I was watching CBS morning news last Wednesday, the day after it was announced that convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard would be released from prison in November. The “real news,” as the network describes it, recounted what Israeli officials had said about releasing Pollard, which was basically “all right, finally…but we still have to destroy Iran.” You have to hand it to the Israelis, they certainly know how to accept a bribe completely ungraciously.
That straight from the heart advice from America’s best friend and closest ally was followed almost immediately by an interview segment with former CIA Director James Woolsey. Woolsey obligingly informed the interviewer that Pollard had in fact not disclosed any classified information, completely contradicting the results of the Pentagon investigation that had been conducted after the fact. Woolsey is, for what it’s worth, a fully owned parasite hovering in a regular neocon orbit who spoke at the recent “Stop Iran” rally in New York City. He has also claimed falsely that Israel does not spy on the United States. So why would anyone sane pick Woolsey to provide commentary instead of someone who actually knew what he was talking about? To mitigate the Israeli role in spying on the U.S., of course. It had to be a deliberate decision.
Make no mistake, the U.S. media and inside the beltway punditry boast about their professionalism and integrity but it all goes out the window when Israel is the topic. Many of those involved are themselves Jewish and identify as “strong Israel supporters” and for those who are not of the Tribe the understanding that criticism of Israel is a quick ticket out of town frequently prevails.
This twisting oneself into knots to deny what is clearly visible has been never as evident as during the past two weeks with the launch of the hate Iran agenda to derail President Barack Obama’s negotiated agreement relating to that country’s nuclear program. The public has been fed a steady diet of alarmist nonsense cranked out by journalists like Jennifer Rubin and Charles Krauthammer, depicting the Iranians as suicidal religious fanatics, liars and thieves, terrorists and, of course, Jew haters who also run around chanting “Death to America.” That the Obama agreement would take away from those Persian miscreants the ability to actually create a nuclear weapon has somehow been lost in the shuffle because if Israel and its domestic lobby want something then the path of least resistance is to go along with their demands.
The Republicans will block vote on the Iran deal to spite Obama but the process being engaged in by the Democrats who are sitting on the fence is far more excruciating to watch. They are being lobbied hard, sometimes directly by and even in Israel: “Some members of Congress are going on trips to Israel, with some arranged by the American Israel Education Foundation, a charitable organization affiliated with AIPAC, a deal foe.”
Most of the Congressmen being quoted in the media are Jewish and are openly stating their concern for Israel while the media is uncritically accepting that as a reasonable position. Rarely does the issue of any actual American interest come up. Nor is there much discussion of the reality in the Middle East, which is that a U.S. armed and funded Israel is the regional superpower, not Iran, and that if there is a nuclear threat locally it comes from Tel Aviv.
The Congressmen who are hesitating should remember who has elected them and who pays them. If they are squeamish about defending American interests they should resign and go home. The reality is that we owe the Israelis nothing and the constant process of bribing them and deferring to their alleged interests so they will behave is demeaning to us as a country and also self-defeating as they couldn’t give a tinker’s damn for the American people except insofar as it is possible to take our money and otherwise exploit us.
To be sure, Israel benefits enormously from its powerful fifth column inside the United States and there is already far too much deference by the federal government to what are manifestly Jewish issues. Though only 2% of the population, American Jews nevertheless wield enormous economic and political power which understandably translates into media access and influence over policies. That would be a given for how representational politics actually work under capitalism but there is something disturbing about how this plays out in practice. The Obama Administration has an Associate Director for Jewish Outreach in the White House Office of Public Engagement named Matt Nosanchuk but there is no designated outreach director to the nation’s 77 million Catholics. President Obama meets repeatedly with Jewish leaders, many of whom are hostile to his policies, but I have yet to read about him meeting with groups of Catholics or mainline Protestants. Many of them might well be supportive of what Obama is doing but there is no “outreach” office for them and no attempt to obtain their adherence to proposed programs.
The federal bureaucracy has for many years included numerous American Jews in the upper level positions relating to national security, Middle East policy and counter-terrorism. Most are responsible individuals who are serious about their commitment to impartial government service. But some are not so scrupulous. Dennis Ross, former Middle East negotiator, is not called “Israel’s lawyer” as a compliment. And there were also Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby, all of whom were actively engaged in bringing about the disastrous invasion of Iraq, intended in part to benefit Israel.
And then there are the neoconservatives to include the State Department’s Victoria Nuland who somewhat inexplicably are advanced in their careers by Democrats as well as Republicans while having strong ties to Israel and its leaders. Does their religion or perceived ethnicity matter? It certainly does for those of them who, like the Jewish Congressmen unable to decide how to vote, cannot compartmentalize their own personal baggage when participating in the crafting of U.S. foreign policy.
Washington inexplicably gives a wealthy and militarily powerful Israel \$3 billion annually for defense spending, a sum that it now wants to raise to nearly \$5 billion as a bribe for good behavior, which will not in any event be forthcoming. Meanwhile, within the federal government there exist special bureaucracies and benefits that are little known to the public, created in response to narrowly construed Jewish interests. Apparently successful efforts made by Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to fund special health care benefits for Holocaust survivors constitute little more than a bid to create a two tiered system that provides extra financial support for a favored group. As near as I could determine, any European Jew who was not killed during the Second World War is considered a “Holocaust survivor.” Every American who has diligently paid into the Medicare trust fund should find the proposal for special benefits based on religion offensive in the extreme.
Washington’s Holocaust Museum, undeniably a political statement vis-à-vis Israel, was built using private contributions but the taxpayer covers its operating costs, \$52 million in 2014, making it the most expensive museum in Washington. The State Department has a Special Adviser to the Secretary on Holocaust Issues as well as a Special Envoy for Holocoaust Issues. The two offices are headed respectively by Stuart Eizenstat and Nicholas Dean. There is also a Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, a position held by Ira Forman, a former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Political Director.
All three are senior Foreign Service Ambassador level positions with full staffs, first class travel expenses and additional funding. Foreign Service Executive Schedules top out at \$203,700 plus benefits which is presumably what the trio are being paid. Eizenstat, who reports to Victoria Nuland, has had a particularly long career as a Holocaust specialist having served as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and as Bill Clinton’s Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State on Holocaust Era Issues.
As the Second World War ended seventy years ago and took place in Europe, not the United States, when does it become time for the rest of us to say “enough” regarding the Holocaust and its consequences? And why are contemporary genocides in Africa not worthy of a “Special Adviser?” And then there is combatting anti-Semitism. The increase in anti-Semitism in many countries is directly linked to actions undertaken by the Israeli government, which could itself be reasonably described as anti-Christian and anti-Muslim. Is Ambassador Forman going to address any of that? His most recent fact finding trip was to Sweden and Denmark in March where he met with “Jewish leaders.”
Ironically, most American Jews support a deal with Iran, even if the self-described leaders of their community nearly unanimously do not. If I were a Jewish American listening to all the chatter I would find it highly offensive to be pandered to and treated as if I need to be constantly cajoled or even bribed to behave. There should be no “Jewish” policy towards Israel any more than I as an Italian American or my wife who is British born should favor special policies regarding Italy or the United Kingdom. Washington’s foreign policy ought to be bereft of “passionate attachment” to any other nation, intended instead to benefit the citizens of the United States. There is no question but that a negotiated agreement with Iran is good for Americans as it will both avoid another war and remove a proliferation threat. Contrary to the incoherent noises coming out of Benjamin Netanyahu’s office a deal would also be good for Israelis.
The media is being deliberately obtuse when it frames the debate over an Iran agreement as an argument over its merits, conceding to the opponents a credibility that they do not in fact deserve. The aggressive lobbying of American legislators by a foreign country would be considered outrageous if anyone but Israel were doing it. The real opposition is coming from a small number of mostly Jewish neocons backed up by the money of an equally small group of Jewish oligarchs for whom loyalty to Israel is paramount. For them, no deal with Iran would ever be acceptable. This tightly controlled cabal comes up with the cash and crafts the arguments from an AIPAC playbook, albeit aided and assisted by the usual evangelical and opportunistic GOP fellow travelers. Israel is not the United States and it is not even a vital interest for Washington but for the fact that it has become one through the unrelenting pressure exerted by the Lobby and media. It is time for every American to wake up and begin to do what is right for our country. That process will begin in September by ignoring the fulminations of Benjamin Netanyahu and taking the first step in reestablishing normal relations with Iran.