Last night on C-SPAN 3 at 1 a.m., I saw a very little seen hour-long documentary called “The Palestinian People Do Have Rights”. It was produced by the United Nations back in 1979 and was remarkable for focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from a Palestinian viewpoint, which almost never happens in the US given how entirely one-sided our media is for the State of Israel. However, this isn’t the case necessarily with the rest of the world even among some of our European allies, who have a more nuanced perspective in the Middle East. But, unfortunately for this country, the entirety of what I’ll call the “Israeli Lobby” prevents any meaningful debate from taking place not only within the insular and historically-warped perspective of MSM propaganda but also within the White House, Congress, and the bulk of US academia as well. And, it is this fact which ought to (particularly a so-called open democratic Republic as ours) spur Americans to question the legitimacy of the very involvement of any US authority figure in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
Beyond the question of legitimacy of America’s role in mediating the conflict through the years, it behooves us to understand how and why Israel has been able to get pretty much everything they want in terms of expanding illegal settlements, billions in US foreign aid money, the wanton killing of Palestinian civilians for alleged “self-defense”, and the overall continued genocidal Apartheid occupation of a brutalized population in the prison-like ghettos of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In other words, the situation as it exists in the occupied territories is neither good for the US or Israel. Unfortunately, the Palestinian people are prevented from achieving self-determination under a sovereign state of their own, while remaining in a constant state of anxiety and terror from Israeli air strikes in a homeland they are treated worse than diseased cattle in.
A good place to start to gain some degree of political perspective as to just how powerful the Israeli Lobby actually is in this country, as well as the ways in which it exercises its considerable power within the Washington beltway and beyond is The Washington Report. This alternative media source sponsored their annual conference this year at the National Press Club on March 24th, 2017 that was well attended but of course not discussed in mainstream discourse. Speakers included such luminaries as Grant F. Smith, Prof. John Mearsheimer (who co-wrote The Israel Lobby along with Stephen Walt), Hanan Ashrawi, filmmaker Tom Hayes, former Congressmen Jim Moran (D-VA) and Nick Rahall (D-WV), and many others. I’d like to highlight some of speakers more salient points given during their respective talks, which have all been posted for free on YouTube.
First, you might be wondering- “What exactly is the Israel Lobby?” It is actually more than AIPAC. Based on the research the Grant Smith did for his book Big Israel, he says:
“I reveal a $3.7 billion nonprofit ecosystem on track to reach $6.3 billion by 2020. With 14,000 employees, 350,000 volunteers, but a paying membership of approximately 774,000, it is this nonprofit lobby along with overlapping campaign-finance infrastructure- whether it is large individual donors, stealth political action committees- that provide Israel with the US support that it would otherwise not have.”
Now, when you add to that formidable force organizations like the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), B’nai B’rith, Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), think tanks like the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and the many other Jewish NGO’s and Israeli-connected companies in this country especially within media empires, it becomes abundantly clear just how powerful the Israel Lobby really is and how it can wield such disproportionate influence on American foreign policy in the Middle East. And, the US taxpayer pays for it all to the tune of at least $254 billion in known foreign aid money to Israel, more than any other country in the world.
All this free foreign aid money that is sent to Israel with no strings attached along with appropriations for the latest in American technology and military weaponry not only comes at a hefty price, in terms of what it could have been spent on in this country, but it’s also a heavy price paid in the blood of the Palestinian people, which naturally greatly weakens our moral standing in the eyes of the rest of the world. In fact, in a great many quarters, Israel is seen as even more racist than Apartheid South Africa. So, for instance, as Prof. John Mearsheimer relates in his speech:
“Speaking of South Africa, there are a number of individuals who were well acquainted with the situation in that racist state before it collapsed who believe that the situation in Israel is worse. John Dugard, the eminent South African law professor, says that the crimes against the Palestinians are, to quote, ‘infinitely worse than those committed by the apartheid regime in South Africa’. He is hardly the lone voice in that regard. For anyone who doubts how bad life can be for the Palestinians living under Israeli control, one only has to consider what happened in Israel’s three major assaults against Gaza over the past decade: Operation Cast Lead, Operation Pillar of Defense, and Operation Protective Edge. Because of time constraints, I will focus exclusively on the first of those operations, Cast Lead, which took place in the weeks before President Obama was inaugurated in 2009. Israel forces killed about 1,400 Palestinians, of whom roughly 1,200 were civilians; 350 of those civilians were children. In contrast, 13 Israelis were killed. The ratio of Palestinians to Israelis killed in that operation is 108:1. That’s not a war in my lexicon- that’s a massacre. I might add that 6,300 Palestinian homes were destroyed, contributing to the 600,000 tons of rubble that littered Gaza when the shooting ended. The U.N. commissioned an investigation in the wake of that conflict which was headed by the distinguished South African jurist Richard Goldstone. The final report, sometimes referred to as the Goldstone Report, concluded that Israel had engaged in ‘a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population.’ It went on to accuse Israel of committing war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.”
Now, ask yourself how much of this assault you even heard about on CNN, MS-NBC, FOX, ABC, CBS, etc.? I’m willing to bet that most of the news was still fawning and deifying the “Cult of Personality” portrait they had painted for Barrack Obama, which has been completely reversed for the Trump administration. Attitudes towards celebrity presidents notwithstanding, what doesn’t change between various administrations is America’s unwavering commitment to Israel’s unilateral “right of self-defense”, which is to say that it can use any excuse it wants to justify slaughtering as many Palestinians they want. And, regardless of how bad it appears before the U.N. Security Council, the US will always veto any resolution that seeks a just and equitable peace. So, even though it’s been 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, practically 70 years since the creation of the State of Israel by the U.N., and 50 years since the 6-Day War of 1967, when an American communications vessel, the U.S.S. Liberty, was deliberately attacked in international waters by Israeli aircraft fighter jets and submarines with the sick connivance of President LBJ, as I’ve written about previously. The “special relationship” with Zionist Israel remains the same no matter who becomes president or what the political makeup of Congress may be. After all, in the lead up to the 2016 election, both Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump both spoke in gushing and glowing terms of their commitment to Israel at the AIPAC convention, and the only question was how much more in love they were with Israel than their opponent. So, under those circumstances, does anyone seriously think that things will change with our fundamental relationship with Israel under a Trump administration? Go watch his address to AIPAC and see for yourself.
Obviously, this can be a very complex and hotly contested issue, especially when you start focusing on the details of such things as border security, Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, political Zionism as a form of colonialism, ethnic cleansing, and all the the other myriad issues that surround this conflict. But, when you simply focus on how and why the US has remained so steadfast over the years in complete support of Israel to the ultimate detriment of the Palestinians in brokering a lasting peace, the matter (I think) isn’t nearly as complex as it first seems. With huge resources and practically unlimited capital, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) tracks every single politician’s vote on every single bill that even remotely affects Israel and scores politicians accordingly. Those that score high get campaign money and support. Those that score low get tagged as “Anti-Semitic” by their media moles and propaganda hacks, and their political opponents suddenly find themselves much better funded than before.
If it’s considered important enough to oust a suspected enemy of the State of Israel, orchestrated programs can involve any number of dirty tricks to include black mail, bribery, frame jobs, cyber attacks and, of course, threats to one’s character, livelihood, and even life. Again, it’s all a question of severity and how much of a threat (or rather perceived threat) someone in an established powerful position is to what Israel views as their national interests, i.e. Machiavellian dominance. You can bet that what works well for CIA goes double for Mossad. It’s not surprising, therefore, that both countries (no matter how friendly they are with one another) spy on each other all the time. But, what should be shocking, when you delve into the matter, is that the US is giving Israel something around $6 billion a year in part to do just that.