August 30 / 31, 2008
What If the Israeli Lobby was the Islamic Lobby?
By B. R. GOWANI
Abu Faisal was White House press secretary (instead of Ari Fleischer)
Altaf Adham was deputy national security advisor
(instead of Elliott Abrams)
Sofian Bishr was Supreme Court Justice instead of Stephen Breyer
Tarf Kaukab was Nightline host (instead of Ted Koppel)
Dawud Bushr was New York Times columnist (instead of David
Rukan Badar Ghiyath was Supreme Court Justice
(instead of Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
Thamer Furud was New York Times columnist (instead of Thomas Friedman)
Laith Keid was host of Larry King show (instead of Larry King)
Yousuf “Yo” Luqman was US Senator from
Connecticut (instead of Joseph “Joe” Lieberman)
Zuhaa Midlaj was New York Times reporter (instead of Judith Miller)
Dawud Fouad was Bush’s speechwriter (instead of David Frum)
Lu’ay Labib was Cheney’s Chief of Staff (instead of Lewis Libby)
Polat Walif-Rizk was Rumsfeld’s Deputy Secretary
of Defense (instead of Paul Wolfowitz)
Mahdi Parvez was editor of The New Republic
magazine (instead of Martin Peretz)
Basil Kishwar was the editor of The Weekly
Standard instead of (Bill Kristol)
Ali Wisam was the famous Nobel Peace laureate (instead of Elie Wiesel)
Jaafer Ghawth-Badr was a staff writer at New
Yorker (instead of Jeffrey Goldberg)
Rifat Pir was the Chairman of the Defense Policy
Board AdvisoryCommittee (instead of Richard Perle)
Yaman Sikandar was the famous filmmaker (instead of Steven Spielberg)
Ibrahim Faqih-Ma’n was the head of the
Anti-Defamation League (instead of Abraham Foxman)
Alam Daoud-Vida was the famous lawyer (instead of Alan Dershowitz)
Imagine the above Muslims in key positions. There are 2 per cent Jews in the US and the same percentage of Muslims. Now consider for a moment that both communities have exchanged places as it happens on that TV show “Wife Swap.” Here not only wives but the entire community exchanges places. Or a still better example would be the 1970 film “Watermelon Man” in which a white man wakes up in the morning and discovers he has turned into a black person. Blackness becomes his fate.
However, first let us check out the power Jews have in the United States in order to imagine how things would have been different if the Muslims had exactly the same power.
This article, however, realizes that Jews are not a monolithic group. For instance: 75 per cent of Americans supported the war in 2003 in US, whereas the Jewish support was at 50 per cent.
Like many other Jews, the billionaire George Soros favors a dialogue between the Hamas (the elected government in the Palestinian territories) and the Israelis:
“… Israel, with the strong backing of the United States, refused to recognize the democratically elected Hamas government and withheld payment of the millions in taxes collected by the Israelis on its behalf. This caused great economic hardship and undermined the ability of the government to function. But it did
not reduce popular support for Hamas among Palestinians, and it reinforced the position of Islamic and other extremists who oppose negotiations with Israel….”
There have always been Jewish people and institutions who have tried to work for some peaceful solution of the Palestinian/Israeli problem but the Jewish Lobby and pro Israel individuals have always succeeded in silencing or marginalizing those voices.
Bill and Kathleen Christison explain how the word “anti-Semite” is abused:
“Anyone who has the temerity to suggest any Israeli instigation of, or even involvement in, Bush administration war planning is inevitably labeled somewhere along the way as an anti-Semite. Just whisper the word `domination’ anywhere in the vicinity of the word `Israel,’ as in `U.S.-Israeli domination of the Middle East’ or `the U.S. drive to assure global domination and guarantee security for Israel,’ and some leftist who otherwise opposes going to war against Iraq will trot out charges of promoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the old czarist forgery that asserted a Jewish plan for world domination.”
A Few Clarifications
Before proceeding any further, it is important to remember the historic injustices suffered by the Jewish people. The past has not been especially nice to the Jews; rather it has been extremely cruelÂ, mainly, in the form of European Christianity. The atrocious climax reached between 1939 and 1945 under Nazi Germany. Between five to six million Jews were murdered. But since then, although there have been some instances of
targeting Jewish people and desecrating their cemeteries in Europe and elsewhere, these have not in any way affected their survival and growth as a distinct religious and cultural entity. And economically they are one of the few most powerful groups in the world.
In addition: There are many interest groups or lobbies in the United States who are doing immense harm to people within and without, and the dominant corporate press is one of those groups. People who want to register their protest or recommend changes are at the mercy of the media managers. So, the Jewish Lobby is not the only one exerting influence. Nevertheless, the Lobby’s power is enormous and it has wielded it
in such a devastating way that the whole of Middle East has been burning for quite a long time now Â and in turn it affects the entire world.
There is, of course, a convergence of the US interest to control the oil; and, the Israeli interest to be the sole regional power. If one thinks from that perspective, then without doubt the US would have been in a better shape if it would have avoided the 2003 complete destruction of the almost-destroyed Iraq of 1991 and if it had left Saddam Hussein pitted against Iran. Not only would this have saved the US billions of
dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives but would have preserved its hegemony a little longer.
Anti-Arab, anti-Palestine, anti-Iran, anti-Muslim?
When a corporation exploits its workers it is
called an exploiter. When a member of the
majority discriminates against a member of the
minority then she/he is called a racist. When a
male discriminates against a woman he is called a
sexist. When one person discriminates another on
the basis of religion then that person is called
a communalist. When anyone hates or kills a Jew
(simply because he is a Jew), that person is
called an anti-Semite. When a Muslim kills
someone in the name of Islam, he is called a
What would you call those influential Jews,
individuals and those belonging to the Lobby, in
the US who played an important role in the war to
destroy an Arab country of Iraq without any
reason or are now pushing for a war against Iran?
They are beardless, suited, booted. They are not
overtly religious like Taliban and so we can’t
call them Jewsratics or Jews who are Israel
Fanatics. However, their religion is Israel and
so the appropriate word (for their world
devastating pro Israel stand) should be “Israel
Fanatics” or “Isratics.” These Isratics are on a
revenge path for past injustices.
The victims are now the victimizers. Their
victims are not the white Europeans but the Palestinians and other Arabs.
And the Isratics are equipped with a WMD or word
of mass destruction, and so the moment anyone
points out their control over the US Congress,
government, news media, etc. she/he will be labeled an “anti-Semite.”
Auschwitz, located in Poland, (then under German
control) was the largest of the many
concentration camps where the Jews were
transported and were murdered using all sorts of
inhuman methods. Other communities suffered too.
For the organized Jewry, the “Holocaust” has
become a profitable enterprise, as Norman
Finkelstein’s insightful study, “The Holocaust
Industry,” makes clear. Just one example: The
Swiss banks’ offer of $600 million was rejected
by the Jewish leaders and so in August 1998, they
agreed to pay $1.25 billion. A press release by
Swiss banks explained “the aim of the additional
payment” “is to avert the threat of [US]
sanctions as well as long and costly court
proceedings.” Back in March, Edgar Bronfman,
president of World Jewish Congress had warned the
Swiss banks: “If the Swiss are going to keep
digging their heels in, then I’ll have to ask all
US shareholders to suspend their dealings with
the Swiss [emphasis mine].” Finkelstein reminds
us that the United States is equally guilty of
the three categories (Swiss denial of asylum to
refugees, claimants to inactive Swiss bank
accounts, and victims of slave labor which proved
advantageous to the Swiss) for which the Swiss
had to pay; whereas, the US has not even been
threatened, let alone charged.
“Many” lawyers were charging $600 an hour for
filing claims, and one lawyer wanted $2,400 for
reading Tom Bower’s book “Nazi Gold.”
Many other European governments, including
Germany, have also paid huge sums of money to organized Jewry.
The US itself has never paid any money to the
Native Indians, the blacks, and many others. One
may wonder as to why the US government threatens
other governments or their institutions to pay reparations to the Jews!
(In 1986, the World Court ordered the US to pay
$17 billion to Nicaragua for multiple crimes. The US ignored the verdict.)
Most interesting to note: Finkelstein says, “The
Holocaust’s mystery, Wiesel avows, is
`noncommunicable;’ `we cannot even talk about
it.’ Thus, for his standard fee of $25,000 (plus
chauffeured limousine), Wiesel lectures that the
`secret of Auschwitz’s `truth lies in silence.'”
Daniel McGowan provides a good portrait of this peace laureate.
“He is a multi-millionaire, but carefully
cultivates the image of a perpetually disheveled
professor. Although he has won the Nobel Peace
Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the
Guardian of Zion Medal, and the Oprah Book Award,
many people in Israel resent the way he has used
the Holocaust to make his living. Some Israelis
refer to him as a `sho’an.’ The word `sho’a’ is
Hebrew for Holocaust; with the suffix it
indicates a professional specializing in the
subject. So it is both funny and derogatory, not
unlike Norman Finkelstein referring to Wiesel as
the `resident clown’ of the Holocaust circus.”
Wiesel was awarded a Noble Peace Prize in 1986.
In 1983, according to the Norwegian Nobel
Committee’s secretary, his name was recommended
by half of the US Congress.
Noam Chomsky says that in the US, Wiesel is
respected as a “secular saint” and is considered a “critic of fascism.”
However, the saint keeps his mouth shut where Israel’s crimes are involved:
“I support Israel, period. I identify with
Israel, period. I never attack; never criticize
Israel when I am not in Israel.”
This so called harbinger of peace was in the
White House on February 27, 2003 to see the
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.
President George Bush was also there. Wiesel
echoed the same old nonsense of comparing Germany
of the late 1930s with 2003’s Iraq. In simple
words he wanted Bush to start a war. He said:
“It’s a moral issue. In the name of morality how
can we not intervene.” “I’m against silence.” So
he wanted Bush to scream out loud with weapons.
Further, there are people like the late Nahum
Goldmann, President of the World Jewish Congress,
who have criticized those who exploited the Jewish tragedy:
“We will have to understand that Jewish suffering
during the Holocaust no longer will serve as a
protection, and we certainly must refrain from
using the argument of the Holocaust to justify
whatever we may do. To use the Holocaust as an
excuse for the bombing of Lebanon, for instance,
as Menachem Begin does, is a kind of “Hillul
Hashem” [sacrilege], a banalization of the sacred
tragedy of the Shoah [Holocaust], which must not
be misused to justify politically doubtful and
morally indefensible policies.”
The letter H in the word “Holocaust” is in
capital letter because many influential Jewish
leaders firmly believe that theirs is the unique
tragedy. In other words, they have a copyright
over the word “Holocaust” and thus the millions
of Native Indians, African slaves, Armenians
(victims of Turks), the Congolese (victims of
Belgium), the Bengalis of East Pakistan, later
Bangladesh, (victims of West Pakistan, now
Pakistan), Roma and Sinti people or gypsies
(victims of Nazi Germany), and others can’t claim
their tragedies as holocaust.
Robert Fisk tells us that the word holocaust has
been in currency since the 18th century. The
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, as a
matter fact, used it for the Armenians:
“In 1915 the Turkish Government began and
ruthlessly carried out the infamous general
massacre and deportation of Armenians in Asia
Minor.” The “war criminals,” that is the Turks,
massacred “uncounted thousands of helpless
Armenians – men, women and children together;
whole districts blotted out in one administrative
holocaust – these were beyond human redress.”
Money Talks, Politicians Walk
It is the power of the influential Isratics. And
they are everywhere in the US. The third richest
man in the US (and the richest Jew in the world)
and the owner of two of Las Vegas’s huge casino
resorts, the Palazzo and the Venetian, Sheldon
Adelson, opposes the two-state (Israel/Palestine)
solution. In October 2007, during Republican
donors’ visit to the White House, he warned
President George Bush that the policy which
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is pursuing
in the Middle East would ruin him.
His both arms around Adelson and his wife’s
shoulders, Bush replied: “You tell your Prime
Minister [Israel’s Ehud Olmert] that I need to
know what’s right for your peopleÂbecause at the
end of the day it’s going to be my policy, not
Condi’s. But I can’t be more Catholic than the Pope.”
AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee)
The Jewish Lobby is made up of several Jewish
groups. The Israel Lobby includes some pro Israel
Evangelical Christians and Christian Zionists.
AIPAC is one of the most important of the Jewish groups.
Jeffrey Goldberg wrote in 2005 that AIPAC’s
“leaders can be immoderately frank about the
group’s influence.” Years back, while dining with
AIPAC’s Steve Rosen, Goldberg asked if the 1992
incident involving the then AIPAC President David
Steiner had hurt the AIPAC’s influence. “A half
smile appeared on his face, and he pushed a
napkin across the table. `You see this napkin?’
he said. `In twenty-four hours, we could have the
signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.'”
The above conversation is not an isolated incident.
On October 22, 1992, New York businessman Haim
(Harry) Katz [HK] recorded his conversation with
AIPAC President David Steiner [DS] without his
knowledge. Later, when the conversation became
public, Steiner resigned. Excerpts of that conversation:
DS: Besides the $10 billion in loan guarantees
which a fabulous thing, $3 billion was in
foreign, in military aid, and I got almost a
billion dollars in other goodies that people don’t even know about.
DS: … I said look Jim [Baker, Papa Bush’s
Secretary of State], “You don’t want a fight
before the election. It’s going to hurt Bush….
HK: … But you met with Baker. . .
HK: Personally. Because you know, he’s the one
who cursed, who cursed the Jews.
(When the Jewish influence in the US was
mentioned at a government meeting on Middle East,
Baker supposedly said, “Fuck the Jews. They don’t
vote for us [Republicans] anyway.”)
DS: Of course, do you think I’m ever going to forgive him for that?
DS: Do you think I could ever forgive Bush for
what he did September 12th  a year ago?
What he said about the Jews for lobbying in Washington?
(Bush Sr. had said: I was “up against some
powerful political forces . . . I heard today
there was something like 1,000 lobbyists on the
Hill working on the other side of the question.
We’ve got one lonely little guy down here doing it.”)
HK: … I thought [presidential candidate Rose]
Perot did marvelous in the debates.
DS: He doesn’t know how to govern. He’s not going
to make it. And there was an incident where his
daughter was going out with a Jewish professor at
school and he said, “I wouldn’t have my daughter marry a Jew.”
DS: … you ought to think about coming to some
of these things. I’ll have a dinner this fall.
I’ll have 18-20 senators there. I run programs in
Washington. We just had a, I had at Ted Kennedy’s
house last month kosher dinner. I brought
foremost caterers down. I had 60 people on the
couch for dinner. Last year, I did it in Al Gore’s house.
DS: I personally am not allowed, as president of
AIPAC, to get involved in the presidential
campaign, because I have to deal with whoever wins.
HK: … what will he [Bill Clinton] do for Israel, better than Bush…
DS: … Gore is very committed to us.
(Gore once said: “I have a 100 percent voting
record for Israel, even though there wasn’t one
synagogue in my congressional district.” And this
person had lectured Jesse Jackson for meeting Yasser Arafat.)
DS: I’ve known Bill for seven, eight years …
One of my friends is Hillary Clinton’s scheduler,
one of my officer’s daughters works there. We
gave two employees from AIPAC leave of absences
to work on the campaign. I mean, we have a dozen
people in that campaign, in the headquarters.
DS: Let me tell you the problem with the $10
billion in loan guarantees, right? We only have
the first year. We have authorization from
Congress, but it’s at the discretion of the
president every year thereafter, so if Bush is
there, he could say, you know, use it as a club,
you know. `If you don’t give up Syria, I won’t
give you the money. If you don’t give up the Golan Heights.’
DS: … A girl who worked for me at AIPAC stood
up for them [Clintons] at their wedding. Hillary
lived with her…. We have never had that with Bush…
DS: … He’s got something in his heart for the
Jews, he has Jewish friends. Bush has no Jewish friends.
DS: Reagan had something . . . He knew Jews from
the film industry; he was one of the best guys
for us. He had an emotional thing for the Jews.
Bush doesn’t have it…. Bush is, there’s a man
with no principles. Absolutely no principles.
HK: … I wish we had a Jewish candidate for president.
DS: I don’t think the country’s ready.
HK: … I think Joe Lieberman would have, uh,
would have, if he wasn’t Jewish….
(Lieberman was Albert Gore’s running mate in the
2000 presidential elections.)
DS: I’d like to see him on the Supreme Court.
HK: If Clinton is elected, has he told you who
he’s going to put on the Supreme Court?
DS: We’re talking now…. We’re more interested
right now, in the secretary of state and the
secretary of National Security Agency. That’s more important to us.
HK: If Clinton is elected, who do you think will be secretary of state?
DS: I’ve got a list…. I’m not allowed to talk about it.
John Mersheimer and Steven Walt point out the use
of pro-Israel congressional staffers as one more
source for the Lobby. They quote former AIPAC chief Morris Amitay:
“There are a lot of guys at the working level up
here” â€“ on Capitol Hill â€“ “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
decision in these areas for those senators . . .
You can get an awful lot done just at the staff level.”
A former AIPAC staff member Douglas Bloomfield
sheds light on how the congresspersons conduct their research:
“It is common for members of Congress and their
staffs to turn to AIPAC first when they need
information, before calling the Library of
Congress, the Congressional Research Service,
committee staff or administration experts.”
“[AIPAC is] often called on to draft speeches,
work on legislation, advise on tactics, perform
research, collect co-sponsors and marshal votes.”
A senior congressional staffer, writing under the
pen name George Sunderland, here on the
CounterPunch site, explains how the politicians
attending the annual AIPAC meetings act:
“Command performances before AIPAC have become
standard features in the life of a Washington
elected official, like filing FEC reports and
hitting on interns. The stylized panegyrics
delivered at the annual AIPAC meeting have all
the probative value of the Dniepropetrovsk
Soviet’s birthday greeting to [the Soviet leader,
Joseph] Stalin, because the actual content is
unimportant; what is crucial is that the
politician in question be seen to be genuflecting
before the AIPAC board. In fact, to make things
easier, the speeches are sometimes written by an
AIPAC employee, with cosmetic changes inserted by
a member of the Senator’s or Congressman’s own staff.”
Talking to the New York Sun in January 2003,
Howard Kohr said, “Quietly lobbying Congress to
approve the use of force in Iraq was one of
AIPAC’s successes over the past year.”
Occasionally AIPAC is not successful. In 1981, it
vehemently opposed the US sale of AWACS (Airborne
Warning and Control System) to Saudi Arabia but
failed to block the sale. Former President Gerald
Ford was infuriated at the AIPAC antics and
called a Republican senator and fumed: “Are we
going to let the fucking Jews run American foreign policy?”
Reagan announced the AWACS sale on national
television with these words: “It is not the
business of other nations to make American foreign policy.”
But Edward Tivnan sees this sale as not much of a victory:
“… AIPAC had taken on the President of the
United States, and almost, as Ronald Reagan
himself had claimed, embarrassed him in front of
the whole world. (What kind of President couldn’t
sale five airplanes to a small Arab country,
particularly one sitting on billions of dollars
of oil crucial to American prosperity?) … ”
In March 2003, Collin Powell had said: “It is not
driven by any small cabal that is buried away
somewhere, that is telling President Bush or me
or Vice President Cheney or [National Security
Adviser Condoleezza] Rice or other members of the
administration what our policies should be.”
But the reality is exactly opposite.
Foxman, National Director of Anti-Defamation
League, is a very important figure; his power can
be gauged by the meeting he had with Colin
Powell, the US Secretary of State, i.e., foreign minister,
“`In his [Powell’s] own State Department there
was a keen awareness of the strength of the
Jewish lobbyists. Secretaries of State did not
usually meet with lobbyists, but both Jewish
officials and Jews that did not officially
represent specific groups from Abe Foxman of the
Anti-Defamation League to Ronald Lauder, could
meet with Powell on short notice…. At the State
Department, Foxman had an aura of omnipotence. He
was held responsible for the appointment of
[Martin S.] Indyk as Undersecretary of State
under Clinton, and was thought to have played a
role in the appointments of Secretaries of State
[Warren] Christopher and [Madeline] Albright.
Powell related to Foxman almost as if he were
someone to whom he must capitulate. Once Foxman
told one of his deputies that Powell was the weak
link. When the Secretary of State heard this he
began to worry. He knew that in Washington a
confrontation with the Jewish lobby would make
his life difficult. Once he arranged a meeting
with Foxman, but the busy Foxman postponed the
meeting three times. When they eventually met,
the head of the Anti-Defamation League apologized
to the Secretary of State [for the
postponements]. “You call, we come,” replied
Powell, paraphrasing a well known advertisement
for a freight company. That statement had much
more meaning than just a humorous polite reply.'”
(from Raviv Drucker and Ofer Shelah, Boomerang…).
Nevertheless, one has to accept the fact that
even though Powell had been a part of governments
during the 1991 Iraq War and the 2003 Iraq War,
he was not in favor of war. One can argue that in
that case he should have quit his position and
thus boosting the morale of the anti-war movement.
Once on a visit to Jerusalem, he stood his
ground, when he refused to comply with Sharon’s order.
Sharon: I don’t want you to go to Damascus
[Syria]. I don’t think it serves the interests of
peace, and we don’t like it here in Israel when you go to Damascus.
Powell: Ariel, thank you very much but I am going
anyway. I am Secretary of State of the United
States of America and not the foreign minister of Israel.
Powell was fed up with the neo-cons pushing for
war and called them the “fucking crazies.”
It is obvious that it is the Israel Lobby’s power
that enabled Sharon to order Powell; otherwise,
in reality, he was just a premier of a tiny
country Â although in military means, the fourth
most powerful country in the world.
To be continued Monday