Nye & Abramoff: soft justice
- Congressman Nye and Lobbyist Abramoff: soft justice
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD*
Why did the US Justice Department enter into an agreement with
discredited Congressman Bob Ney even when they already struck a plea
agreement with the guy who bribed him, Jack Abramoff? And why did
many mainstream media outlets ignore the most crucial facts of this
We do know that Abramoff established scam operations to take in lobby
money and spend it as he saw fit. The "Capitol Athletic Foundation"
took in $6 million for "needy and deserving" sportsmanship programs.
But it used less than 1 percent of its revenue on such programs.
Native American leaders contributed millions to the foundation. In
2002, the Foundation reported it had given away more than $330,000 in
grants to four organizations that said they never received the money.
Instead, Abramoff used the organization for his pet projects. These
included over $4 million to a Jewish school allied with the Zionist
movement, $248,742 for Abramoff's house in Silver Spring, and hundreds
of thousands for sniper training of extremist and illegal Israeli
colonial settlers living on Palestinian land. Ironically, Native
Americans were defrauded into funding oppression and colonization of
other native people. Abramoff also used his influence with Congressman
Bob Ney to get a government contract worth $3 million for an obscure
Israeli security company.
That these details are not mentioned in most media outlets perhaps
gives us clues as to why Abramoff and Nye got off the hook so easily
despite overwhelming evidence of corruption and graft. After all, it
is the same Justice Department that refuses to implement US law with
regard to lobbying for foreign powers in the case of the Israel lobby.
Public trials in both cases would expose the US public to the
uncomfortable facts of the detrimental impact of the Israeli lobby on
US foreign policy. That this is true can be seen from the hysterical
reaction to the research paper on the Israeli lobby by two respected
professors at Harvard and the University of Chicago. What Mearsheimer
and Walt stated is not any secret or heresy; it is in fact something
well known inside the beltway. Fortune magazine has consistently
rated AIPAC in the top 5 lobbies in the capitol. The harmful power of
the lobby was widely critiqued by chorus of Americans beyond the
academic circles. Examples included General Anthony Zinni and many
other retired generals, Congressman and Senators (e.g. Senator
Fullbright, Congressman Paul Findley), and survivors of the
Israeli-attacked USS Liberty (the lobby managed to prevent further
inquiry even after new evidence emerged in 2003, see
http://www.ussliberty.org/). But the circle of those calling for
reexamination of this "special relationship" with Israel is growing.
Many governments are finally saying enough is enough and the votes in
the UN General Assembly on Israel are telling (in most cases, 150-160
countries voted for human rights and International law against the
isolated US and Israeli rejectionist policies). At the civil society
level, campaigns of boycotts, divestments and sanctions on Israel are
growing. US citizens are also fed up with the hemorrhaging of
hundreds of billions of our taxes to support occupations in Iraq and
Palestine. Many are now realizing that there are really two possible
outcomes to this struggle: the Zionists and their allies in
governments and the media can succeed OR fail in the short-run in
maintaining fear and racism to support theft of lands and natural
resources. If they succeed in the short run, the long term outlook is
catastrophic: Americans would continue to die serving Zionist special
interests, extremism and tribalism would flourish, and the US economy
and perhaps the world economy would be dragged down with endless wars
to support the exclusivist Zionist ideology.
The more optimistic scenario is that America shakes loose from the
lobbyists' grip and embraces International law and human rights for
all. Americans, Palestinians, Israelis, and others will then be able
to shape a world not separated by physical or psychological apartheid
walls; i.e. a post-Zionist world. It was possible in Apartheid South
Africa despite decades of animosity and hate and it is possible here too.
*Dr. Qumsiyeh is communication director for the Palestinian American
Congress and is author of "Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights
and the Israeli-Palestinian struggle" (Pluto Press).