Journal of the Mental Environment
DOES THE ISRAELI TAIL WAG AMERICAN DOG?
By Kathleen and Bill Christison
Excerpted from a longer article at:
...The pervasiveness of the lobby’s influence makes Tony Judt’s reference to the US president as a “ventriloquist’s dummy” particularly apt. As Walt pointed out in a Mother Jones interview, no matter what Israel does, the United States continues to support it. “They continue to build settlements even though every president since Lyndon Johnson has thought that was a bad idea. They spy on us routinely. They’ve given or sold American military technology to other countries. Also…they have conducted a wide variety of human rights violations, and yet none of those activities ever slows down American support.” For the last several decades, AIPAC has frequently involved itself directly in the legislative process, writing legislation relating to the Middle East and pushing a series of anti-Arab, pro-Israeli resolutions that state the stance of the Senate and the House on various issues, such as Israel’s construction of the separation wall and Israel’s summer 2006 attack on Lebanon. AIPAC often boasts that it vets and exerts influence over presidential candidates. During the 2004 presidential campaign when Howard Dean issued ! a mild a nd seemingly non-controversial call for an “even-handed” US policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict, he was roundly condemned by the lobby and by fellow Democrats, and he quickly dropped the call. Long-serving congressmen who deviate are targeted for electoral defeat. In the 1980s, Representative Paul Findley and Senator Charles Percy, who had each served multiple terms in Illinois, were defeated through the efforts of AIPAC after both spoke out in favor of negotiating with the PLO. More recently, Georgia’s Cynthia McKinney has twice been the target of AIPAC’s electoral interference.
The list goes on. Israel and its lobby have been the policy initiators, the US the follower, in Israel’s 1967 war, its 1982 invasion of Lebanon, its 2002 invasion of the West Bank, its 40-year settlement-construction enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territories, its disproportionate attacks on Palestinians, its assault on Lebanon. The scope of the lobby’s infiltration of government policymaking councils has been unprecedented during the current Bush administration, and there is strong evidence that neo-conservatives inside the administration—whose ties to Israel’s right wing are undeniable—were the architects of the invasion of Iraq and of the administration’s push to “transform” the Middle East and spread “democracy” throughout the region. Mearsheimer and Walt assert that the Iraq war was “at least partly intended to improve Israel’s strategic position”—a reality that would seem to be confirmed by the fact that some of these same neo-cons authored a strategy paper, entitled “A Clean Break,” in the mid-1990s for then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, laying out a plan for attacking Iraq that was later pushed when the neo-cons entered the Bush administration. The strategy was designed explicitly to assure Israel’s regional dominance, to undermine the Oslo peace process, and to relieve Israel of pressure to make concessions to the Palestinians...