failing is not in doubt.   What is in doubt is whether 
enough US citizens will wake up in time and join us to prevent the US economy 
and the public welfare from being dragged down by and with this self-destructive
ideology of political Zionism.

Other resources:

On why the war on Iraq
On think tanks, see
On Neocons (someone suggested we call them corporatists), see
On elite interests collaborating and competing

Excellent books by conscientious Jews:
"Out of the Ashes" by Marc Ellis
"The myths of Zionism" by John Rose

"51 Documents: History of the Nazi-Zionist Collaboration" and "Zionism in the 
age of dictators" by Lenni Brenner

"Beyond Chutzpah" and "Image and Reality of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict" by
Norman Finkelstein

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