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We Control America - and Iraq - and they know it

Who are the winners?

They are the so-called neo-cons, or neo-conservatives. A compact group, almost all of whose members are Jewish. They hold the key positions in the Bush administration, as well as in the think-tanks that play an important role in formulating American policy and the ed-op pages of the influential newspapers.
The Night After
The Easier the Victory, the Harder the Peace
By URI AVNERY

It is now fashionable to talk about "the day after". Let's talk about the night after.

After the end of hostilities in Iraq, the world will be faced with two decisive facts:

First, the immense superiority of American arms can beat any people in the world, valiant as it may be.

Second, the small group that initiated this war--an alliance of Christian fundamentalists and Jewish neo-conservatives--has won big, and from now on it will control Washington almost without limits.

The combination of these two facts constitutes a danger to the world, and especially to the Middle East, the Arab peoples and the future of Israel. Because this alliance is the enemy of peaceful solutions, the enemy of the Arab governments, the enemy of the Palestinian people and especially the enemy of the Israeli peace camp.

It does not dream only about an American empire, in the style of the Roman one, but also of an Israeli mini-empire, under the control of the extreme right and the settlers. It wants to change the regimes in all Arab countries. It will cause permanent chaos in the region, the consequences of which it is impossible to foresee.

Its mental world consists of a mixture of ideological fervor and crass material interests, an exaggerated American patriotism and right-wing Zionism.

That is a dangerous mixture. There is in it something of the spirit of Ariel Sharon, a man who has always had grandiose plans for changing the region, consisting of a mixture of creative imagination, unbridled chauvinism and a primitive faith in brute force.

Who are the winners?

They are the so-called neo-cons, or neo-conservatives. A compact group, almost all of whose members are Jewish. They hold the key positions in the Bush administration, as well as in the think-tanks that play an important role in formulating American policy and the ed-op pages of the influential newspapers.

For many years, this was a marginal group that fostered a right-wing agenda in all fields. They fought against abortion, homosexuality, pornography and drugs. When Binyamin Netanyahu assumed power in Israel, they offered him advise on how to fight the Arabs.

Their big moment arrived with the collapse of the Twin Towers. The American public and politicians were in a state of shock, completely disoriented, unable to understand a world that had changed overnight. The neo-cons were the only group with a ready explanation and a solution. Only nine days after the outrage, William Kristol (the son of the group's founder, Irving Kristol) published an Open Letter to President Bush, asserting that it was not enough to annihilate the network of Osama bin Laden, but that it was also imperative to "remove Saddam Hussein from power" and to "retaliate" against Syria and Iran for supporting Hizbullah.

Following is a short list of the main characters. (If it bores you, skip to the next section).

The Open Letter was published in the Weekly Standard, founded by Kristol with the money of ultra-right press mogul Rupert Murdoch, who donated $ 10 million to the cause. It was signed by 41 leading neo-cons, including Norman Podhoretz, a Jewish former leftist who has become an extreme right-wing icon, editor of the prestigious Encounter magazine, and his wife, Midge Decter, also a writer, Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Studies, Robert Kagan, also of the Weekly Standard, Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post, and, of course, Richard Perle.

Perle is a central character in this play. Until recently he was the chairman of the Defense Policy Board of the Defense Department, which also includes Eliot Cohen and Devon Cross. Perle is a director of the Jerusalem Post, now owned by extreme right-wing Zionists. In the past he was an aide to Senator Henry Jackson, who led the fight against the Soviet Union on behalf of the Jews who wanted to leave. He is a leading member of the influential right-wing American Enterprise Institute. Lately he was obliged to resign from his Defense Department position, when it became known that a private corporation had promised to pay him almost a million dollars for he benefit of his influence in the administration.

That Open Letter was, in effect, the beginning of the Iraq war. It was eagerly received by the Bush administration, with members of the group already firmly established in some of its leading positions. Paul Wolfowitz, the father of the war, is No. 2 in the Defense Department, where another friend of Perle's, Douglas Feith, heads the Pentagon Planning Board. John Bolton is State Department Undersecretary. Eliot Abrams, responsible for the Middle East in the National Security Council, was connected with the Iran-Contra-Israel scandal. The main hero of the scandal, Oliver North, sits in the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, together with Michael Ledeen, another hero of the scandal. Headvocates total war not only against Iraq, but also against Israel's other enemies, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority. Dov Zakheim is comptroller for the Defense Department.

Most of these people , together with Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, are associated with the "Project for the New American Century", which published a White Paper in 2002, with the aim 'to preserve and enhance this 'American peace'"--meaning American control of the world.

Meyrav Wurmser (Meyrav is a chic new Israeli first name) is Director of the Center for Middle East Policy at the Hudson Institute. She also writes for the Jerusalem Post and is co-founder of the Middle East Media Research Institute that is, according to the London Guardian, connected with Israeli Army Intelligence. MEMRI feeds the media and politicians with highly selective quotations from extreme Arab publications. Meyrav's husband, Davis Wurmser, is at Perle's American Enterprise Institute, heading Middle East Studies. Mention should also be made of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy of our old acquaintance, Dennis Ross, who for years was in charge of the "peace process" in the Middle East.

In all the important papers there are people close to the group, such as William Safire, a man hypnotized by Sharon, in the New York Times and Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post. Another Perle friend, Robert Bartley, is the editor of the Wall Street Journal.

If the speeches of Bush and Cheney often sound as if they came from the lips of Sharon, one of the reasons may be that their speechwriters, Joseph Shattan, Mathew Scully and John McConnell, are neo-cons, as is Cheneys Chief-of-Staff, Lewis Libby.

The immense influence of this largely Jewish group stems from its close alliance with the extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalists, who nowadays control Bush's Republican party. The founding fathers were Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority, who once got a jet plane as a present from Menachem Begin, and Pat Robertson of the Christian Coalition and the Christian Broadcasting Network, which help to finance the Christian Embassy in Jerusalem of J.W. van der Hoeven, an outfit that supports the settlers and their right-wing allies.

Common to both groups is their adherence to the fanatical ideology of the extreme right in Israel. They see the Iraq war as a struggle between the Children of Light (America and Israel) and the Children of Darkness (the Arabs and Muslims).

By the way, none of these facts are secret. They have been published lately in dozens of articles, both in American and world media. The members of the group are proud of them.

The Zionist general.

The man who symbolizes this victory is General Jay Garner, who has just been appointed chief of the civilian administration in Iraq.

He is no anonymous general who has been picked accidentally. Garner is the ideological partner of Paul Wolfowitz and the neo-cons.

Two years ago he signed, together with 26 other officers, a petition organized by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, lauding the Israeli Army for "remarkable restraint in the face of lethal violence orchestrated by the leadership of the Palestinian Authority," which is certainly news to the Israeli peace forces. He also stated that "a strong Israel is an asset that American military planners and political leaders can rely on."

In the first Gulf War he praised the performance of the Patriot missiles, which had failed miserably. After leaving the army in 1997, he became, not surprisingly, a defense contractor specializing in missiles. It was alleged that he landed non-competitive Pentagon contracts. This year he obtained a defense contract for $ 1.5 billion, as well as a contract for building Patriot systems in Israel.

Therefore, there can be no better candidate for the job of chief of the civilian administration in Iraq, especially at a time when contracts for billions of dollars for reconstruction have to be handed out, to be paid for by Iraqi oil.

A new Balfour declaration.

The ideology of this group, that calls for an American world-empire as well as for a Greater Israel, reminds one of bygone days.

The Balfour declaration of 1917, that promised the Jews a homeland in Palestine, had two parents. The mother was Christian Zionism (among whose adherents were illustrious statesmen like Lord Palmerston and Lord Shaftesbury, long before the foundation of the Zionist movement), the father was British imperialism. The Zionist idea allowed the British to crowd out their French competitors and take possession of Palestine, which was needed to safeguard the Suez Canal and the shorter sea route to India.

Now the same thing is happening again. Last year Richard Perle organized a briefing in which a speaker proposed war not only on Iraq, but on Saudi Arabia and Egypt as well, in order to secure the world's oil heartland. Iraq, he asserted, was only the pivot. One of the justifications for this design is the need to defend Israel.

To bet on our life?

Seemingly, all this is good for Israel. America controls the world, we control America. Never before have Jews exerted such an immense influence on the center of world power.

But this tendency troubles me. We are like a gambler, who bets all his money and his future on one horse. A good horse, a horse with no current competitor, but still one horse.

The neo-cons will cause a long period of chaos in the Arab and Muslim world. The Iraqi war has already shown that their understanding of Arab realities is shaky. Their political assumptions did not stand the test, only brute force saved their undertaking.

Some day the Americans will go home, but we shall remain here. We have to live with the Arab peoples. Chaos in the Arab world endangers our future.

Wolfowitz and Co. may dream about a democratic, liberal, Zionist and America-loving Middle East, but the result of their adventures may well turn out to be a fanatical and fundamentalist region that will threaten our very existence.

The partnership of the neo-cons and the Christian fundamentalists may engender counter-forces in Washington. And if Bush is defeated in the next election, like his father after his victory in the first Gulf War, this whole gang will be thrown out.

The Bible tells us about the kings of Judea, who relied on the then world power, Egypt. They did not appreciate the rise of forces in the east, Assyria and Babylon. An Assyrian general told the king of Judea: "Behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised reed, upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his hand and pierce it." (II kings 18, 21).

Bush and his gang of neo-cons is not a bruised reed. Far from it, he is now a very strong reed. But should we bet our whole future on this?

Uri Avnery is an Israeli journalist. His essays are included in The Other Israel: Voices of Refusal and Dissent.

 http://www.counterpunch.org/avnery04102003.html
ok... 11.Apr.2003 01:29

steve

and their being Jewish has what to do with anything?

to 'steve'--Read, and Learn. 11.Apr.2003 03:08

hellooooo, 'steve' . . . yoo-hoo . . .

Heads UP, 'steve': Uri Avnery is an Israeli journalist.

This article can be found on the web at
 http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20020902&s=vest
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Men From JINSA and CSP
by JASON VEST

[from the September 2, 2002 issue]

Almost thirty years ago, a prominent group of neoconservative hawks found an effective vehicle for advocating their views via the Committee on the Present Danger, a group that fervently believed the United States was a hair away from being militarily surpassed by the Soviet Union, and whose raison d'être was strident advocacy of bigger military budgets, near-fanatical opposition to any form of arms control and zealous championing of a Likudnik Israel. Considered a marginal group in its nascent days during the Carter Administration, with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 CPD went from the margins to the center of power.

Just as the right-wing defense intellectuals made CPD a cornerstone of a shadow defense establishment during the Carter Administration, so, too, did the right during the Clinton years, in part through two organizations: the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the Center for Security Policy (CSP). And just as was the case two decades ago, dozens of their members have ascended to powerful government posts, where their advocacy in support of the same agenda continues, abetted by the out-of-government adjuncts from which they came. Industrious and persistent, they've managed to weave a number of issues--support for national missile defense, opposition to arms control treaties, championing of wasteful weapons systems, arms aid to Turkey and American unilateralism in general--into a hard line, with support for the Israeli right at its core.

On no issue is the JINSA/CSP hard line more evident than in its relentless campaign for war--not just with Iraq, but "total war," as Michael Ledeen, one of the most influential JINSAns in Washington, put it last year. For this crew, "regime change" by any means necessary in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority is an urgent imperative. Anyone who dissents--be it Colin Powell's State Department, the CIA or career military officers--is committing heresy against articles of faith that effectively hold there is no difference between US and Israeli national security interests, and that the only way to assure continued safety and prosperity for both countries is through hegemony in the Middle East--a hegemony achieved with the traditional cold war recipe of feints, force, clientism and covert action.

For example, the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board--chaired by JINSA/CSP adviser and former Reagan Administration Defense Department official Richard Perle, and stacked with advisers from both groups--recently made news by listening to a briefing that cast Saudi Arabia as an enemy to be brought to heel through a number of potential mechanisms, many of which mirror JINSA's recommendations, and which reflect the JINSA/CSP crowd's preoccupation with Egypt. (The final slide of the Defense Policy Board presentation proposed that "Grand Strategy for the Middle East" should concentrate on "Iraq as the tactical pivot, Saudi Arabia as the strategic pivot [and] Egypt as the prize.") Ledeen has been leading the charge for regime change in Iran, while old comrades like Andrew Marshall and Harold Rhode in the Pentagon's Office of Net Assessment actively tinker with ways to re-engineer both the Iranian and Saudi governments. JINSA is also cheering the US military on as it tries to secure basing rights in the strategic Red Sea country of Eritrea, happily failing to mention that the once-promising secular regime of President Isaiais Afewerki continues to slide into the kind of repressive authoritarianism practiced by the "axis of evil" and its adjuncts.

Indeed, there are some in military and intelligence circles who have taken to using "axis of evil" in reference to JINSA and CSP, along with venerable repositories of hawkish thinking like the American Enterprise Institute and the Hudson Institute, as well as defense contractors, conservative foundations and public relations entities underwritten by far-right American Zionists (all of which help to underwrite JINSA and CSP). It's a milieu where ideology and money seamlessly blend: "Whenever you see someone identified in print or on TV as being with the Center for Security Policy or JINSA championing a position on the grounds of ideology or principle--which they are unquestionably doing with conviction--you are, nonetheless, not informed that they're also providing a sort of cover for other ideologues who just happen to stand to profit from hewing to the Likudnik and Pax Americana lines," says a veteran intelligence officer. He notes that while the United States has begun a phaseout of civilian aid to Israel that will end by 2007, government policy is to increase military aid by half the amount of civilian aid that's cut each year--which is not only a boon to both the US and Israeli weapons industries but is also crucial to realizing the far right's vision for missile defense and the Middle East.

Founded in 1976 by neoconservatives concerned that the United States might not be able to provide Israel with adequate military supplies in the event of another Arab-Israeli war, over the past twenty-five years JINSA has gone from a loose-knit proto-group to a $1.4-million-a-year operation with a formidable array of Washington power players on its rolls. Until the beginning of the current Bush Administration, JINSA's board of advisers included such heavy hitters as Dick Cheney, John Bolton (now Under Secretary of State for Arms Control) and Douglas Feith, the third-highest-ranking executive in the Pentagon. Both Perle and former Director of Central Intelligence James Woolsey, two of the loudest voices in the attack-Iraq chorus, are still on the board, as are such Reagan-era relics as Jeane Kirkpatrick, Eugene Rostow and Ledeen--Oliver North's Iran/contra liaison with the Israelis.

According to its website, JINSA exists to "educate the American public about the importance of an effective US defense capability so that our vital interests as Americans can be safeguarded" and to "inform the American defense and foreign affairs community about the important role Israel can and does play in bolstering democratic interests in the Mediterranean and the Middle East." In practice, this translates into its members producing a steady stream of op-eds and reports that have been good indicators of what the Pentagon's civilian leadership is thinking.

JINSA relishes denouncing virtually any type of contact between the US government and Syria and finding new ways to demonize the Palestinians. To give but one example (and one that kills two birds with one stone): According to JINSA, not only is Yasir Arafat in control of all violence in the occupied territories, but he orchestrates the violence solely "to protect Saddam.... Saddam is at the moment Arafat's only real financial supporter.... [Arafat] has no incentive to stop the violence against Israel and allow the West to turn its attention to his mentor and paymaster." And if there's a way to advance other aspects of the far-right agenda by intertwining them with Israeli interests, JINSA doesn't hesitate there, either. A recent report contends that the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge must be tapped because "the Arab oil-producing states" are countries "with interests inimical to ours," but Israel "stand[s] with us when we need [Israel]," and a US policy of tapping oil under ANWR will "limit [the Arabs'] ability to do damage to either of us."

The bulk of JINSA's modest annual budget is spent on taking a bevy of retired US generals and admirals to Israel, where JINSA facilitates meetings between Israeli officials and the still-influential US flag officers, who, upon their return to the States, happily write op-eds and sign letters and advertisements championing the Likudnik line. (Sowing seeds for the future, JINSA also takes US service academy cadets to Israel each summer and sponsors a lecture series at the Army, Navy and Air Force academies.) In one such statement, issued soon after the outbreak of the latest intifada, twenty-six JINSAns of retired flag rank, including many from the advisory board, struck a moralizing tone, characterizing Palestinian violence as a "perversion of military ethics" and holding that "America's role as facilitator in this process should never yield to America's responsibility as a friend to Israel," as "friends don't leave friends on the battlefield."

However high-minded this might sound, the postservice associations of the letter's signatories--which are almost always left off the organization's website and communiqués--ought to require that the phrase be amended to say "friends don't leave friends on the battlefield, especially when there's business to be done and bucks to be made." Almost every retired officer who sits on JINSA's board of advisers or has participated in its Israel trips or signed a JINSA letter works or has worked with military contractors who do business with the Pentagon and Israel. While some keep a low profile as self-employed "consultants" and avoid mention of their clients, others are less shy about their associations, including with the private mercenary firm Military Professional Resources International, weapons broker and military consultancy Cypress International and SY Technology, whose main clients include the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, which oversees several ongoing joint projects with Israel.

The behemoths of military contracting are also well represented in JINSA's ranks. For example, JINSA advisory board members Adm. Leon Edney, Adm. David Jeremiah and Lieut. Gen. Charles May, all retired, have served Northrop Grumman or its subsidiaries as either consultants or board members. Northrop Grumman has built ships for the Israeli Navy and sold F-16 avionics and E-2C Hawkeye planes to the Israeli Air Force (as well as the Longbow radar system to the Israeli army for use in its attack helicopters). It also works with Tamam, a subsidiary of Israeli Aircraft Industries, to produce an unmanned aerial vehicle. Lockheed Martin has sold more than $2 billion worth of F-16s to Israel since 1999, as well as flight simulators, multiple-launch rocket systems and Seahawk heavyweight torpedoes. At one time or another, General May, retired Lieut. Gen. Paul Cerjan and retired Adm. Carlisle Trost have labored in LockMart's vineyards. Trost has also sat on the board of General Dynamics, whose Gulfstream subsidiary has a $206 million contract to supply planes to Israel to be used for "special electronics missions."

By far the most profitably diversified of the JINSAns is retired Adm. David Jeremiah. President and partner of Technology Strategies & Alliances Corporation (described as a "strategic advisory firm and investment banking firm engaged primarily in the aerospace, defense, telecommunications and electronics industries"), Jeremiah also sits on the boards of Northrop Grumman's Litton subsidiary and of defense giant Alliant Techsystems, which--in partnership with Israel's TAAS--does a brisk business in rubber bullets. And he has a seat on the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, chaired by Perle.

About the only major defense contractor without a presence on JINSA's advisory board is Boeing, which has had a relationship with Israeli Aircraft Industries for thirty years. (Boeing also sells F-15s to Israel and, in partnership with Lockheed Martin, Apache attack helicopters, a ubiquitous weapon in the occupied territories.) But take a look at JINSA's kindred spirit in things pro-Likud and pro-Star Wars, the Center for Security Policy, and there on its national security advisory council are Stanley Ebner, a former Boeing executive; Andrew Ellis, vice president for government relations; and Carl Smith, a former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee who, as a lawyer in private practice, has counted Boeing among his clients. "JINSA and CSP," says a veteran Pentagon analyst, "may as well be one and the same."

Not a hard sell: There's always been considerable overlap beween the JINSA and CSP rosters--JINSA advisers Jeane Kirkpatrick, Richard Perle and Phyllis Kaminsky also serve on CSP's advisory council; current JINSA advisory board chairman David Steinmann sits on CSP's board of directors; and before returning to the Pentagon Douglas Feith served as the board's chair. At this writing, twenty-two CSP advisers--including additional Reagan-era remnants like Elliott Abrams, Ken deGraffenreid, Paula Dobriansky, Sven Kraemer, Robert Joseph, Robert Andrews and J.D. Crouch--have reoccupied key positions in the national security establishment, as have other true believers of more recent vintage.

While CSP boasts an impressive advisory list of hawkish luminaries, its star is Frank Gaffney, its founder, president and CEO. A protégé of Perle going back to their days as staffers for the late Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson (a k a the Senator from Boeing, and the Senate's most zealous champion of Israel in his day), Gaffney later joined Perle at the Pentagon, only to be shown the door by Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci in 1987, not long after Perle left. Gaffney then reconstituted the latest incarnation of the Committee on the Present Danger. Beyond compiling an A-list of influential conservative hawks, Gaffney has been prolific over the past fifteen years, churning out a constant stream of reports (as well as regular columns for the Washington Times) making the case that the gravest threats to US national security are China, Iraq, still-undeveloped ballistic missiles launched by rogue states, and the passage of or adherence to virtually any form of arms control treaty.

Gaffney and CSP's prescriptions for national security have been fairly simple: Gut all arms control treaties, push ahead with weapons systems virtually everyone agrees should be killed (such as the V-22 Osprey), give no quarter to the Palestinians and, most important, go full steam ahead on just about every national missile defense program. (CSP was heavily represented on the late-1990s Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, which was instrumental in keeping the program alive during the Clinton years.)

Looking at the center's affiliates, it's not hard to see why: Not only are makers of the Osprey (Boeing) well represented on the CSP's board of advisers but so too is Lockheed Martin (by vice president for space and strategic missiles Charles Kupperman and director of defense systems Douglas Graham). Former TRW executive Amoretta Hoeber is also a CSP adviser, as is former Congressman and Raytheon lobbyist Robert Livingston. Ball Aerospace & Technologies--a major manufacturer of NASA and Pentagon satellites--is represented by former Navy Secretary John Lehman, while missile-defense computer systems maker Hewlett-Packard is represented by George Keyworth, who is on its board of directors. And the Congressional Missile Defense Caucus and Osprey (or "tilt rotor") caucus are represented by Representative Curt Weldon and Senator Jon Kyl.

CSP was instrumental in developing the arguments against the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Largely ignored or derided at the time, a 1995 CSP memo co-written by Douglas Feith holding that the United States should withdraw from the ABM treaty has essentially become policy, as have other CSP reports opposing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the International Criminal Court. But perhaps the most insightful window on the JINSA/CSP policy worldview comes in the form of a paper Perle and Feith collaborated on in 1996 with six others under the auspices of the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies. Essentially an advice letter to ascendant Israeli politician Benjamin Netanyahu, "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" makes for insightful reading as a kind of US-Israeli neoconservative manifesto.

The paper's first prescription was for an Israeli rightward economic shift, with tax cuts and a selloff of public lands and enterprises--moves that would also engender support from a "broad bipartisan spectrum of key pro-Israeli Congressional leaders." But beyond economics, the paper essentially reads like a blueprint for a mini-cold war in the Middle East, advocating the use of proxy armies for regime changes, destabilization and containment. Indeed, it even goes so far as to articulate a way to advance right-wing Zionism by melding it with missile-defense advocacy. "Mr. Netanyahu can highlight his desire to cooperate more closely with the United States on anti-missile defense in order to remove the threat of blackmail which even a weak and distant army can pose to either state," it reads. "Not only would such cooperation on missile defense counter a tangible physical threat to Israel's survival, but it would broaden Israel's base of support among many in the United States Congress who may know little about Israel, but care very much about missile defense"--something that has the added benefit of being "helpful in the effort to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem."

Recent months in Washington have shown just how influential the notions propagated by JINSA and CSP are--and how disturbingly zealous their advocates are. In early March Feith vainly attempted to get the CIA to keep former intelligence officers Milt Bearden and Frank Anderson from accepting an invitation to an Afghanistan-related meeting with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld at the Pentagon--not because of what the two might say about Afghanistan, according to sources familiar with the incident, but likely out of fear that Anderson, a veteran Arabist and former chief of the CIA's Near East division, would proffer his views on Iraq (opposed to invading) and Israel-Palestine (a fan of neither Arafat nor Sharon). In late June, after United Press International reported on a US Muslim civil liberties group's lambasting of Gaffney for his attacks on the American Muslim Council, Gaffney, according to a fellow traveler, "went berserk," launching a stream of invective about the UPI scribe who reported the item.

It's incidents like this, say knowledgeable observers and participants, that highlight an interesting dynamic among right-wing hawks at the moment. Though the general agenda put forth by JINSA and CSP continues to be reflected in councils of war, even some of the hawks (including Rumsfeld deputy Paul Wolfowitz) are growing increasingly leery of Israel's settlements policy and Gaffney's relentless support for it. Indeed, his personal stock in Bush Administration circles is low. "Gaffney has worn out his welcome by being an overbearing gadfly rather than a serious contributor to policy," says a senior Pentagon political official. Since earlier this year, White House political adviser Karl Rove has been casting about for someone to start a new, more mainstream defense group that would counter the influence of CSP. According to those who have communicated with Rove on the matter, his quiet efforts are in response to complaints from many conservative activists who feel let down by Gaffney, or feel he's too hard on President Bush. "A lot of us have taken [Gaffney] at face value over the years," one influential conservative says. "Yet we now know he's pushed for some of the most flawed missile defense and conventional systems. He considered Cuba a 'classic asymmetric threat' but not Al Qaeda. And since 9/11, he's been less concerned with the threat to America than to Israel."

Gaffney's operation has always been a small one, about $1 million annually--funded largely by a series of grants from the conservative Olin, Bradley and various Scaife foundations, as well as some defense contractor money--but he's recently been able to underwrite a TV and print ad campaign holding that the Palestinians should be Enemy Number One in the War on Terror, still obsessed with the destruction of Israel. It's here that one sees the influence not of defense contractor money but of far-right Zionist dollars, including some from Irving Moskowitz, the California bingo magnate. A donor to both CSP and JINSA (as well as a JINSA director), Moskowitz not only sends millions of dollars a year to far-right Israeli settler groups like Ateret Cohanim but he has also funded the construction of settlements, having bought land for development in key Arab areas around Jerusalem. Moskowitz ponied up the money that enabled the 1996 reopening of a tunnel under the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, which resulted in seventy deaths due to rioting.

Also financing Gaffney's efforts is New York investment banker Lawrence Kadish. A valued and valuable patron of both the Republican National Committee and George W. Bush, Kadish helps underwrite CSP as well as Americans for Victory Over Terrorism, an offshoot of conservative activist William Bennett's Empower America, on which he and Gaffney serve as "senior advisers" in the service of identifying "external" and "internal" post-9/11 threats to America. (The "internal" threats, as articulated by AVOT, include former President Jimmy Carter, Harper's editor Lewis Lapham and Representative Maxine Waters.) Another of Gaffney's backers is Poju Zabludowicz, heir to a formidable diversified international empire that includes arms manufacturer Soltam--which once employed Perle--and benefactor of the recently established Britain Israel Communication and Research Centre, a London-based group that appears to equate reportage or commentary uncomplimentary to Zionism with anti-Semitism.

While a small but growing number of conservatives are voicing concerns about various aspects of foreign and defense policy--ranging from fear of overreach to lack of Congressional debate--the hawks seem to be ruling the roost. Beginning in October, hard-line American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Rubin (to Rubin, outgoing UN human rights chief Mary Robinson is an abettor of terrorism) arrives at the Pentagon to take over the Defense Department's Iran-Iraq account, adding another voice to the Pentagon section of Ledeen's "total war" chorus. Colin Powell's State Department continues to take a beating from outside and inside--including Bolton and his special assistant David Wurmser. (An AEI scholar and far-right Zionist who's married to Meyrav Wurmser of the Middle East Media Research Institute--recently the subject of a critical investigation by London Guardian Middle East editor Brian Whitaker--Wurmser played a key role in crafting the "Arafat must go" policy that many career specialists see as a problematic sop to Ariel Sharon.)

As for Rumsfeld, based on comments made at a Pentagon "town hall" meeting on August 6, there seems to be little doubt as to whose comments are resonating most with him--and not just on missile defense and overseas adventures: After fielding a question about Israeli-Palestinian issues, he repeatedly referred to the "so-called occupied territories" and casually characterized the Israeli policy of building Jewish-only enclaves on Palestinian land as "mak[ing] some settlement in various parts of the so-called occupied area," with which Israel can do whatever it wants, as it has "won" all its wars with various Arab entities--essentially an echo of JINSA's stated position that "there is no Israeli occupation." Ominously, Rumsfeld's riff gave a ranking Administration official something of a chill: "I realized at that point," he said, "that on settlements--where there are cleavages on the right--Wolfowitz may be to the left of Rumsfeld."


A strange kind of freedom 11.Apr.2003 03:09

Robert Fisk

A strange kind of freedom
 http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=313235

We all know about the perils of Islamic fanaticism. But, says Robert Fisk, the biggest threat to liberty in the US may come from other kinds of fundamentalism: Jewish and Christian

09 July 2002

Inside the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, the Californian audience had been struck silent. Dennis Bernstein, the Jewish host of KPFA Radio's Flashpoint current affairs programme, was reading some recent e-mails that he had received from Israel's supporters in America. Each one left the people in the church - Muslims, Jews, Christians - in a state of shock. "You mother-fucking-asshole-self-hating Jewish piece of shit. Hitler killed the wrong Jews. He should have killed your parents, so a piece of Jewish shit like you would not have been born. God willing, Arab terrorists will cut you to pieces Daniel Pearl-style, AMEN!!!"

Bernstein's sin was to have covered the story of Israel's invasion of Jenin in April and to have interviewed journalists who investigated the killings that took place there - including Phil Reeves and Justin Huggler of The Independent - for his Flashpoint programme. Bernstein's grandfather was a revered Orthodox Rabbi of international prominence but neither his family history nor his origins spared him. "Read this and weep, you mother-fucker self-hating Jew boy!!!" another e-mail told Bernstein. "God willing a Palestinian will murder you, rape your wife and slash your kids' throats." Yet another: "I hope that you, Barbara Lubin and all other Jewish Marxist Communist traitors anti-American cop haters will die a violent and cruel death just like the victims of suicide bombers in Israel." Lubin is also Jewish, the executive director of the Middle East Children's Alliance, a one-time committed Zionist but now one of Israel's fiercest critics. Her e-mails are even worse.

Indeed, you have to come to America to realise just how brave this small but vocal Jewish community is. Bernstein is the first to acknowledge that a combination of Israeli lobbyists and conservative Christian fundamentalists have in effect censored all free discussion of Israel and the Middle East out of the public domain in the US. "Everyone else is terrified," Bernstein says. "The only ones who begin to open their mouths are the Jews in this country. You know, as a kid, I sent money to plant trees in Israel. But now we are horrified by a government representing a country that we grew up loving and cherishing. Israel's defenders have a special vengeance for Jews who don't fall in line behind Sharon's scorched-earth policy because they give the lie to the charge that Israel's critics are simply anti-Semite."

Adam Shapiro is among those who have paid a price for their beliefs. He is a Jew engaged to an American-born Palestinian, a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement who was trapped in Yasser Arafat's headquarters in the spring while administering medical aid. After telling CNN that the Sharon government was acting like "terrorists" while receiving $3bn a year in US military aid, Shapiro and his family were savaged in the New York Post. The paper slandered Shapiro as the "Jewish Taliban" and demeaned his family as "traitors". Israeli supporters publicised his family's address and his parents were forced to flee their Brooklyn home and seek police protection. Shapiro's father, a New York public high-school teacher and a part-time Yeshiva (Jewish day school) teacher, was fired from his job. His brother receives regular death threats.

Israel's supporters have no qualms about their alliance with the Christian right. Indeed, the fundamentalists can campaign on their own in Israel's favour, as I discovered for myself at Stanford recently when I was about to give a lecture on the media and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, part of a series of talks arranged largely by Jewish Americans. A right-wing Christian "Free Republic" outfit posted my name on its website, and described me as a "PLO butt-kisser" and asked its supporters to "freep" my lecture. A few demonstrators turned up outside the First United Methodist Church in Sacramento where I was to speak, waving American and Israeli flags. "Jew haters!" they screamed at the organisers, a dark irony since these were non-Jews shrieking their abuse at Jews.

They were also handing out crudely printed flyers. "Nothing to worry about, Bob," one of my Jewish hosts remarked. "They can't even spell your name right." True. But also false. "Stop the Lies!" the leaflet read. "There was no massacre in Jenin. Fiske [sic] is paid big bucks to spin [lie] for the Arabs..." But the real lie was in that last sentence. I never take any payment for lectures - so that no one can ever claim that I'm paid to give the views of others. But the truth didn't matter to these people. Nor did the content of my talk - which began, by chance, with the words "There was no massacre" - in which I described Arafat as a "corrupt, vain little despot" and suicide bombings as "a fearful, evil weapon". None of this was relevant. The aim was to shut me up.

Dennis Bernstein sums it up quite simply: "Any US journalist, columnist, editor, college professor, student-activist, public official or clergy member who dares to speak critically of Israel or accurately report the brutalities of its illegal occupation will be vilified as an anti-Semite." In fact, no sooner had Bernstein made these remarks than pro-Israeli groups initiated an extraordinary campaign against some of the most pro-Israeli newspapers in America, all claiming that The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle were biased in their coverage of the Middle-East conflict. Just how The New York Times - which boasts William Safire and Charles Krauthammer, those giants of pro-Israeli bias, among its writers - could be anti-Israeli is difficult to see, although it is just possible that, amid its reports on Israel's destruction in the West Bank and Gaza, some mildly critical comments found their way into print. The New York Times, for example, did report that Israeli soldiers used civilians as human shields - though only in the very last paragraph of a dispatch from Jenin.

None the less, the campaign of boycotts and e-mails got under way. More than 1,000 readers suspended their subscriptions to the Los Angeles Times, while a blizzard of e-mails told pro-Israeli readers to cancel their subscription to The New York Times for a day. On the East Coast, at least one local radio station has lost $1m from a Jewish philanthropist while other stations attempting to cover the Middle East with some degree of fairness are said to have lost even more. When the San Francisco Chronicle published a four-page guide to the conflict, its editors had to meet a 14-member delegation of local Jewish groups to discuss their grievances.

According to Michael Futterman, who chairs the Middle East strategy committee of 80 Bay Area synagogues, Jewish anger hit "boiling point" when the Chronicle failed to cover a pro-Israeli rally in San Francisco. Needless to say, the Chronicle's "Readers' Representative", Dick Rogers, published a grovelling, self-flagellating apology. "The paper didn't have a word on the pro-Israel rally," he wrote. "This wasn't fair and balanced coverage." Another objection came from a Jewish reader who objected to the word "terror" being placed within inverted commas in a Chronicle headline that read "Sharon says 'terror' justifies assault". The reader's point? The Chronicle's reporting "harmonises well with Palestinian propaganda, which tries to divert attention from the terrorist campaign against Israel (which enjoys almost unanimous support among Palestinians, all the way from Yasser Arafat to the 10-year-old who dreams of blowing himself up one day) and instead describes Israel's military moves as groundless, evil bullying tactics."

And so it goes on. On a radio show with me in Berkeley, the Chronicle's foreign editor, Andrew Ross, tried to laugh off the influence of the pro-Israeli lobby - "the famous lobby", he called it with that deference that is half way between acknowledgement and fear - but the Israeli Consul General Yossi Amrani had no hesitation in campaigning against the Chronicle, describing a paper largely docile in its reporting of the Middle East as "a professionally and politically biased, pro-Palestinian newspaper".

The Chronicle's four-page pull-out on the Middle East was, in fact, a soft sell. Its headline - "The Current Strife Between The Israelis And The Palestinians Is A Battle For Control Of Land" - missed the obvious point: that one of the two groups that were "battling for control of the land" - the Palestinians - had been occupied by Israel for 35 years.

The most astonishing - and least covered - story is in fact the alliance of Israeli lobbyists and Christian Zionist fundamentalists, a coalition that began in 1978 with the publication of a Likud plan to encourage fundamentalist churches to give their support to Israel. By 1980, there was an "International Christian Embassy" in Jerusalem; and in 1985, a Christian Zionist lobby emerged at a "National Prayer Breakfast for Israel" whose principal speaker was Benjamin Netanyahu, who was to become Israeli prime minister. "A sense of history, poetry and morality imbued the Christian Zionists who, more than a century ago, began to write, plan and organise for Israel's restoration," Netanyahu told his audience. The so-called National Unity Coalition for Israel became a lobbying arm of Christian Zionism with contacts in Congress and neo-conservative think-tanks in Washington.

In May this year, the Israeli embassy in Washington, no less, arranged a prayer breakfast for Christian Zionists. Present were Alonzo Short, a member of the board of "Promise Keepers", and Michael Little who is president of the "Christian Broadcasting Network". Event hosts were listed as including those dour old Christian conservatives Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, who once financed a rogue television station in southern Lebanon which threatened Muslim villagers and broadcast tirades by Major Saad Haddad, Israel's stooge militia leader in Lebanon. In Tennessee, Jewish officials invited hundreds of Christians to join Jewish crowds at a pro-Israel solidarity rally in Memphis.

On the face of it, this coalition seems natural. The Jewish Anti-Defamation League felt able to run an ad that included an article by a former Christian coalition executive director Ralph Reed, headlined "We People of Faith Stand Firmly With Israel". Christians, Reed claimed, supported Israel because of "their humanitarian impulse to help and protect Jews, a shared strategic interest in democracy in the Middle East and a spiritual connection to Israel".

But, of course, a fundamental problem - fundamental in every sense of the word - lies behind this strange partnership. As Uri Avnery, the leader of Gush Shalom, the most courageous Israeli peace group, pointed out in a typically ferocious essay last month, there is a darker side to the alliance. "According to its [Christian Zionist] theological beliefs, the Jews must congregate in Palestine and establish a Jewish state on all its territory" - an idea that would obviously appeal to Ariel Sharon - "so as to make the Second Coming of Jesus Christ possible." But here comes the bad bit. As Avnery says, "the evangelists don't like to dwell openly on what comes next: before the coming [of the Messiah], the Jews must convert to Christianity. Those who don't will perish in a gigantic holocaust in the battle of Armageddon. This is basically an anti-Semitic teaching, but who cares, so long as they support Israel?"

The power of the Israeli lobby in the United States is debated far more freely in the Israeli press than in American newspapers or on US tele- vision. There is, of course, a fine and dangerous line between justified investigation - and condemnation - of the lobby's power, and the racist Arab claim that a small cabal of Zionists run the world. Those in America who share the latter view include a deeply unpleasant organisation just along the coast from San Francisco at Newport Beach known as the "Institute for Historical Research". These are the Holocaust deniers whose annual conference last month included a lecture on "death sentences imposed by German authorities against German soldiers... for killing or even mistreating Jews". Too much of this and you'd have to join the American Israel Public Affairs Committee - AIPAC - to restore your sanity. But the Israeli lobby is powerful. In fact, its influence over the US Congress and Senate calls into question the degree to which the American legislature has been corrupted by lobby groups. It is to an Israeli voice - Avnery again - that Americans have to turn to hear just how mighty the lobby has become. "Its electoral and financial power casts a long shadow over both houses of the Congress," Avnery writes. "Hundreds of Senators and Congressmen were elected with the help of Jewish contributions. Resistance to the directives of the Jewish lobby is political suicide. If the AIPAC were to table a resolution abolishing the Ten Commandments, 80 Senators and 300 Congressmen would sign it at once. This lobby frightens the media, too, and assures their adherence to Israel."

Avnery could have looked no further than the Democratic primary in Alabama last month for proof of his assertion. Earl Hilliard, the five-term incumbent, had committed the one mortal sin of any American politician: he had expressed sympathy for the cause of the Palestinians. He had also visited Libya several years ago. Hilliard's opponent, Artur Davis, turned into an outspoken supporter of Israel and raised large amounts of money from the Jewish community, both in Alabama and nationwide. The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz noted that among the names of the first list of contributors to Davis's campaign funds were "10 Cohens from New York and New Jersey, but before one gets to the Cohens, there were Abrams, Ackerman, Adler, Amir, Asher, Baruch, Basok, Berger, Berman, Bergman, Bernstein and Blumenthal. All from the East Coast, Chicago and Los Angeles. It's highly unlikely any of them have ever visited Alabama..." The Jewish newspaper Forward - essential reading for any serious understanding of the American Jewish community - quoted a Jewish political activist following the race: "Hilliard has been a problem in his votes and with guys like that, when there's any conceivable primary challenge, you take your shot." Hilliard, of course, lost to Davis, whose campaign funds reached $781,000.

The AIPAC concentrates on Congress while the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations (CPMAJO), made up of the heads of 51 Jewish organisations, concentrates on the executive branch of the US government. Every congressman knows the names of those critics of Israel who have been undone by the lobby. Take Senator J William Fulbright, whose 1963 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee detailed how five million tax-deductable dollars from philanthropic Americans had been sent to Israel and then recycled back to the US for distribution to organisations seeking to influence public opinion in favour of Israel; this cost him the chance of being Secretary of State. He was defeated in the 1974 Democratic primary after pro-Israeli money poured into the campaign funds of his rival, Governor Dale Bumpers, following a statement by the AIPAC that Fulbright was "consistently unkind to Israel and our supporters in this country". Paul Findley, who spent 22 years as a Republican congressman from Illinois, found his political career destroyed after he had campaigned against the Israeli lobby - although, ironically, his book on the subject, They Dare to Speak Out was nine weeks on The Washington Post bestseller list, suggesting that quite a number of Americans want to know why their congressmen are so pro-Israeli.

Just two months ago, the US House of Representatives voted 352 to 21 to express its unqualified support for Israel. The Senate voted 94 to two for the same motion. Even as they voted, Ariel Sharon's army was continuing its destructive invasion of the West Bank. "I do not recall any member of Congress asking me if I was in favour of patting Israel on the back..." James Abu Rizk, an Arab-American of Lebanese origin, told the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee afterwards. "No one else, no average American, has been asked either. But that is the state of American politics today... The votes and bows have nothing to do with the legislators' love for Israel. They have everything to do with the money that is fed into their campaigns by members of the Israeli lobby. My estimate is that $6bn flows from the American Treasury to Israel each year." Within days, 42 US governors turned up in Sacramento to sign declarations supporting Israel. California governor Gray Davis and New York governor George Pataki - California has the largest Jewish population of any state except New York - arranged the meeting.

Sometimes the support of Israel's loyalists in Congress turns into farce. Tom Delay - reacting to CNN founder Ted Turner's criticism of Israel - went so far out of his way to justify Israeli occupation of the West Bank that he blurted out on MSNBC television that the Palestinians "should become citizens" of Israel, an idea unlikely to commend itself to his friend Ariel Sharon. Texas Republican Richard Armey went the other way. "I'm content to have Israel grab the entire West Bank. I happen to believe the Palestinians should leave... to have those people who have been aggressors against Israel retired to some other area." Do the people of Texas know that their representative is supporting "ethnic cleansing" in the Middle East? Or are they silent because they prefer not to speak out?

Censorship takes many forms. When Ishai Sagi and Ram Rahat-Goodman, two Israeli reserve soldiers who refused to serve in the West Bank or Gaza, were scheduled to debate their decision at Sacramento's Congregation B'nai Israel in May, their appearance was cancelled. Steve Meinrath, who is chairman of the Israel Affairs Committee at B'nai Israel, remarked bleakly that "intimidation on the part of certain sectors of the community has deprived the entire community of hearing a point of view that is being widely debated in Israel. Some people feel it's too dangerous..."

Does President Bush? His long-awaited Middle-East speech was Israeli policy from start to finish. A group of Jewish leaders, including Elie Wiesel and Alan Dershowitz - who said recently that the idea of executing the families of Palestinian suicide bombers was a legitimate if flawed attempt at finding a balance between preventing terrorism and preserving democracy - and the AIPAC and CPMAJO heads all sent clear word to the President that no pressure should be put on Israel. Wiesel - whose courage permeates his books on the Holocaust but who lamentably failed to condemn the massacre of Palestinian refugees in Beirut in 1982 at the hands of Israel's Lebanese allies, said he felt "sadness", but his sadness was "with Israel, not against Israel" because "after all the Israeli soldiers did not kill" - took out a full page in The New York Times. In this, he urged Bush to "please remember that Ariel Sharon, a military man who knows the ugly face of war better than anyone, is ready to make 'painful sacrifices' to end the conflict." Sharon was held "personally responsible" for the massacre by Israel's own commission of inquiry - but there was no mention of that from Wiesel, who told reporters in May that he would like to revoke Arafat's Nobel prize.

President Bush was not going to oppose these pressures. His father may well have lost his re-election because he dared to tell Israel that it must make peace with the Arabs. Bush is not going to make the same mistake - nor does brother Jeb want to lose his forthcoming governorship election. Thus Sharon's delight at the Bush speech, and it was left to a lonely and brave voice - Mitchell Plitnick of the Jewish Voice for Peace - to state that "few speeches could be considered to be as destructive as that of the American President... Few things are as blinding as unbridled arrogance."

Or as vicious as the messages that still pour in to Dennis Bernstein and Barbara Lubin, whose Middle East Children's Alliance, co-ordinating with Israeli peace groups, is trying to raise money to rebuild the Jenin refugee camp. "I got a call the other day at 5am," Bernstein told me. "This guy says to me: 'You got a lot of nerve going and eating at that Jewish deli.' What comes after that?" Before I left San Francisco, Lubin showed me her latest e-mails. "Dear Cunt," one of them begins, "When we want your opinion you fucking Nazi cunt, we will have one of your Palestinian buddies fuck it [sic] of you. I hope that in your next trip to the occupied territories you are blown to bits by one of your Palestinian buddies [sic] bombs." Another, equally obscene, adds that "you should be ashamed of yourself, a so-called Jewish woman advocating the destruction of Israel".

Less crude language, of course, greeted President Bush's speech. Pat Robertson thought the Bush address "brilliant". Senator Charles Schumer, a totally loyal pro-Israeli Democrat from New York, said that "clearly, on the politics, this is going to please supporters of Israel as well as the Christian coalition types". He could say that again. For who could be more Christian than President George W Bush?