Paul Findley: America Lost Her Independence
- FORMER REP. BLASTS FOREIGN GRIP ON CONGRESS
America lost her independence the day the attack on Liberty was
By Paul Findley
In the greatest service of his long public life, former President
Jimmy Carter warns of the grave consequences of America's phenomenal
subservience to Israel. In his latest book and recent lectures, he
focuses on how Israel's cruel occupation, made possible by massive and
unconditional U.S. support, has subjected the Palestinian people to
terrible suffering for 40 long years.
Beyond that grave human tragedy, candid observers must cite U.S.
complicity in Israeli lawlessness as the major factor that prompted
the horror of 9-11 and lured America into launching three costly,
wrong-headed and failing warsAfghanistan, Iraq and the war on terror.
The linkage is easily identified. America's support of Israel's
brutality was the main motivation for 9-11. Nine-eleven would not have
happened if any U.S. president in the last 40 years had refused to
finance Israel's humiliation and destruction of Palestine.
Michael Scheuer, a former CIA analyst now a consultant to CBS News,
recently told a congressional committee that "our unqualified support
of Israel" was the main reason for 9/11. Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni,
President George W. Bush's first special envoy to the Middle East, has
stated that the United States invaded Iraq for Israel and oil.
The U.S. acts of war in Afghanistan and the war on terror were
President Bush's retaliation for 9-11Israel and only Israelurged the
United States to invade Iraq. Israel's lobby in Washington pushed hard
Despite this grim record, U.S. subservience to the wishes of Israel's
leaders does not change. Israel is the only nation urging the United
States to attack Iran. The lobby is pushing hard again. If the United
States assaults Iran it will be on Israel's behalf.
Congress, like the rest of America, is totally devoid of debate on the
amazing role of this small nation in critical U.S. policy. Members are
fulsome in public praise of the Jewish state, but no politician
mentions the illegal behavior of Israel or the staggering burden it
imposes on our country.
How did Israel gain this influence?
It all started 40 years ago. On June 8, 1967, the U.S. commander in
chief, President Lyndon B. Johnson, turned his back on the crew of a
U.S. Navy ship, the USS Liberty, despite the fact that the ship was
under deadly assault by Israel's air and sea forces. The Israelis were
engaged in an ugly scheme to lure America into their war against Arab
states. They tried to destroy the Liberty and its entire crew, then
pin the blame on the Arabs. This, they reasoned, would outrage the
American people and immediately lead the United States to join
Israel's battle against Arabs.
The scheme almost worked. It failed because, despite the carefully
planned multipronged assault, the Liberty crew managed to broadcast an
SOS over a makeshift antenna. When the appeal reached U.S. aircraft
carriers nearby, the commanders immediately launched fighter planes to
defend the ship.
Informed of the launch, President Johnson ordered the rescue planes to
turn back immediately.
For the first time in history, forces of the U.S. Navy were denied the
right to defend a Navy ship under attack. Johnson said, "I don't care
if the ship sinks, I am not going to embarrass an ally." Those were
his exact words, heard by Navy personnel listening to radio relays.
The ally Johnson refused to embarrass was Israel. When the SOS reached
the top military commanders in Israel, they immediately canceled the
assault, claiming it was a case of mistaken identity. At the White
House, Johnson accepted Israel's claim, even though he knew it was a
lie. Then Johnson magnified the day's infamy by ordering a coverup of
the truth. Liberty survivors were sworn to secrecy. Even those in
hospital beds and badly wounded were threatened with court martial if
they told anyone what actually happened. The coverup has been
continued by every administration since Johnson's.
It proved to be a fateful turning point in Israel's power over U.S.
foreign policy. The Liberty experience convinced Israeli officials
that they could get by with literally anythingeven the murder of U.S.
sailorsin their manipulation of the U.S. government. Financial aid to
Israel began to pour like a river, all of it with no strings attached.
According to The Christian Science Monitor, this outpouring has now
cost U.S. taxpayers more than
Costs go far beyond money. Thousands of American families are blighted
forever, with America's once high moral standing in shambles. Because
of its unqualified support of Israel, Washington is hated worldwide as
The principal source of Israel's influence is the fear it seems to
instill in every sector of our society. The most effective instrument
of intimidation employed by its lobby is the reckless accusation of
anti-Semitism, often leveled at anyone criticizing any aspect of
I can personally certify that for many years it has cast a blanket of
fear over Capitol Hill and blocked any semblance of debate.
I unintentionally contributed to that fear in 1985 when my book, They
Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby,
was published. It reports in detail the efficiency of Israel's U.S.
lobby, its history and tactics.
My book became a bestseller. I hoped it would inspire public officials
and other citizens to revolt against the lobby's influence on U.S.
policy, but several of my former colleagues told me it had the
opposite effect. One said, "After what AIPAC did to you and (Charles)
Percy, I vote with the lobby every time."
Israel's grip on America seems impervious. Two distinguished political
scientists, John Mearshiemer of the University of Chicago and Stephen
Walt of Harvard, strode resolutely into the Middle East minefield a
year ago by co-authoring a paper on Israel's lobby. More recently,
Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, a book written by former President
Carter, revered worldwide for his effective work on international
conflict resolution, was published.
With few exceptions, America's major editors, producers, commentators,
academics and politicians have given these courageous initiatives the
silent treatment. Nationwide, the lobby's influence is pervasive,
sustained and deep, a phenomenon unprecedented in U.S. history. It is
impossible to explain the silence except as a reflection of profound fear.
The situation is highly dangerous. America has already paid a towering
price for our subservience to Israel, and great additional burdens
seem inevitable. If the United States is involved in acts of war
against Iran, anti-American protest will rise to new heights,
especially throughout the Islamic world. It will inevitably deepen the
widely held belief among Muslims that America seeks to undermine Islam.
The outlook for reform is grim. Elected officials of both major
political parties in Washington seem hopelessly captured by Israel's
agents. So does every serious candidate for the presidency in 2008.
All U.S. citizens must accept a measure of responsibility for Israel's
grip on America. Those of us who knew what was happening did not
protest with sufficient force and clarity. Those who did not know
should have taken their responsibility as citizens more seriously.
They should have informed themselves.
The scene is likely to improve only if U.S. elected officials are
criticized so forthrightly from home that they fear a constituent
revolt more than they fear Israel's lobby. This, of course, will not
happen until the countryside benefits from a rigorous and edifying
public debate about Israel's role in our national life.
Paul Findley, a U.S. representative from Illinois from 1961-83, lives
in Jacksonville, Fla. He is the author of five books, including the
Washington Post seven-week bestseller, They Dare to Speak Out: People
and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby, Chicago Review Press.
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