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Ali Abunimah: Worse than you thought

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    Ali Abunimah: Worse than you thought It s worse than you thought: pro-Israel influence on US policy Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 15 March 2004
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 5, 2004
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      Ali Abunimah: Worse than you thought

      "It's worse than you thought: pro-Israel influence on US policy"

      Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada, 15 March 2004

      In the early weeks of the invasion of Iraq, when the US thrust toward
      Baghdad appeared to be meeting more resistance than expected, an
      awful row broke out in Washington over the role of pro-Israel groups
      and individuals in dragging the country to war. Increasing media
      examination of the roles of key neoconservative figures associated
      with Likudnik groups gave rise to a backlash that sought to tar
      anyone who dared raise questions with anti-Semitism.

      Laurence Cohen, a columnist for the Hartford Courant, rejected
      criticism of key Iraq hawks Richard Perle, Deputy Secretary of
      Defense Paul Wolfowitz and others, claiming, "It took about four
      seconds for this clustering to stir anti-Semitic rumblings to the
      effect that these crafty, secretive Jews had come together in the
      Rose Garden to chant special prayers that transformed George W.
      US President George W. Bush (SD photo), Colin Powell and Donald
      Rumsfeld into anti-Iraqi warriors, prepared to sacrifice American
      lives in a subtle defense of Israel." (13 April 2003) Such claims
      were echoed by many pro-Israeli figures, such as Rabbi Marvin Hier,
      the director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center who claimed, "It has now
      become en vogue to blame the war on Iraq on Jews." (Washington Post,
      15 March 2003)

      Ironically, the only times such vicious anti-Semitic caricatures
      appeared in the US mainstream media were when commentators like Cohen
      introduced them. The effect was to give the entirely false illusion
      that such characterizations were rampant, and to seize on a few, rare
      and misplaced comments about Jewish officials to silence a legitimate
      debate about the role of pro-Israeli activists.

      Karen Kwiatkowski
      Now, a new firsthand account of life in the US Defense Department
      shows just how pro-Israeli groups exerted their influence from within
      the government. Karen Kwiatkowski retired as a lieutenant colonel in
      the US Air Force after two decades of distinguished service. Her last
      posting was at the Near East South Asia (NESA) directorate at the

      In a lengthy article in the online journal Salon.com, Kwiatkowski
      writes, "From May 2002 until February 2003, I observed firsthand the
      formation of the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans and watched the
      latter stages of the neoconservative capture of the policy-
      intelligence nexus in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq."
      The "seizure of the reins of US Middle East policy," Kwiatkowski
      recounts, "was directly visible to many of us working in the Near
      East South Asia Policy office, and yet there seemed to be little any
      of us could do about it."

      Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith (left) and Deputy
      Under Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern South Asian Affairs and
      Special Plans William Luti brief reporters on policy and intelligence
      during a Pentagon press conference on June 4, 2003. (DoD/Helene C.

      All this happened under the watch of Bill Luti, the deputy secretary
      of defense for NESA, and went up and down the chain of command.

      Some of the specific incidents Kwiatkowski recalls are
      illustrative: "Longtime office director Joe McMillan was reassigned
      to the National Defense University. The director's job in the time of
      transition was to help bring the newly appointed deputy assistant
      secretary up to speed, ensure office continuity, act as a resource
      relating to regional histories and policies ... Removing such a
      critical continuity factor was not only unusual but also seemed like
      willful handicapping."

      Kwiatkowski said "the expertise on Mideast policy was not only being
      removed, but was also being exchanged for that from various agenda-
      bearing think tanks, including the Middle East Media Research
      Institute, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and the
      Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs." The main agenda of
      all these organizations is advocating closer US-Israel ties. She saw
      the "replacement of the civilian head of the Israel, Lebanon and
      Syria desk office with a young political appointee from the
      Washington Institute, David Schenker. Word was that the former
      experienced civilian desk officer tended to be evenhanded toward the
      policies of Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon of Israel, but there were
      complaints and he was gone." As the personnel changed, so did the
      atmosphere; Kwiatkowski recalls that a "career civil servant rather
      unhappily advised me that if I wanted to be successful here, I'd
      better remember not to say anything positive about the Palestinians."

      Gen. Anthony Zinni, former head of U.S. Central Command. (DoD photo)
      In an official meeting at which Kwiatkowski was present, Luti openly
      called Marine General, former Chief of Central Command, and Middle
      East envoy Anthony Zinni, a "traitor" for having reservations about
      the march to war, and open contempt and calls for Secretary of State
      Colin Powell to resign were common. What she observed until her
      voluntary early retirement was nothing less than a full-scale assault
      on the intelligence and policymaking apparatus of the United States.
      She witnessed intelligence and careful analysis being replaced with
      propaganda, falsehoods and manipulation and fed to the Congress and
      the Executive Office of the President. This "fear peddling" was,
      Kwiatkowski writes, "designed to take Congress and the country into a
      war of executive choice, a war based on false pretenses."

      What prompted Kwiatkowski to speak out is the "swiftness of the
      neoconservatives casting of blame," for the failures in Iraq, "on the
      intelligence community and away from themselves." She is indignant
      that, "we are told by our president and neoconservative mouthpieces
      that our sons and daughters, husbands and wives are in Iraq fighting
      for freedom, for liberty, for justice and American values. This cost
      is not borne by the children of Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumsfeld and
      Cheney. Bush's daughters do not pay this price." Many Americans and
      observers in the Middle East hope that if Bush is defeated in the
      November election, it will lead to a reversal of course in US policy.
      But realistically, a President John Kerry would not pressure Israel
      any more than Bill Clinton did, and in the post-September 11, 2001,
      environment, probably less. And Kerry, despite his misgivings about
      the Iraq war, talks of staying until the "job is done."

      But that doesn't mean there is no difference between Kerry and Bush.
      Hussein Ibish, communications director of the American-Arab Anti-
      Discrimination Committee explains that, "under President Kerry, the
      neoconservative influence on US foreign policy would almost certainly
      be greatly diminished for the simple reason that almost all the
      prominent neoconservatives have aligned themselves with the
      Republican Party."

      US policy would likely revert to what it was under Clinton, with some
      adjustments for the post-September 11 environment. But in the current
      circumstances, restoring the professional policymaking and
      intelligence apparatus of the US would be a huge improvement. Above
      all, it would neutralize the forces that are quietly still pushing
      for a march from Baghdad to Damascus in a second Bush term.

      Ali Abunimah is a co-founder of The Electronic Intifada. This article
      first appeared in The Daily Star.

      "The Enemy Within: The Neocon Hijacking of America"
      Manuel Valenzuela
      Axis of Logic


      Deep in the halls of Washington a putrid wind of sweeping ideology
      festers, swirling like a hurricane from the Atlantic seaboard,
      becoming a tornado in the frozen tundras of the Midwest, an
      impenetrable and monstrous fire wall consuming vast tracts of open
      expanse in the West and a sweltering drought drying up the nation s
      future. This phenomenon has engendered itself onto an American
      landscape that remains oblivious as to its dark and ominous designs
      for the country and the world. The neo-conservative movement it is
      called, an ideology fostered by a cabal of powerful and influential
      members of the establishment that today sit at or near the top of the
      White House, Pentagon, National Security Agency and State Department.
      Like a virus that was given new life, the once dormant group, for
      years denied the claws of power, suddenly awoke and spread through
      all levels of the US government with the appointment of George W.
      Bush in 2000. This cabal of Machiavelli and autocratic-style
      believers of power is now deeply entrenched in the highest positions
      of our government, determining policy and the direction our
      government and by consequence our nation is headed in.

      The names might sound familiar. Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul
      Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, John Bolton, James Woolsley, Lewis Libby,
      Jeb Bush, Richard Perle, Frank Gafney, William Kristol, Elliot
      Abrams, Robert Kagan and many, many others. Think tanks like the
      American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Project for a New
      American Century (PNAC) spew their ideology. Media such as Fox News
      and periodicals such as the Weekly Standard rant their propaganda.
      Like vultures waiting to feed off a dead carcass they surround the
      president, hissing commands and suggestions as to how the country
      will be run. This government behind the government is responsible for
      our quagmire in Iraq; it is responsible for our unilateralist foreign
      policy and our unyielding support for Ariel Sharon and the Israeli
      right-wing Likud Party. The neocons are responsible for alienating
      the world against us. Their agenda has usurped the interests and the
      goals of the people, the expertise and suggestions of Pentagon
      generals and analysts, the policy making ability of lifetime State
      Department brokers, CIA, NSA, DIA and other intelligence agencies
      findings and conclusions and the overall will of the world community.
      The cabal has since 2000 taken all the steps necessary to
      indoctrinate us to a new world order in their quest to impose a
      global ideology that is forever altering the future course of world

      September 11, 2001 will be the date history will remember in infamy
      as the day the world s landscape changed. It was the day the
      salivating neocons had been waiting for, gleefully licking their
      chops at the coming feast they knew awaited. 9/11 was the Pearl
      Harbor they needed in order to impose their twisted ideology of
      empire building through perpetual pre-emptive warfare onto the world.
      They now had a vulnerable and mourning population to begin molding.
      An American public that feared like never before was all too easy to
      manipulate. Seen on live TV by almost every American, from a plethora
      of camera angles, from beginning to end, 9-11 became the call to
      arms, the trumpet mobilizing both fear and patriotism onto a deeply
      affected populace. The corporate media shoved the horrors of that day
      down our throats for months on end through a constant bombardment of
      psychologically sensitive images and messages that ingrained in our
      minds the need to seek revenge through warfare. We had been attacked,
      and we now had to blindly follow the policy makers down the ever-
      widening road to Pax Americana.

      An enemy was designated and the bombing of mud-brick-shacks and stone-
      carrying-camels began. Ceaseless government and corporate media
      propaganda made sure we believed the enemy was dying in large
      numbers, that the Taliban and al Qaida were suffering and that we
      were winning the "war on terror." In fact, only ordinary Afghanis
      were suffering at the hands of the military industrial complex.
      Leveling to the ground a country that was already living in the Stone
      Age did not satisfy BushCo., however, and the neocon favorite bad guy
      and one time ally, Saddam Hussein, was put in the crosshairs of the
      war party machine.

      Hussein and Iraq had been on the scope of the neocon tentacles since
      the end of Gulf War I. They had unsuccessfully lobbied the Clinton
      Administration for a direct invasion of the beleaguered nation and
      with Bush they finally had a loyal puppet. With dilapidated, rusting
      and obsolete Soviet weaponry along with years of UN weapons
      inspections, combined with a decade of economic genocide that was UN
      sanctions, Saddam posed no substantial military threat in the region,
      much less to the US. Iraq was therefore an easy target of opportunity
      from which to launch the neocon vision of imperial supremacy.

      Seen as the easiest of wars to win, Iraq was conquered in short
      order, thereby assuring the US of a central strategic base of
      operations from which to control the Middle East and Central Asia.
      Government-insider neocons assured that government policymakers
      consented to the invasion both through pressure on intelligence
      analysts to synthesize only that intelligence seen as beneficial to
      the neocon strategy and through stovepiping intelligence directly to
      the top, thereby bypassing stricter channels of scrutiny. In the
      Pentagon, Douglas Feith s Office of Special Plans was put in charge
      of cherry-picking and cooking questionable intelligence, later sexing
      it up for the case against Iraq.

      Distortions, manipulation and propaganda was used in concert with the
      corporate media to inculcate into the American conscious the lies
      given as pretexts to invade Iraq. WMD s, freedom, imminent threat,
      nuclear capabilities, spawning democracy; all were excuses justifying
      the war, all were lies. But a drone-like citizenry absorbed it all
      and remained inert automatons of ignorance while the neocon onslaught
      was unleashed. An unjust war based on fear commenced. Fear was and
      still is the neocon s greatest weapon, and its use continues to
      assure allegiance from the masses that, even to their great
      detriment, remain willing supporters of the neoconartist policies.

      With the notion of empire comes the idea of resource control as a way
      to maintain US hegemony, and in Iraq the neocons, the military
      industrial complex and the American oil/energy cartel, all being
      heavily infiltrated inside the Bush Administration and throughout the
      corridors of government, saw the second largest oil reserves in the
      world. Control of these vital fields of black gold also meant control
      of world petroleum supplies, itself a form of economic control over
      the markets of the world. One needs look no further than Saudi Arabia
      and OPEC to see the power oil yields on the world stage. The US now
      has the ability to feed itself all the oil it wants and the ability
      to affect oil prices and output through its direct manipulation and
      control of any Iraqi puppet government. Iraqi oil can now feed the
      neocon/corporate oligarch war machine and subsidize its quest for

      In the case of Afghanistan, Bush s oil friends and the US government
      have for years dreamed of a pipeline that will run from the vast new
      oil fields in the Caspian Sea region through Afghanistan and into US-
      friendly Pakistan. Under almost-exclusive American control, these
      pipelines will yield substantial amounts of oil and gas. This
      geostrategic venture is designed to circumvent pipelines being built
      that traverse from Caspian Sea nations into Russia, China and non-
      ally Iran. These pipelines, if allowed to function out of the Central
      Asian oil fields, would become rivals to the US planned oil/gas
      extraction pipes running through Afghanistan. Without an American
      pipeline running through the backward nation, the US would be forced
      to pay higher prices for oil or gas from these rival or non-friendly
      nations and would also have no control over distribution supplies. It
      was imperative that a US pipeline be built.

      For US continued economic dominance, therefore, it was essential to
      create a US-friendly Afghanistan that would allow for the flow of oil
      and gas to run through its territory. In the year leading up to 9/11,
      both the Administration and oil industry had been in negotiations
      with the Taliban for such an investment. As such, the US appointed
      puppet, Hamid Karzai, was once a top advisor for Unocal, helping
      arrange an accord with the Taliban for building an American oil
      consortium pipeline (CentGas) through Afghanistan. When the Taliban
      balked at the negotiating table they were threatened with an already
      planned invasion of the country. Luckily for BushCo, 9/11 emerged,
      making it the perfect launching pad from which to initiate the neocon
      and oilgarchy s desired assaults on nations whose oil and strategic
      placements were needed for the their master plan of world domination.
      Today, an oil/gas pipeline is quickly being built in Afghanistan by
      an American oil consortium.

      A central tenet of the neocon dream of a Pax Americana was control of
      centrally-located Iraq where the US would eventually construct three
      to four permanent military bases, a process that is becoming a
      reality today. These bases will enable US hegemony throughout the
      region, including control of the now US-friendly Central Asian
      nations eager for American energy conglomerate investment. With Iraq
      s oil reserves safely in American hands, US military strength can
      now, like a hawk overlooking its territory, keep an ever-watchful eye
      on the Eurasian regions of most interest to the neocon agenda.

      The idea of a democratized Middle East, an important though illusory
      doctrine of the neocon ideology, was to begin with Iraq, which would
      act as a catalyst to the eventual domino effect expected throughout
      the region. That the idea of democracy in Iraq and the Arab world is
      but a hollow fallacy is of little importance to the neocon goals.
      Real democracy will never be allowed to prosper by Bush due to the
      threat of theological or fundamentalist elected mandates picked by
      the majority of the people. With the exponentially growing levels of
      anti-Americanism and anti-Israeli feelings running uncontrolled
      throughout the Muslim world, democracy will at the most mean the
      installation of cronies and puppets friendly to both the US and
      Israel under the guise of democracy. This plan assures American and
      Israeli control of the Middle East, forcing Arab nations to accept
      Israel s hegemony over the region. In reality, the mirage of
      democracy in the Middle East is but a propaganda tool being used to
      manipulate the population in the US into remaining passive believers
      of an otherwise surreptitious assault on world sovereignty.

      A central objective of the neocon agenda is increasing the power of
      Israel. Indeed, many of the so-called neocons have deep-seated
      connections, interests and relationships with the right-wing Likud
      party and with other Israeli fringe groups. Many are die-hard
      Zionists, true believers in Israeli hegemony over the Middle East, if
      not the world. From their government offices they direct US foreign
      policy in favor and in direction of Israel, supporting the Sharon
      government and assuring that US and Israeli interests are placed
      above that of the rest of the world. The attack on Iraq was in no
      small measure a war to defend Israel s interests, thereby helping it
      increase its power over the Middle East. A large part of the neocon
      vision for the Middle East is for the benefit of the Jewish state, to
      assure for its survival and expansion, if not territorially, then
      economically. This fact must not be forgotten: the neocons oftentimes
      place the interests of Israel and Likud ahead of those of the US. The
      rogue government is in many ways making us subservient to Israel s
      Likud party run by Ariel Sharon.

      Though not publicly discussed, the neocon/Likud vision for Israel may
      potentially include the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians into Syria
      or Jordan, thereby assuring Zionists of an Arab free Israel with
      sovereignty over the lands of "Judea and Samaria" that many Jews
      believe have been biblically promised them. With this diaspora of
      peoples might come a geopolitical shifting of borders and the
      creation of new nation states that would be less powerful and easier
      to control. Iraq, for example, might one day be split into three
      separate nations; one for Kurds, one for Shi a and one for the Sunni.
      Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria might also be reshuffled to suit
      American and Israeli interests.

      The next targets for the neocons, now being slowly inculcated into
      our consciousness, are Syria and Iran. These two nations would most
      likely be invaded in Bush s second term, thus increasing US and
      Israeli dominance over the Middle East. Under the guise of "fighting
      terrorism" in the continued "war on terror," both nations would be
      targeted and attacked after a massive propaganda campaign designed to
      incriminate both governments in the eyes of the masses. Once invaded,
      they will be installed with puppet regimes or monarchs friendly to
      both the US and Israel. The next stage in the imperial plan would
      thus be complete.

      Empire building, neocon style, entails the art of subverting all
      threats, perceived and real, present and future, that might rise to
      challenge US dominance. Among the future threats the neocon
      Machiavellis foresee in their magical fortune-telling crystal ball
      are those presented by China, Russia and the European Union. Inherent
      in the neocon daydream is the desire to undermine Eurasian economic
      development that combines the three powerful political entities
      mentioned above. The danger and very real worry concerning the cabal
      of crazies is that under their control no nation will be allowed to
      compete militarily, politically or economically with the United
      States. It means pre-emptive action against challenges and threats to
      US hegemony through military might and economic warfare. Even the
      sacred zenith that is space has been designated a new frontier for
      warfare. In the neocon world, only one power will be allowed to stand
      among the fraternity of nations, and that is the US. There can be no
      rivals, no close second. If a nation challenges, it will be dealt

      What we are witnessing is the creation by a group of autocrats an
      oligarchs of an unstable world order where the US will in essence
      have control of those nations and regions rich in natural resources
      that will be desperately needed for the continued growth of the
      economic engine and the corporate Leviathan that runs this country.
      With world resources such as oil and water being depleted more every
      year through our insatiable demand, the modernizing of China, India,
      Indonesia and Latin America and the continued increase in the world s
      population, dominant countries such as China and regions such as the
      European Union will increasingly compete with us for a share or
      indeed the entire pie of the unsustainable quantity of resources. To
      the neocons, this must not be allowed to come to fruition.

      The nation-state, with its invisible borders and self-serving
      interests, will force upon us a most ominous future. Given the
      destructive power of today s weapons, the technology at a country s
      disposal and the widening perversion and corruption of a nation s
      leaders through the demons inherent in capitalism, we find ourselves
      immersed in one of the most dangerous times in world history. We have
      entered a new mutated form of Cold war: the Greed War. The neocon
      unilateralist approach is widening our differences with the world,
      provoking an escalating arms race and a sprint to establish strategic
      base locations, a military presence and puppet regimes in those areas
      of the world that are increasingly seen as vital for the continued
      growth and prosperity of a country.

      Such is the case today with the Central Asian nations enveloping or
      near the Caspian Sea region. If not yet familiar with this region,
      you should. It is the next Middle East, but more volatile due to both
      the proximity and economic viability of Russia and China bordering it
      on the periphery. Its estimated oil reserves are right behind those
      of the Persian Gulf states and thus of extreme vital importance to
      today s dominant players. Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan,
      Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Georgia are all becoming part
      of the grand game of geopolitical chess being played out by the US,
      Russia, China and to a lesser extent the European Union. To the
      victor go the spoils, and with oil becoming a dwindling yet
      indispensable commodity, the tug of war between powers will only

      Today, the US already has strategic bases in several Central Asian
      countries. Leaders, including the ruthless Uzbekistan dictator, are
      being supported by the Bush Administration. Russia refuses to
      relinquish its old relationships with the former Soviet states, and
      has itself established a military presence in the area. With China s
      rapid economic growth and development and with an immense population
      that will demand more and more oil the further it modernizes, it is a
      safe bet that its interests are well represented in the region as
      well. European energy conglomerates are also deeply entrenched in the
      area. All of which leads to the conclusion that one day soon there
      will be a major conflagration between nations turned rivals. This,
      folks, is the future the neocons want to impose on us all.

      The example of Central Asia is but the most widely recognized but by
      no means the only one. Wars for unsustainable resources and for
      economic, monetary and military supremacy will be fought by our sons
      and daughters, thanks to our chickenhawk leaders who sit idly and
      apathetically as the future of those whose caste has forced upon them
      the destiny of fighting for the interests of the elite is forever
      vanquished. In wars to come, our zeal to kill will torch us all.
      Weapons evolve rapidly, becoming more sophisticated and lethal in
      quick spurts of time as technology advances. Unfortunately, humans do
      not. Our animal passions remain, taking tens of thousands of years to
      evolve, and while history s previous wars produced deaths mostly
      among those actively engaged in battle thanks to the primitiveness of
      our weaponry, that is no longer the case. Fiery storms of untamed
      energy can now obliterate the world many times over. The neocon
      future makes us all dead men walking.

      The new Rome, the new Caesars, the new legions and Praetorian guard,
      America s future under the neocons will resemble a fascist state run
      by a corporate oligarch that subverts democracy in favor of military
      control over our nation. Their actions abroad will give rise to more
      attacks at home, which will give them the excuse and reason to
      instill martial law, erasing both the Constitution and our freedoms
      while imposing terror and destruction onto the world. Hundreds of
      billions of dollars will be diverted away from education, healthcare
      and other important social services towards the military industrial
      complex and the perpetual war for empire. Our sons and daughters will
      be conscripted through the re-introduction of the draft to defend
      corporate America s vital interests throughout the world. Dangerously
      spreading ourselves like a gluttonous army of locusts gorging on all
      that is blooming, oppressing and exploiting both people and land,
      karmic hatred will one day return. Proctors will assure allegiance,
      armies will police the world. The neofascist dream will make easily
      expendable ants of us all.

      The hijacking of America that began in November 2000 and continued on
      9/11 has brought to the forefront of our government a cabal of
      miscreants, greedmongers, charlatans and fascists that is leading us
      down into the abominable vortex of self-destruction. We are
      ignorantly keeping in power an enemy lying in our wake that is
      commandeering US policy and leading us towards global war and
      revamped feudalism. Their ideologies are delusional in their grandeur
      and out of touch with a reality that escapes their arrogant and
      oligarchical minds. They are zealots, ideologues who see the world
      through distorted, clouded eyes, without sympathy or understanding
      for their fellow man, living a frivolous fantasy of deranged self-
      importance. Years of detachment have made them ignorant to the plight
      and reality of billions. The danger inherent in the close-knit rogue
      network is apparent in its actions and policies. Its sinister schemes
      that we are acquiescing to due to our indifference will come back to
      haunt us. The terror we help release on the world will boomerang back
      to our shores. Through our passivity our fate is being sealed. Our
      cherished freedoms and liberties are slowly evaporating into a mist
      of nothingness. The blueprint for the end to the American way of life
      is slowly and meticulously being executed by the enemy within.
      Therefore, at home is where the war on terror must begin.

      Manuel Valenzuela is an attorney, consultant, freelance writer and
      author of Echoes in the Wind, a novel that will be published in
      2004. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin and can be reached at

      Jeffrey Blankfort
      "The Israel Lobby and the Left"

      Jewish power has, in fact, been trumpeted by a number
      of Jewish writers, including one, J.J. Goldberg, editor of
      the Jewish weekly Forward, who wrote a book by that
      name in 1996. Any attempt however, to explore the issue
      from a critical standpoint inevitably leads to accusations
      of anti-Semitism, as Bill and Kathy Christison pointed out
      in their article on the role of right-wing Jewish neo-cons
      in orchestrating US Middle East policy, in CounterPunch

      "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."


      This is hardly the first time that Jews have been
      in the upper echelons of power, as Benjamin Ginsberg
      points out in The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State,
      but there has never been a situation anywhere like
      the present. This is how Ginsberg began his book:

      "Since the 1960s, Jews have come to wield considerable
      influence in American economic, cultural, intellectual and
      political life. Jews played a central role in American finance
      during the 1980s, and they were among the chief beneficiaries
      of that decade's corporate mergers and reorganizations.
      Today, though barely 2 % of the nation's population is
      Jewish, close to half its billionaires are Jews. The chief
      executive officers of the three major television networks
      and the four largest film studios are Jews, as are the owners
      of the nation's largest newspaper chain and the most
      influential single newspaper, the New York Times."

      That was written in 1993. Today, ten years later,
      ardently pro-Israel American Jews are in positions
      of unprecedented influence within the United States
      and have assumed or been given decision making positions
      over virtually every segment of our culture and body politic.
      This is no secret conspiracy. Regular readers of The New
      York Times business section, which reports the comings
      and goings of the media tycoons, are certainly aware of it.
      Is each and every tycoon a pro-Israel zealot? Not necessarily,
      but when one compares the US media with its European
      counterparts in their respective coverage of the Israel-
      Palestine conflict, the extreme bias in favor of Israel on
      the part of the US media is immediately apparent.


      A better explanation was provided by Stephen Green,
      whose Taking Sides: America's Secret Relations with
      Militant Israel was the first examination of State Department
      archives concerning US-Israel relations. Since the
      Eisenhower administration, wrote Green, in 1984,
      "Israel, and friends of Israel in America, have
      determined the broad outlines of US policy in
      the region. It has been left to American Presidents
      to implement that policy, with varying degrees of
      enthusiasm, and to deal with the tactical issues."

      An exaggeration, perhaps, but former US Senator
      James Abourezk (D-South Dakota) echoed Green's
      words in a speech before the American-Arab Anti-
      Discrimation Committee last June:

      "That is the state of American politics today.
      The Israeli lobby has put together so much
      money power that we are daily witnessing
      US senators and representatives bowing down
      low to Israel and its US lobby. Make no mistake.
      The votes and bows have nothing to do with the legislators'
      love for Israel. They have everything do to with the
      money that is fed into their campaigns by members
      of the Israeli lobby. My estimate is that at least $6
      billion flows from the American Treasury to Israel each
      year. That money, plus the political support the US
      gives Israel at the United Nations, is what allows
      Israel to conduct criminal operations in Palestine
      with impunity."

      That is a reality that has been expressed many
      times in many forms by ex-members of Congress,
      usually speaking off the record.

      Jeffrey Blankfort
      "The Israel Lobby and the Left"
      Published in:
      The Politics of Anti-Semitism
      Edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair
      CounterPunch and AK Press, 2003, pp. 101-106

      Short Cuts: Zionists Pressure Harvard

      Sara Roy

      Recently, at Harvard University where I am based, a Jewish student,
      using an assumed (gentile) name, began posting anti-semitic
      statements on the weblog of the Harvard Initiative for Peace and
      Justice, an anti-war, pro-Palestinian group on campus. The student,
      it turned out, is the secretary of Harvard Students for Israel -
      which dissociated itself from the incident - and had previously
      accused the HIPJ of being too tolerant of anti-semitism. He now went
      undercover as part of a self-appointed effort to monitor anti-
      semitism on campus. In one posting, for example, he referred to
      Israel as the 'AshkeNAZI state'. Incidents of this kind, which are
      becoming commonplace on American campuses, reflect a wider
      determination to monitor, report, defame and punish those
      individuals and institutions within academia whose views the right
      finds objectionable. The campaign is directed at area studies
      generally but the most virulent attacks are reserved for those of us
      in Middle Eastern studies whose ideas are considered anti-Israel,
      anti-semitic or anti-American.

      The relationship between Israel's hardline supporters and the 'Arab
      professoriat', as we have been called, has been tense for a long
      time. After 11September, the right accused Middle East academics in
      particular of extremist scholarship and intellectual treason.
      Defending Civilisation: How Our Universities Are Failing America and
      What Can Be Done about It, a report published in November 2001 by the
      American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a non-profit organisation
      founded by Lynne Cheney, wife of the vice-president, and Senator
      Joseph Lieberman, effectively accused the academy of being
      unpatriotic and anti-American, a fifth column providing intellectual
      support for global terrorism. In evidence it cited over a hundred
      statements by academics (and others) calling for a more critical
      examination of the causes of the events of 11 September and the role
      US foreign policy may have played.

      Another indictment of Middle East studies appeared in Martin Kramer's
      Ivory Towers on Sand: The Failure of Middle Eastern Studies in
      America, published in October 2001 by the pro-Israel Washington
      Institute for Near East Policy. Kramer, who teaches Arab history and
      politics at Tel Aviv University, claims that Middle East studies in
      the US are dominated - indeed, crippled - by pro-Arab and anti-
      American sentiment. The academy, he believes, failed to anticipate
      and may even have concealed the growing Islamist threat that
      resulted in the attack on the World Trade Center. Middle East
      studies, he claims, have devoted too much attention to historical and
      cultural subjects that are of no use to the state and its national
      security imperatives, and may even harm them.

      What is needed, he says, is a new approach to the study of the Middle
      East that has at its core 'the idea that the United States plays an
      essentially beneficent role in the world'.

      There is no let-up. September 2002 saw the establishment of Campus
      Watch, a website whose primary purpose is to monitor Middle Eastern
      studies faculty in departments across the US for signs of anti-
      American and anti-Israel bias. Campus Watch is the invention of
      Daniel Pipes, a colleague of Kramer's, and director of the Middle
      East Forum, a think-tank devoted to promoting American interests in
      the Middle East.

      'I want Noam Chomsky to be taught at universities about as much as I
      want Hitler's writing or Stalin's writing,' Pipes said to an
      interviewer. 'These are wild and extremist ideas that I believe have
      no place in a university.' Not only does Campus Watch monitor
      universities for signs of 'sedition', i.e. views on US foreign
      policy, Islam, Israeli policy and Palestinian rights that Pipes
      considers unacceptable; it encourages students to inform on
      professors whose ideas they find offensive. Recently, Bush appointed
      Pipes to the board of directors of the US Institute of Peace, 'an
      independent, non-partisan federal institution created by Congress to
      promote the prevention, management, and peaceful resolution of
      international conflicts'.

      Given that the political climate here is in good part determined by
      an alliance of right-wing supporters of Israel and members of the
      neo-conservative establishment, it isn't surprising that the attack
      on area studies may soon be enshrined in law. On 21 October last
      year, the House of Representatives passed the International Studies
      in Higher Education Act, HR 3077. The bill is part of the Higher
      Education Act reauthorisation known as Title VI, which dates back to
      1959 and mandates federal funding of international studies and
      foreign languages. Title VI renews international education and
      language-training programmes and has made several important
      improvements, but it also contains provisions that would impinge on
      curricula, faculty hiring and course materials in institutions that
      accept federal funding.

      A key figure behind HR 3077 is Stanley Kurtz, a research fellow at
      the Hoover Institution and an associate of Kramer and Pipes.
      Testifying before the House on 19 June 2003, Kurtz accused scholars
      of the Middle East and other areas of abusing Title VI support with
      their 'extreme and one-sided criticisms of American foreign policy'.
      He believes that the basic premise of post-colonial theory is
      that 'it is immoral for a scholar to put his knowledge of foreign
      languages and cultures at the service of American power' and cites
      Edward Said's work in this area as the most pernicious. Kurtz's
      testimony was accepted by Congress without debate and many of his
      recommendations for 'repairing' the damage were adopted by the House.

      Potentially the most onerous of these recommendations is the
      establishment of an international higher education advisory board to
      ensure that government-funded programmes 'reflect diverse
      perspectives and the full range of views on world regions, foreign
      languages and international affairs'. The board would have seven
      members: three appointed by the secretary of education, of whom
      two will 'represent federal agencies that have national security
      responsibilities'; two appointed by the speaker of the House of
      Representatives; and two by the president pro tempore of the Senate.
      One of the board's functions will be to recommend ways 'to improve
      programmes . . . to better reflect the national needs related to
      homeland security'.

      The board's recommendations will not be subject to review or approval
      by any officer of the federal government, including the secretary of
      education. And, although the bill states that the board is not
      authorised to 'mandate, direct or control an institution of higher
      education's specific instructional content, curriculum or programme
      of instruction', it is authorised 'to study, monitor, apprise and
      evaluate' a sample of activities supported under Title VI. Which
      amounts to the same thing: unprecedented federally mandated intrusion
      into the content and conduct of university-based area studies

      There is a great deal at stake for American higher education and
      academic freedom. If HR 3077 becomes law - the Senate will review the
      bill next - it will create a board that monitors how closely
      universities reflect government policy. Since the legislation assumes
      that any flaw lies 'with the experts, not the policy', the government
      could be given the power to introduce politically sympathetic voices
      into the academic mainstream and to reshape the boundaries of
      academic inquiry. Institutional resistance would presumably be
      punished by the withdrawal of funds, which would be extremely
      damaging to Middle East centres especially.

      HR 3077 contains other provisions that are equally outrageous. For
      example, it requires Title VI institutions to provide government
      recruiters with access to students and student recruiting
      information. The bill even directs the secretary of education and the
      advisory board to study - i.e. spy on - communities of US citizens
      who speak a foreign language, 'particularly such communities that
      include speakers of languages that are critical to the national
      security of the United States'.

      What all this boils down to is an attempt to silence criticism of US
      policy, and put an end to disagreement with the neo-conservative
      agenda. It is not diversity that is being sought but conformity.
      Sara Roy is a senior research scholar at Harvard's Center for Middle
      Eastern Studies and the author of several works on the Palestinian-
      Israeli conflict.

      London Review of Book, Vol. 26 No. 7 dated 1 April 2004



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