Christine

Visions Of Life
2004-05-25 19:39:06 (UTC)

It's all about Israel.. And It Makes Me Sick

It's all about Israel

by Justin Raimondo

Isn't it funny how politicians have to wait until just
before going into retirement to say what they really think
about Israel and its influence over Washington
policymakers?

Congressman Lee Hamilton (D-Indiana), formerly the senior
Democrat on the House International Relations Committee,
waited until after announcing his departure from Congress
to attend a symposium on the Middle East where he noted
that his congressional colleagues are "not even-handed"
when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "for
political reasons." Rep. Hamilton went on to say:

"Israeli leaders understand our system very, very well
[and] because they understand our system they can exploit
it."

Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-Alabama)earned the ire of Tel Aviv's
lobby by opposing "emergency aid" to Israel. In a speech on
the House floor, a clearly angered Callahan lashed out at
the Amen Corner:

"I am going to offer amendments as we go through the bill
to strike all of the aid to Israel that was included here
without any request from Israel, without any request from
the administration, without any requests from anybody. But
someone within this beltway decided since we were going to
have a supplemental bill, they were going to get some pork
in it for Israel."

Please note that Callahan did this only after announcing
his retirement plans. Now Senator Ernest Hollings, whose
legendary disdain for political correctness has gotten him
in trouble before, has joined the ranks of the belatedly
honest, and said what a few others - such as Michael
Kinsley, Pat Buchanan, and myself - have said all along. In
an op-ed piece first published in the Charleston Post and
Courier, the senator, having just announced his retirement,
took up the question of why are we in Iraq, and came up
with this answer:

"Now everyone knows what was not the cause. Even President
Bush acknowledges that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do
with 9/11. Listing the 45 countries where al-Qaida was
operating on September 11 (70 cells in the U.S.), the State
Department did not list Iraq. Richard Clarke, in Against
All Enemies, tells how the United States had not received
any threat of terrorism for 10 years from Saddam at the
time of our invasion. ... Of course there were no weapons
of mass destruction. Israel's intelligence, Mossad, knows
what's going on in Iraq. They are the best. They have to
know. Israel's survival depends on knowing. Israel long
since would have taken us to the weapons of mass
destruction if there were any or if they had been removed.
With Iraq no threat, why invade a sovereign country? The
answer: President Bush's policy to secure Israel."

Hollings goes on to identify "a domino school of thought
that the way to guarantee Israel's security is to spread
democracy in the area," naming deputy Defense Secretary and
chickenhawk-in-chief Paul Wolfowitz, neoconservative
hardliner and Francophile Richard Perle, and former
psychiatrist and deranged warmonger Charles Krauthammer. He
furthermore goes on to savage George W. Bush, whose sole
thought since taking office, according to Hollings, has
been reelection, with a radical tilt toward Israel by U.S.
policymakers a key part of the game plan:

"Spreading democracy in the Mideast to secure Israel would
take the Jewish vote from the Democrats. You don't come to
town and announce your Israel policy is to invade Iraq. But
George W. Bush, as stated by former Treasury Secretary Paul
O'Neill and others, started laying the groundwork to invade
Iraq days after inauguration. And, without any Iraq
connection to 9/11, within weeks he had the Pentagon
outlining a plan to invade Iraq. He was determined."

Hollings has been roundly denounced and his remarks
attributed to "anti-Semitism" by Israel's amen corner in
the U.S. But there is nothing secret about the open effort
by the Republican party to capture the Jewish vote. The
whole idea of politics, after all, is mobilizing various
interest groups around a particular candidate and building
a majority coalition. Pandering to ethnic blocs is a grand
American political tradition: it comes with being a nation
of immigrants, which is something we're all supposed to
glory in. Every ethnic group of any numerical significance
is pandered to, in some way, and politicians are always
making ethnic-based appeals. The Republican party's
outreach to the Hispanic community is pursued to the point
where our President often bursts into long stretches of
Spanish (perhaps because it makes him sound less
inarticulate, at least to those who have no idea what he's
saying). Why shouldn't he reach out to Jewish voters, too?

By calling attention to the obvious, Senator Hollings
stands condemned as an "anti-Semite."

I'll tell you what else is obvious: the benefits accrued to
Israel on account of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
The annexation of significant portions of the West Bank,
and now the attack on Gaza, have both received what amounts
to the imprimatur of an American President. While
Israeli "advisors" teach their American pupils the basics
of running an occupation, the next target on Ariel Sharon's
wish list, Syria, is hit with sanctions, and accusations
that Damascus is aiding the Iraqi insurgency.

Hollings is absolutely on the mark about the real reasons
for this war, even if his speculation about a GOP effort to
go after the Jewish vote misses the real point. What Bush
is after isn't primarily the Jewish voter, but holding onto
and expanding the much larger "born again" Christian
fundamentalist bloc, a significant proportion of which is
fanatically devoted to Israel ? even over and above
American interests ? for wacky theological reasons. When
Hollings called Prime Minister Sharon "the Bull Connor of
Israel," it wasn't the Jewish vote Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
was after when he demanded that Hollings apologize. South
Carolina is Pat Robertson country, where the
dispensationalist Christian heresy has deep roots - and
even deeper political implications when it comes to this
administration's foreign policy.

"Certainly, discussing and questioning policy is the right
and duty of all responsible leaders. But when the debate
veers into anti-Jewish stereotyping, it is tantamount to
scapegoating and an appeal to ethnic hatred," says Abraham
H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League.

But why shouldn't America's satellites avidly seek to
manipulate and even control the Imperial Hegemon? After
all, we hold their fate in our hands. That's what being an
Empire is all about. Without American military and economic
support, Israel could not and would not exist: one false
move on the part of Washington, and the Jewish state would
flounder and fall on the rocks of demographic reality and
rising Arab nationalism.

Special interest groups of all ethnic and religious
persuasions do their best to decisively influence U.S.
foreign policy: why should Jews (and their "born again"
Christian allies) be any different?

"This is reminiscent," raves Foxman, "of age-old, anti-
Semitic canards about a Jewish conspiracy to control and
manipulate government." If one so much as looks cross-eyed
at Ariel Sharon, Abe Foxman is reminded of Kristallnacht,
but the point is that, if I were Foxman I wouldn't pull
this "age-old canard" business too often. Instead of
fighting anti-Semitism, Foxman's weird insistence on re-
imagining half-forgotten anti-Jewish caricatures can only
encourage it. But, then again, if anti-Semitism went out of
business, so would Foxman's organization. It's funny how
that works....

Jonah Goldberg, who is obviously engaged in some kind of
contest with Foxman to see who can do the best Al Sharpton
imitation, notes the names Wolfowitz, Perle, and
Krauthammer, and whines:

"Funny how the only names are Jewish. What? Jeanne
Kirkpatrick doesn't count? Jack Kemp? Bill Bennett? I
wonder why."

Perhaps because Kirkpatrick is a figure from another era,
and only played a supporting role in the propaganda
campaign that lied us into war. Jack Kemp was never a major
figure, and his views on Iraq seem decidedly ambivalent, at
best. As for Blackjack Bill, his reputation would certainly
not have encouraged Americans to take his advice and gamble
on committing our troops to a risky occupation, and so,
understandably, he didn't take center stage in the prewar
debate.

Wolfowitz, on the other hand, is not only a high government
official but also the intellectual author of this
administration's policy of preemptive global hegemony. As
Richard Clarke and Bob Woodward reveal, the Deputy
Secretary of Defense was the earliest and most persistent
advocate of war with Iraq: Wolfowitz wanted to take Baghdad
before bothering with Kabul.

As for the legendary Richard Perle, the neocon "Prince of
Darkness," his style - and the numerous scandals in which
he's been embroiled, all of them very high profile and
exceptionally smarmy - ensures his prominence. A spotlight
seems to follow him about, like a shadow.

Is it really necessary to point out the reasons for
Krauthammer's prominence? Surely his was one of the loudest
and most militant voices raised in support of this war, and
certainly his position on the op-ed page of the Washington
Post automatically lends his words a certain weight. In
concert with Bill Safire and David Brooks over at the New
York Times, Krauthammer constitutes a crucially important
link in the neocon Iron Triangle of the American
punditocracy.

If all these names are Jewish, then so what? Just as many
Jews, if not more, figure prominently in the antiwar camp.
Goldberg, being a clever chap, realizes this, and so falls
back on trying to switch the blame from the War Party to
the Bushies:

"Fritz Hollings is defending himself saying that he can
provide quotes from Jews in America and Israel to support
his position. I'm sure he can to some extent. But so what?
His charge isn't that Jews support democracy in the Middle
East to secure Israel's security (and because they support
democracy). His charge is that Bush went to war to placate
those Jews. The quotes he needs to prove his point aren't
from Jews in Tel Aviv, they're from White House officials
in Washington."

If the idea is to prove Washington's willingness to go
along with Ariel Sharon in spite of American interests, how
about quotes from the President of the United States and
U.S. government officials in response to Israel's outright
annexation of parts of the West Bank, and the IDF's current
rampage through Gaza? Having endorsed the Israeli
Lebensraum (marketed to world opinion as a "withdrawal,"
albeit a partial one), our President couldn't bring himself
to condemn an Israeli attack on a peaceful Palestinian
demonstration that killed 10 children and wounded 50, aside
from urging "restraint." Bush has consistently referred to
Israel's "right of self-defense" to excuse each and every
bloody incursion into Palestinian territory, no matter how
brutal - and no matter how much it ratcheted up tensions
between the American army of occupation and its sullen
Iraqi charges.

As Israel rampages through the Holy Land with unholy
determination to dominate and drive out any who stand in
her way, and the promise of a pipeline from Iraq's oil
fields in Mosul to Haifa comes closer to reality, the key
question, cui bono? - who benefits? - demands an answer.
Last year, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu, now Finance Minister, told a group of British
investors:

"It won't be long when you will see Iraqi oil flowing to
Haifa. It is just a matter of time until the pipeline is
reconstituted and Iraqi oil will flow to the
Mediterranean."

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, now a partner in
Cannistraro Associates, writes in the current issue of The
American Conservative that "There are rumors that the
deservedly moribund pipeline project to send Iraqi oil to
Haifa may again be on the table."

But the oil is just the gravy on the meatloaf, or perhaps
the dessert that comes after the main course, which is
Israel's improved geopolitical position as a result of the
Iraq war. Syria is outflanked, and now under U.S.
sanctions, while the rest of the Arab world is
psychologically demoralized, politically destabilized, and
militarily defeated. Bush and Sharon - or, from the Arab
viewpoint, Sharon and Bush - are masters of all they
survey. Arab democrats, secular nationalists, and moderates
in the region are more isolated, and even more powerless,
than ever: only Osama bin Laden's followers are overjoyed
to see that their leader's warning of an invasion
of "Crusaders and Zionists" has proved prescient.

What irks American patriots, not a few conservatives among
them, is that Sharon and the Israelis have shown no
restraint: they are utterly heedless of the effect of their
policies on the ground in Iraq. We undertook a vast project
of social and political engineering in Iraq largely on
Israel's behalf, only to see that they don't feel the least
bit obligated to spare us the consequences of their
actions. Surely such ingratitude contributes to rising
resentment against the catalytic role of Israel's
supporters - both in and out of government - in dragging us
into Iraq.

Senator Hollings is right: this war was, and still is, all
about protecting Israel's security and plans for expansion -
at our expense. Not surprisingly, the catcalls are coming
from the same people who say any reference
to "neoconservatives" - up until recently a word that had
entered the American political lexicon (sometime in the
1970s) without a hint of ethnic overtones - is really
a "code word" for Jews. What they hope to accomplish is to
close down all debate on a question the War Party would
just as soon not see raised. But that question - why are we
in Iraq? - is one that urgently requires explaining. Jonah
Goldberg may persist in applying rules of political
correctness that he would never otherwise invoke, but I
would urge critics of Israel to take some solace in the
words of John Derbyshire, Goldberg's colleague at National
Review, who invokes what he calls:

"Derbyshire's First Law": Anything - anything whatsoever -
that a Gentile says about Jews or Israel will be taken as
rabidly antisemitic by somebody, somewhere."