October 04, 2012 .
Even those pundits who seem to want to distance U.S. foreign policy from
Tel Aviv's demands and begin treating Israel like any other country
sometimes feel compelled to make excuses and apologies before getting
down to the nitty-gritty. The self-lacerating prologues generally
describe how much the writer really has a lot of Jewish friends and how
he or she thinks Israelis are great people and that Israel is a
wonderful country before launching into what is usually a fairly mild
Well, I don't feel that way. I don't like Israel very much. Whether or
not I have Jewish friends does not define how I see Israel and is
irrelevant to the argument.
And as for the Israelis, when I was a CIA officer overseas, I certainly
encountered many of them. Some were fine people and some were not so
fine, just like the general run of people everywhere else in the world.
But even the existence of good upstanding Israelis doesn't alter the
fact that the governments that they have elected are essentially part of
a long-running criminal enterprise judging by the serial convictions of
former presidents and prime ministers. Most recently, former President
Moshe Katsav was convicted of rape, while almost every recent head of
government, including the current one, has been investigated for
corruption. Further, the Israeli government is a rogue regime by most
international standards, engaging as it does in torture, arbitrary
imprisonment, and continued occupation of territories seized by its
military. Worse still, it has successfully manipulated my country, the
United States, and has done terrible damage both to our political system
and to the American people, a crime that I just cannot forgive, condone,
or explain away.
The most recent outrage is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
direct interference in U.S. domestic politics through his appearance in
a television ad appearing in Florida that serves as an endorsement of
Republican candidate Mitt Romney. The Netanyahu ad and his involvement
in the election has been widely reported in the media and has even been
condemned by several leading Jewish congressmen, but it has elicited no
response from either Obama or Romney.
Both should be condemning in the strongest terms the completely
unprecedented intervention by a foreign head of government in an
American election. That they are saying nothing is a testament to the
power that Israel and its friends in Congress and the media have over
the U.S. political establishment. Romney might even privately approve of
the ads, as he has basically promised to cede to Netanyahu the right to
set the limits for U.S. policy in the Middle East.
And why is Benjamin Netanyahu in such a lather? It is because President
Barack Obama will not concede to him a 'red line' that would
automatically trigger a U.S. attack on Iran. Consider for a moment the
hubris of Netanyahu in demanding that Washington meet his conditions for
going to war with Iran, a nation that for all its frequently described
faults has not attacked anyone, has not threatened to attack anyone, and
has not made the political decision to acquire a nuclear weapon in spite
of what one reads in the U.S. press. At the U.N., Netanyahu's chart
showing a cartoon bomb with a sputtering fuse reminiscent of something
that might have been employed by an anarchist in the 1870s failed to
pass any credibility test even for the inevitable cheerleaders in the
U.S. media. If the U.S. is to go to war based on a Netanyahu cartoon
then it deserves everything it gets when the venture turns sour, most
likely Iraq Redux, only 10 times worse.
Even more outrageous, and a lot less reported in the media, were the
comments made by Patrick Clawson, director of research for the
Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), an organization
founded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). WINEP
is widely viewed as a major component of the Israel Lobby in Washington
and is closely tied to the Israeli government, with which it
communicates on a regular basis.
Clawson heads WINEP's Iran Security Initiative. At a briefing on Sept.
24 he said, "I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough, and
it's very hard for me to see how the United States ' uh' president can
get us to war with Iran." The traditional way America gets to war is
what would be best for U.S. interests."
Note that Clawson states his conviction that initiating a crisis to get
the U.S. involved in a war with Iran and thereby fooling the American
people into thinking that it is the right thing to do is actually a
"U.S. interest." He cites Pearl Harbor, Fort Sumter, the Lusitania,
and the Gulf of Tonkin as models for how to get engaged. .
Which inevitably leads to Clawson's solution: "if the Iranians aren't
going to compromise it would be best if someone else started the war"
Iranian submarines periodically go down. Some day one of them may not
come up. We are in the
game of using covert means against the Iranians. We could get nastier at
that.- Clawson is clearly approving of Israel's staging an incident
that would lead to war, possibly even a false-flag operation carried out
by Israel that would implicate the United States directly, or he is
urging the White House to do the job itself.
Clawson not surprisingly has never served in the U.S. military and has a
Ph.D. in economics from the New School for Social Research, which would
at first glance seem to disqualify him from figuring out how to set up a
covert operation to sink a submarine and thereby start a war. He might
be seen as moderately ridiculous, but like many of his neoconservative
colleagues he is well wired into the system. He writes regularly for The
Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal;
appears on television as an "expert" and is a colleague at WINEP of the
ubiquitous Dennis Ross, sometimes called "Israel's lawyer," who was
until recently President Obama's point man on the Middle East. Clawson
is a useful idiot who would be registered as an agent of the Israeli
government if the Justice Department were doing its job, but instead he
is feted as a man who tells it like it is in terms of American
interests. The distortion of the foreign-policy decision-making in this
country is something that can be attributed to Clawson and his host of
fellow travelers, all of whom promote Israel's perceived interests at
the expense of the United States. And they do it with their eyes wide
I will deliberately avoid belaboring another Israel Firster Pamela
Geller and her New York subway posters calling Palestinians savages and
Israelis civilized, as I am sure the point has been made about how any
lie that can serve the cause of Israel will be aggressively defended as
"free speech." A poster excoriating Jews or blacks in similar terms as
"savages" would not have seen the light of day in New York City,
another indication of the power of the Lobby and its friends to control
the debate about the Middle East and game the system.
And then there are the reasons to dislike Israel and what it represents
that go way back. In 1952's Lavon Affair, the Israelis were prepared to
blow up a U.S. Information Center in Alexandria and blame it on the
Egyptians. In 1967, the Israelis attacked and nearly sank the USS
Liberty, killing 34 crewmen, and then used their power over President
Lyndon Johnson to block an investigation into what had occurred. In
1987, Jonathan Pollard was convicted of spying for Israel with
investigators determining that he had been the most damaging spy in the
history of the United States. In the 1960s, Israelis stole uranium from
a lab in Pennsylvania to construct a secret nuclear arsenal. And the
spying and theft of U.S. technology continues. Israel is the most active
'friendly nation' when it comes to stealing U.S. secrets, and when its
spies are caught, they are either sent home or, if they are Americans,
receive a slap on the wrist.
And Israel gets away with killing American citizens - literally - in the
cases of Rachel Corrie and Furkan Dogan of the Mavi Marmara. And let's
not forget Israel's treatment of the Palestinians which has made the
United States complicit in a crime against humanity. Tel Aviv has also
played a key role in Washington's going to war against Iraq, in
promulgating a U.S.-led global war on terror against the Muslim world,
and in crying wolf over Iran, all of which have served no U.S. interest.
Through it all, Congress and the media are oblivious to what is taking
place. Israel is a net recipient of over $123 billion in U.S. aid and
continues to get $3 billion a year even though its per capita income is
higher than that of Spain or Italy. No one questions anything having to
do with Israel while Congress rubber-stamps resolution after resolution
virtually promising to go to war on Israel's behalf.
I have to admit that I don't like what my own government is doing these
days, but I like Israel even less and it is past time to do something
about it. No more money, no more political support, no more tolerance of
spying, and no more having to listen to demands for red lines to go to
war. No more favorable press when the demented Benjamin Netanyahu holds
up a cartoon at the U.N. The United States government exists to serve
the American people, no more, no less, and it is time that our elected
representatives begin to remember that fact.
Read more by Philip Giraldi .
The Ubiquitous New Yorker - September 26th, 2012
Rumors of Wars - September 19th, 2012
Once More Into the Breach - September 12th, 2012
What Bibi Wants - September 5th, 2012
Where Do We Go Next? - August 29th, 2012