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Netanyahu visit: Australia’s relationship with Israel and where it could go – SBS

In the past fortnight the Israeli leader has visited London and Washington DC for talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May and old friend US President Donald Trump.

His visit to Australia this weekwill be the first for a serving Israeli Prime Minister.

His time with Malcolm Turnbull will likely cover similar ground: the Palestinian conflict, West Bank settlements, Iran, and combatting global terror.

Mr Netanyahu, accompanied by wife Sara, will also meet with Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove, opposition leader Bill Shorten, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and members from Australia’s Israeli communities.

Australia’s Israeli embassy confirmed that, during Mr Netanyahu’s visit, the countries will sign two bilateral agreements. The first will focus on technological innovation, while the second will help “facilitate commercial air transport services” between Australia and Israel.

Anthony Bergin, from the Australian Strategic and Policy Institute, says the Israel-Australia relationship could be strengthened.

Its a good time for an Israeli Prime Minister to visit, and I think while weve got a lot of rhetoric about common values there isnt at the moment a lot of substance, he said.

The relationship, in many ways is underachieving. It could be developed.

The last time an Israeli foreign minister visited Australia was in 1976, so what has prompted this visit fromBenjamin Netanyahu?

The why I think comes back to common values around democracy, around shared support for human rights (and) recognition of the plight of Jewish people after the war, Mr Bergin said.

Obviously the relationship between the two countries has always been warm. Australia has always been seen by the Israelis as a friendly country.

“The ties between Israel and Australia date back to 1917, with the Australian Light Horse Brigades’ courageous charge at the Battle of Beersheba, which was a major milestone in driving out the Ottoman Empire from what is now modern Israel,” says a spokesperson from the Israeli embassy.

Leanne Piggott, from the Centre for Social Impact, told SBS News the relationship is rooted in history, shared cultural and political values and a pro-western foreign policy orientation.

Australian soldiers returned to the Middle East in large numbers during World War II. Many were stationed temporarily in Palestine and were hosted at social events by the local Jewish communities,” she said.

In both world wars, Australians and Jews living in Palestine fought side-by-side.

In 1948, Australian H.V ‘Doc’ Evatt utilised his position as President of the United Nations General Assembly to push for Israel’s formation.

And according to Dr Amin Saikal, director of the Centre for Arab Studies at the Australian National University, that’s when ties truly began to blossom.

He believes that showed in the aftermath of the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis, in which Israel, the UK and France invaded Egypt to regain western control of the Suez Canal and remove the Egyptian President from power.

I think it really goes back to the Prime Minister Menzies era and the Suez crisis, and when Gamal Abdul Nasser the President of Egypt nationalised the Suez Canal in 1956, he said.

Users of the Suez Canal had a conference in Britain and Prime Minister Menzies participated in that conference, and he was then sent as a head of a mission to discuss the issue with President Nasser and tell him to back off from the nationalisation of the Suez Canal.

When Nasser did not do that and Prime Minister Menzies came back empty-handed, then that influenced Menzies attitudes towards Egypt and towards the Arabs. And then from that point, I think Australia pursued a very much pro-Israeli position.

Senior lecturer in International Relations at the University of New South Wales, Dr Anthony Billingsley, says “Israel has become a cause of the conservative side of politics”.

“When I was growing up it was a cause of the left, but its swung round now to be a cause of the right in Australia, he said.

It also fits into the US relationship. So when the US is looking for people, a UN general assembly resolution might be adopted on Palestine and youll have a vote of 180 against three; itll be the US, Israel and Australia.

So it fits into that being nice to the Americans, and helping them out in difficult political situations.

While Australia and Israel have been clear allies for decades, there is little trade between the countries. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia ranks 23rdon Israels top principal export destinations, and 37thon imports. Australias total trade with Israel is just over $1 billion.

Thats where I think the relationship has been underdone, because we havent really focused on how we can really benefit one another in terms of interests, Mr Bergin said.

I think its fair to say Australia has not been a major policy focus of the Israelis.”

Unlike previous US administrations, successive Australian governments have rarely condemned Israel during the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians.

I think that the Turnbull leadership, to me, it appears, is really playing to the right-wing elements within the coalition, Dr Saikal said.

I think there are people, like Cory Bernardi – who has now gone – but there are other elements within the coalition who are very much supportive of the state of Israel.”

And in the Labor party there is “paralysis basically, according to Dr Billingsley.

The Labor party cannot really discuss Israel and the Palestinians in any meaningful way because they just wind up fighting each other.

Palestinian laborers work at a construction site in a new housing project in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem, Feb. 7, 2017.

Dr Saikal believes there are other influences in the relationship.

One must not really forget that the pro-Israeli lobby in this country has been very strong over the years and they do have considerable amount of influence on Australian policy towards the Middle East and more specifically, towards the Israel-Palestinian conflict, he said.

Dr Billingsley agrees that pro-Israeli lobbies have influenced Australian government policies and positions.

I think theyve been very effective. I mean they were effective at all levels, he said.

I wouldnt underestimate the inherent sympathy that Australians have for the Jewish plight, and the Jewish history, etc. And the influence of Jews in Australia has been considerable. So there is a historic issue there as well.

I think the Zionist – if you like – movement in Australia has been very effective in promoting that sort of concern for Israel; the feeling that Israel is always under threat. So I think that also adds to the basis of that support.

But Mr Bergin disagrees.

Of course there are groups that promote Israel but there are plenty of groups that also promote the Palestinian cause,” he said.

“What Id prefer to say quite bluntly is that theres been bipartisan support for a two-state solution.

If it became clear that Israel was moving towards a one-state solution, or completely drop attempts to try and get a peace settlement, then that is going to absolutely sap the support in Australia.

Dr Amin Saikal says he hopes the Turnbull government uses Mr Netanyahus visit to condemn the expansion of settlements in the West Bank.

Both Prime Minister Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop are fully aware of the fact that the settlements are the major obstacle to a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said.

For that reason it is about time that Australia, or the Turnbull government, moderates its position in support of Israel and join the international community in condemning that expansion of the settlements.

I think the time has come for them to move beyond that position in order to recognise the fact that the settlements are major impediments. Of course the Israeli Prime Minister would say no, this is not a major issue. It is a critical issue.

Ms Piggott says she would like to see the government reaffirm its position in support of a two-state solution.

Beyond continuing to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, deepening AustraliaIsrael bilateral relations will generate significant benefits in advancing both countries national interests, she said.

It will be necessary to select areas for cooperation that bring the highest mutual benefit.”

Mr Bergin believes the area of defence offers that.

Both countries have got strong interests in naval affairs because were both close to major choke points along maritime trade routes, he said.

We should have a regular strategic dialogue with Israel on everything from developments in Islamist terrorism, to Middle East developments, to nuclear proliferation, to US alliance issues and so forth and the defence industry.

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Netanyahu visit: Australia’s relationship with Israel and where it could go – SBS

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February 20, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

David Friedman’s critics are hostile to Israel – Arutz Sheva

Responding to the claims of five former US ambassadors who said David Friedman is “unfit” to serve as US ambassador to Israel, Zionist Organization of America President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:

“Its important to examine the harmful records and anti-Israel actions of the five left-wing, hostile-to-Israel, pro-Iran deal former US Ambassadors to Israel who signed a coordinated letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unfairly and falsely maligning Ambassador-nominee David Friedman. The five signatories Thomas Pickering, Daniel Kurtzer, Edward Walker, Jr., James Cunningham, and William Harrop damaged US-Israel relations and exacerbated the situation in the Middle East. At least several of them have financial or other ties to hostile-to-Israel groups.

“Revealingly, the very same five former ambassadors signed a letter in July 2015 promoting the Iran deal (which provided Iran with a path to a nuclear bomb and $150 billion to fund its terrorist operations throughout the world). (Former US Ambassadors to Israel Back Iran Deal, by Deb Riechmann, Times of Israel, July 27, 2015.)

“Thomas Pickering (Ambassador 1985-1988) has a long record of pro-Iranian regime, pro-Palestinian-Arab, friendly to Hamas, and problematic anti-Israel activism.

“Pickering is a member of the American Iranian Council (AIC) board of directors. AIC promoted the dangerous Iran deal; now insists that the US must fully implement the Iran deal (while ignoring Irans violations); opposes US sanctions for Irans violations of UN Security Council Resolution 2331; and opposes designating as terrorist organizations the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corp and Muslim Brotherhood despite the fact that both groups support terror throughout the world.

“In Pickerings bombshell secret December 18, 2011 email to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Pickering recommended undermining Israel by secretly employing NGOs (including Peace Now) and Palestinian-Arab women to foment and carry out massive demonstrations against all aspects of the occupation (meaning against Israel) including against roadblocks, land confiscations, new settlement activity, [and] around military government installations, in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Area C (the portion of Judea and Samaria administered by Israel) and Palestinian-Arab-controlled areas to exert continuing pressure on Israels leaders to give in to Palestinian-Arab demands.

“Shockingly, Pickering also mentioned potential advantages of a Middle East war (apparently an Arab or Iranian war against Israel), but then opined that war was much too dangerous with all that is happening there despite the fact that it might be a game changer. (See Pickerings email; and JPost Obamas Disgraceful Covert War Against Israel, by Caroline Glick, Jan. 18, 2016; and Ex-Ambassador Pitched Clinton Secret Plan to Spark Palestinian Protests, by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon & Fox News, Jan. 11, 2016.)

“The five signatories damaged US-Israel relations and exacerbated the situation in the Middle East. At least several of them have financial or other ties to hostile-to-Israel groups.

“Pickerings April 8, 2014 op-ed in Politico, co-authored with the notoriously anti-Israel Zbigniew Brzezinski (entitled Stand Firm, John Kerry), also revealed Pickerings one-sided, left-wing anti-Israel views. Pickering justified violence against Jews by falsely calling Israels presence in the lawfully designated Jewish homelands in Judea/Samaria illegal land grabs . . . that will trigger renewed violence.

“Pickerings op-ed also falsely claimed that Israel already possesses 78% of Palestine. (In fact, Israel has only 22% of the British Mandate for Palestine despite the fact that all of the mandate was lawfully designated for the Jewish homeland.) Pickering also condemned Netanyahus peace overtures as morally unacceptable; insisted that Israel should have no presence in the Jordan Valley (an area that is in fact vital for Israels security); expressed support for the pre-1967 lines (which would be suicidal for Israel); falsely portrayed the Palestinian-Arabs as having made significant concessions; and urged the Obama administration to be tougher on Israel.

“And in July 2009, Pickering secretly met with senior leaders of designated terrorist organization Hamas to discuss easing the Israeli siege of Gaza a euphemism for ending Israels lawful weapons blockade of Gaza to prevent Hamas from importing more missiles to fire at Israeli Jewish kindergartens. (There is no Israeli siege.) Pickering engaged Hamas without permission from the US administration. (Former US Officials Talk With Hamas, Politico, Apr. 2, 2010.)

“Daniel Kurtzer (Ambassador 2001-2005) has a long record of hostility to Israel. His statements, policies and actions have provoked criticism from Israeli and American Jewish leaders, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir; the Labor Partys former Israeli negotiator and ambassador Itamar Rabinovitch; former AIPAC Executive Director Morris Amitay; and leading Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot. (See ZOA: Sen. Obama Should Rescind Appointment of Daniel Kurtzer As Middle East Adviser, Apr. 16, 2008.)

“Arutz Sheva explained: Kurtzers bias goes all the way back to his graduate school days. In his Ph.D. dissertation (Columbia University, 1976), Kurtzer said Israels counter-terror actions were the catalysts to interstate violence, and blamed Israel for the radicalization of the Palestinians to violence (p.253).

“Throughout the dissertation, Kurtzer referred to Palestinian Arab terrorists as guerrillas, not as terroristseven though he was discussing the groups that carried out such horrific massacres as the Lod Airport massacre of Puerto Rican tourists and the slaughter of Israeli athletes (including an American) at the Munich Olympics. (Should Daniel Kurtzer Be Americas Next Ambassador to Israel?, Arutz Sheva, July 24, 2001.) (The article concluded after reviewing Kurtzers lifelong hostile-to-Israel activities: Daniel Kurtzer represents the old, tired, and failed policy of fruitlessly trying to appease Yasir Arafat and his terrorist dictatorship.)

“Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir recalled that: Kurtzer frequently pressured Israel to make one-sided concessions to the Arabs; he constantly blamed Israel for the absence of Mideast peace, and paid little or no attention to the fact that the Palestinians were carrying out terrorist attacks and openly calling for the destruction of Israel. (Id.)

“Kurtzer hasnt changed, and apparently still believes that the US should force a deal that would endanger Israels existence down Israels throat. During an Al Jazeera special television program marking the 20th Anniversary of the failed Oslo Accords in 2013, after he was asked what could be done to place more serious pressure on Israel, Kurtzer responded: I have made the argument publically that the United States should now lay out very strong parameters that define quite narrowly the issues still to be negotiated. . . And then expect the parties not taking no for an answer. (Transcript: The Peace Process, Al Jazeera, Aug. 26, 2013.)

“This past December (2016), after the Obama administration engineered and assured the passage of the extraordinarily anti-Israel UNSC Resolution 2334, instead of condemning the terrible UNSC Resolution, Kurtzer condemned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahus reaction as nasty, unprecedented, and not proper and unacceptable. (Netanyahu had merely disclosed that Israel had unequivocal proof that the Obama administration had orchestrated the anti-Israel resolution.) (Former US ambassador to Israel Criticizes Netanyahus Nasty UN Reaction, AP, DW, Dec. 26, 2016.)

“It is remarkably hypocritical that after Kurtzer accused Israels Prime Minister of being nasty, Kurtzner attacked Ambassador-nominee David Friedman as not diplomatic. Kurtzer is obviously not a judge of what is or isnt diplomatic.

“Moreover, Kurtzer has a habit of accusing those who disagree with his extreme anti-Israel views of being not diplomatic. In mid-2015, Kurtzer leveled such charges against Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer and former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren. Kurtzer stated that Ambassador Oren, appears to be following in the footsteps of his successor, Ron Dermer, who has prized Israeli politics above the diplomacy that he was appointed to practice. (Ex-US Envoy Daniel Kurtzer Blasts Orens Astounding Obama Criticism, Haaretz, June 24, 2015.)

“Kurtzer also blasted Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer earlier in 2015, in unpleasant graphic terms, after Congress invited Netanyahu to address Congress regarding Iran, saying: He [Dermer]s a political operative, hes not really an ambassador. . . What he did was totally unacceptable from a standpoint of diplomacy. . . He [Dermer] has soiled his pad; whos he going to work with? (Administration Official Criticizes Israeli Ambassador Over Netanyahu Visit, by Julie Hirschfeld Davis, NY Times, Jan. 28, 2015.)

“And speaking of diplomacy, in 2014, Kurtzer wrote that it would demean American diplomacy to release Jonathan Pollard. Kurtzer did not care that Pollard was in extremely ill health after being incarcerated under brutal conditions in US prison for 29 years decades longer than any similarly situated spy. Ironically, in the very same article, Kurtzer demanded that Israel must live up to commitments to release imprisoned Palestinian-Arab terrorists who had been convicted of murdering innocent Israeli civilians (a far worse crime than what Pollard had done). (Releasing Pollard: Dont Do It, Mr. Secretary, by Daniel Kurtzer, The American Interest, Apr. 1, 2014.)

“Sadly, Kurtzers diplomacy has consisted of closing his eyes to or excusing Palestinian Arab terrorism, and pushing for dangerous Palestinian-Arab rights. During Kurtzers tenure at the State Department in 1988, a time when the PLO was engaged in constant terrorism against Israel, Kurtzer kept (falsely) insisting that the PLO under Yasir Arafat was moving in a moderate direction. Kurtzer became a key figure in the process of formulating the US decision to recognize the PLO in December 1988.

“Arutz Sheva noted that Kurtzers claim of PLO moderation proved to be completely mistaken, because the PLO continued its terrorism and in early 1990, the US broke off its dealings with Arafat. (See Should Daniel Kurtzer Be Americas Next Ambassador to Israel?, Arutz Sheva, July 24, 2001, quoting Washington Talk: State Department; Wordsmiths of the Mideast Move, by Robert Pear, NY Times, Jan. 13, 1989.)

“Morris Amitay, former executive director of AIPAC, said: Kurtzer has a track record of . . . pushing for Palestinian rights. . . . He will use his Jewishness as a protective cover for his anti-Israel views. (Likely Nomination of Orthodox Jew As US Ambassador Splits US Jews, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 29, 2001.)

“Kurtzer was also the principal author of one of the most significant anti-Israel statements of US policy in the Middle East, a speech by Secretary of State George Shultz to a conference at the Wye Plantation in Maryland in 1988, in which he said that The legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including political rights, must be recognized and addressed.

“Kurtzers book Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East (co-authored with Scott Lasensky), praised former Secretary of State James Baker, who applied ruthless pressure on Israel and held Israel responsible for obstacles to peace. Kurtzer and Lasensky also claimed that America falsely labeled Arafat and the Palestinian-Arab leadership as responsible for the collapse of the Oslo process a claim contradicted by virtually all American officials engaged in the 2000 Camp David and Taba negotiations, including President Clinton and Middle East envoy Dennis Ross.

“In addition, in their book, Kurtzer and Lasensky condemned Bush 43 for being too deferential to Israel. Kurtzer and Lasensky stated that Presdient Bush: proved overly deferential to the stated political problems of the Israeli government while tending to turn a blind eye towards domestic constraints on the Arab side. (page 34). (See Obamas New Foreign Policy Advisor Daniel Kurtzer, by Ed Lasky, American Thinker, Apr. 10, 2008.)

“In yet another display of Kurtzers own lack of diplomacy, Kurtzer publicly interfered with, falsely insulted and criticized Israels internal budgetary policy. Kurtzer stated, Instead of taking care of the disabled and or economic development, Israel is investing in Jewish settlements, which should be dismantled. This led a member of Israels Knesset (parliament), Zwi Hendel, to denounce Kurtzer on the Knesset floor. MK Hendel stated: No Israeli diplomat would be allowed to act as he [Kurtzer] does. . . I have the right to criticize this little Jew who is interfering in our internal affairs. (Embassy Row: Denouncing Kurtzer, Washington Times, January 9, 2002.)

“Kurtzer also rebuked Israeli negotiators for being insufficiently concessionary: The Israeli Labor governments then-ambassador to the US, Itamar Rabinovitch, described a stormy dispute between Kurtzer and the head of Israels negotiating team, in which Kurtzer thought that Israel was not going far enough with the Palestinians. There were sharp exchanges between them [and Kurtzer] rebuked the Israeli negotiators. (ZOA: Sen. Obama Should Rescind Appointment of Daniel Kurtzer As Middle East Adviser, Apr. 16, 2008, quoting Haaretz, April 6, 2001.)

“Kurtzer also had a vocal conflict with an Israeli government official in Philadelphia in the summer of 1990, after Kurtzer attacked the Israeli government for refusing to include the PLO in the peace process [and] said that this constituted the main obstacle to peace. (Id.)

“Kurtzer also criticized Israeli strikes at Palestinian terrorists. In August 2001, Kurtzer publicly criticized Israel for striking at Abu Ali Mustafa, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which over the years has murdered at least 14 American citizens and numerous Israelis.

“The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issued a statement on August 28, 2001 saying it was surprised and dismayed that Kurtzer felt compelled to raise the issue with Prime Minister Sharon, yet we did not hear of any similar actions when American citizens were the victims of terror attacks over the past few months. Indeed, just hours after Kurtzers statement, an American Jew, Ben Dansker, was shot and wounded by Arafats terrorists near the town of Rogalit yet Kurtzer made no statement about the attack. (Id.)

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said more than once that with Jews like Kurtzer, it is impossible to build a healthy relationship between Israel and the United States. (Id.)

Kurtzers poor relations with Jerusalems political bureaus reached a new climax in 1990, when he authored a speech by James Baker strongly criticizing Israel, which was delivered at an AIPAC conference, causing a commotion among the conference participants . . . A Jewish community leader told Kurtzer [shortly afterwards], Your children will bear the consequences of the Israeli policy you are encouraging. (Id.)

“Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot editorialized on Kurtzers malign influence: Possibly more than any other US State Department official, Kurtzer has been instrumental in promoting the goals of the Palestinians and in raising their afflictions to the center of the US policymakers agenda. (ZOA: Sen. Obama Should Rescind Appointment of Daniel Kurtzer As Middle East Adviser, Apr. 16, 2008, quoting Yediot Ahronot, Aug. 9, 1991.)

“Edward Walker, Jr. (Ambassador 1997 Jan. 2000) won acclaim throughout the Arab world when he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post during the Second Intifada, condemning Israel for its targeted assassinations of Hamas terrorists plotting attacks on Israeli civilians. (Palestinian-Arab terrorists murdered close to 2,000 innocent Israelis and injured 10,000 innocent Israelis during the Second Intifada.)

“In Walkers view, providing due process to terrorists ensconced in the midst of hostile territory was more important than stopping attacks on innocent Israeli and other civilians. Walkers op-ed also made an immoral moral equivalence between Israels defensive actions and murders carried out by hostile Arab regimes. (No Exceptions for Israel, by Edward Walker, Jr., Washington Post, Aug. 21, 2001.)

“Impressed with Walkers anti-Israel op-ed, Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Youssufs editor-in-chief enthusiastically wrote: together with us [Edward Walker] wages the cruel battle against the Israeli lobby and Israels claims and deceits. (MEMRI Analysis, Nov. 22, 2001.)

“Although Walker acknowledges that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, Walker has also defended and justified Hezbollah attacks on non-civilian Israelis. Walker told Egyptian paper Al-Mussawar that one of Hezbollahs roles is as a resistance movement legitimately fighting the Israeli occupation in southern Lebanon. All of Hezbollahs attacks against Israeli forces are legitimate acts of resistance, not terrorism. (Id.)

“Walker reiterated this view in another interview, saying: The Lebanese government claims that Hezbollah are not terrorists because they were engaged in legitimate resistance against Israel, which was in occupation of southern Lebanon. In that specific case, I happen to agree with them. What Hezbollah did in south Lebanon was not terrorism; it was resistance, because it was directed solely at military targets. Walker ignored the fact that Israels presence in southern Lebanon at that time was necessary to stop deadly Hezbollah attacks on innocent Israeli civilians living in northern Israel which had made normal life in northern Israel impossible. (Middle East Quarterly Interview, Spring 2002.)

“Walker also served as president of the pro-Arab, unfriendly-to-Israel Middle East Institute (MEI). MEIs website blog defended Hezbollah for its 2015 raid and murder of two Israeli soldiers and a UN peacekeeper; approvingly wrote about anti-Israel UNSC Resolution 2334 and former Secretary Kerrys speech condemning Israel; complained that during the 2014 Gaza war many Arab regimes were silent (instead of rushing to help Hamas), that the PA was not simultaneously rioting in the West Bank (to make life difficult for Israel on two fronts); and, MEI promotes J Street conferences. Walker also served in posts in Arab nations throughout the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, the UAE, Egypt and Tunisia).

“As with the rest of this gang of five, Walker also promoted the horrible Iran deal.

“James Cunningham (Ambassador from 2008-2011) also has a pro-Iran, pro-Palestinian-Arab, anti-Israel record. As noted above, Cunningham promoted the catastrophic Iran deal.

“During his previous tenure as Deputy US Representative to the United Nations, Cunningham condemned a 2004 Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) operation to stop attacks emanating from Gaza. On behalf of the US, Cunningham abstained on UN Security Council Resolution 1544 (May 19, 2004), which viciously and unfairly condemned Israels defensive actions. Cunninghams abstention was tantamount to a yes vote, and enabled this anti-Israel resolutions passage.

“After the vote, Cunningham criticized Israel, saying that the IDF operation worsened the humanitarian situation and resulted in confrontation between Israeli forces and Palestinians. Cunningham also pushed for Israel to withdraw from Gaza, stating that these events were a reminder of the wisdom of Israel disengaging from Gaza and having its security presence replaced by reformed Palestinian security forces. (U.N. Security Council Critical of Israeli Operations in Gaza, by Judy Aita, Washington File United Nations Correspondent, Washington File, May 20, 2004.) Israel did withdraw from Gaza the following year (2005) which resulted in Hamas lobbing 19,000 rockets at innocent Israelis over the next decade. So much for Cunninghams wisdom.

“Interestingly, Cunninghams lack of expertise was noted when Cunningham became the US Ambassador to Israel. (See New US Envoy To Israel Announced, by Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, July 2, 2008: One official noted that Cunningham, although he did deal with Middle East issues at the UN, is not considered a Middle East expert.)

“William Harrop (Ambassador 1992 May 1993) revealed his anti-Israel and left-wing prejudices during a recent interview, in which Harrop proclaimed that Israeli occupation is the principal problem. Harrop ignored that the real problem is Palestinian-Arabs unrelenting goal of destroying Israel. (An Interview With William C. Harrop, by Maria Livingston, Foreign Service Journal, Sept. 2015.)

“Interestingly, during the same interview, Harrop admitted that he had no experience in the Middle East prior to what he called his surprising appointment as US Ambassador to Israel. Harrop further admitted: Im not sure I did all that well there, to be honest. After admitting to his own lack of qualifications and the poor job he did as US Ambassador to Israel, it is the height of audacity for Harrop to now try to pass judgment on an Ambassador-nominee with far more knowledge of Middle East issues than Harrop had.

“Harrop also noted during his Foreign Service Journal interview that the US Ambassador post to Israel is perhaps less important than ambassadorships to other countries, because much of the work is done in personal telephone calls between the US president or the Secretary of State and the prime minister, so youre often paddling about trying to catch up on whats happening instead of being the one who makes things happen.

“In another interview on August 24, 1993, for The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project, Harrop repeatedly referred to Likud as hard right; complained that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tried to justify his settlement policy; further condemned Likud as disingenuous about the peace process and not serious about negotiations . . . which I think in retrospect was reprehensible; and criticized the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as an entity that was set up to rationalize the world of Jewish groups in the US.

“During the same interview, Harrop also excused former Secretary of State James Bakers Fk the Jews remark as merely the kind of thing that politicians say privately. And yet now, Harrop hypocritically condemns Ambassador-nominee David Friedman for far less egregious remarks said as a private citizen.

“And as mentioned above, Harrop joined in promoting the dangerous Iran deal in 2015.

“Accordingly, the letter criticizing Ambassador-nominee Friedman, signed by these five biased former ambassadors, deserves no credence. In fact, the letter deserves our repudiation and disgust.”

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David Friedman’s critics are hostile to Israel – Arutz Sheva

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February 19, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Canadians at odds with their government on Israel – rabble.ca

As the future of Israeli Jews and Palestinians spirals down into an inevitable and inexorable apartheid struggle, Canadians are being denied their fundamental right in a democracy. That is the right to an honest and frank debate about one of the most important issues faced by the international community — the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian land and the brutal suppression of Palestinian human rights.

It’s not that Canadians don’t care or don’t try to inform themselves. It’s that both the media and federal governments are loath to even talk about it. With these two institutions maintaining a steadfast silence there can be no genuine debate. And so we betray both Israelis and Palestinians by condemning them to a future of violence.

For the past 40 years the governments in Ottawa have revealed an abject cowardice when it comes to any effective action to promote peace. While on the books Canada is committed to a “two-state” solution our total failure to act means that that this solution is now hanging by a thread. The most recent madness coming out of the Netanyahu government is the “land grab” law — its popular name in Israel. It empowers the state to legalize the illegal settler outposts retroactively and could be used to annex the West Bank. It will, if ever used, have catastrophic results.

At least that is the opinion of most commentators in Israel, across Europe and among EU governments — even Germany. In Canada the best we could do was a buried 152-word Global Affairs news release five days after the fact saying our government is “deeply concerned” and calling the law “unhelpful.” It is pathetic and irresponsible.

Surveying attitudes

It is hardly new but we can now say with some certainty something we could not say until yesterday with the release of a new public opinion survey, conducted by EKOS and Associates, exploring Canadian attitudes towards Israel and Canadian government policy. The poll was commissioned by a coalition of organizations and individuals (including me).

The survey is critically important because the carte blanche, pro-Israeli government policy of federal governments (Conservative and Liberal) is built on a foundation of untested assumptions about Canadian attitudes. The conventional wisdom, conveniently promoted by the government, the Israeli lobby, and many in the media, is that Canadians are massively sympathetic to Israel.

That’s convenient but quite false. Rather than expressing an uncritically positive view of Israel, Canadians demonstrate the opposite. Of those expressing a view, 46 per cent expressed a negative view while 28 per cent expressed a positive view (26 per cent had neither). As with all the survey questions, when results were broken down by party preference, Conservative Party supporters were radical outliers in favour of Israel with a 58 per cent positive view. The average for supporters of the other four parties was 11 per cent positive and 63 per cent negative.

When asked whether or not they thought the government was biased towards Israel or Palestinians, 61 per cent said pro-Israel and 16 per cent said pro-Palestinian (23 per cent detected no bias). Again, remove the Conservative voter from the mix and 74 per cent of other-party supporters see a pro-Israel bias and 9 per cent pro-Palestinian.

With supporters of the Liberals, NDP, Bloc and Green Party all obviously open to a shift in government policy towards justice for Palestinians, what are they afraid of? The answer is easy: Israel enjoys a plethora of well-funded and aggressive lobby groups in Canada ready to mount instant and personal campaigns against any criticism of Israel. B’nai Brith Canada, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA),the World Zionist Congress, Canadian Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, and Jewish Federations across the country have huge influence over politicians, government officials, universities and media.

A powerful lobby

Any politician or political party that dares raise any criticism of Israel can expect over-the-top denunciations that, no matter how ridiculous, force them to defend themselves — and inevitably leave some with doubts. One example was B’nai Brith’s attack on the Green Party’s former justice critic, Dimitri Lascaris (another sponsor of the EKOS poll), with this website headline: “Green Party Justice Critic Advocates on Behalf of Terrorists.” Lascaris was the main advocate for having the Green Party support the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) campaign.

CIJA in particular has enormous resources — a staff of 50 spread across the country, and very deep pockets — with which it can monitor media, demonize critics, promote policies to politicians and their advisers, and offer free tours to Israel to opinion-leaders. These lobby organizations all create the same false narratives: that Israel is democratic, that the BDS campaign seeks to destroy Israel, and, perhaps most offensive and intimidating, that any effective criticism of Israel is part of the “new anti-Semitism.”

One of the most encouraging revelations in the new survey is the fact that the vast majority of Canadians reject this notion. When asked, “Is criticism of the Israeli Government necessarily anti-Semitic,” 91 per cent of respondents said no. Strip out the Conservative voters and the number is 98 per cent. Though the sample of Jewish respondents was small, a clear majority of religious (78 per cent) and ethnic Jews (93 per cent) rejected this idea.

CIJA’s credibility with politicians and the media is based on its completely unsupported claim that it speaks for Canadian Jews. This poll at least suggests just how shaky that claim is. It is not surprising that CIJA, with all its resources, has never conducted (or at least released) a poll on Canadian Jews’ attitudes towards the Israeli government or towards Canadian Middle-East policy. What are they afraid of? Our survey suggests the answer. Any poll would reveal a deep divide in the Jewish community regarding Israel and that would undermine CIJA’s influence.

In the meantime the Liberals and the NDP should overcome their unfounded fear of lobby groups and listen to their supporters. The Green Party just released the results of its poll of members on the issue: 90 per cent backed “Measures to pressure the government of Israel to preserve the two-state solution.” In other words, government sanctions. It’s a start. Now, will the NDP poll its members and change its policies?

Murray Dobbin has been a journalist, broadcaster, author and social activist for 40 years. He writes rabble’s State of the Nation column.

PMO Photo by Adam Scotti

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Canadians at odds with their government on Israel – rabble.ca

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Letter: US should stop supporting Israel – The Columbian

A A

Israel, one of the richest nations in the world, has received more aid, since 1948, from the U.S. than any other country, with no accountability.

We have supported this brutal occupation, which has enabled Israel to steal more land, farms and homes and build more settlements, breaking all international law. We have, for many decades, paid them $3.1 billion a year or $8 million a day.

Other nations have been highly critical, but the U.S has stubbornly refused to speak up to the strong Israeli lobby that continues to have legislators in their control. After the Holocaust, sympathy was high, but the Palestinians had nothing to do with the Jewish peoples suffering. However, Palestinians are murdered, generations-old olive trees uprooted, thousands imprisoned, including children with no representation or visitation rights for parents. Homes are bulldozed or bombed and homeowners are often murdered or tortured for even objecting. Food and water are rationed.

Palestinians are humiliated and travel is restricted at checkpoints for hours. I urge you to consult Jewish Voice for Peace or FOSNA, two groups that work for peace in Palestine/Israel. Also, please ask your legislators to stop supporting Israel with billions of dollars.

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Letter: US should stop supporting Israel – The Columbian

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South Africa: Cosatu On Trial for Its Support for the Palestinian People – AllAfrica.com

press release

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is effectively on trial for its international solidarity and specifically its support for the Palestinian people.

In 2009 Israel attacked the Palestinian Gaza Strip killing over 1400 people including more than 300 children. Israel was also accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. During the attacks COSATU joined civil society as well as members of various faiths including progressive members of our Jewish community in protesting against those barbaric attacks. One of the many protests was held at the head office of the SA Zionist Federation – the SA Zionist Federation together with other members of the Israeli lobby had, at the time, publicly defended the Israeli attacks on the Gaza strip and the Israeli massacre against Palestinians.

Linked to the global protests against the Israeli attacks against Palestinians, COSATU dockworkers belonging to SATAWU in Durban had refused to offload cargo from an Israeli ship. COSATU was invited to provide a lecture at Wits University on this heroic act of workers and what it means for the global struggle against Apartheid, oppression and human rights which was disrupted by Israeli supporters with threats and abuse.

Since then, because of its practical support of the Palestinian people, COSATU has been a victim of a sustained attacks by the Israeli lobby, particularly, the SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). At the time, COSATU received abusive mails, emails, phone calls and other threats from Israeli supporters, two such messages directed at COSATU from that time are reproduced here:

“Even when all the monkeys in Cosatu have died of aids (even those who were cured by raping babies), I still won’t return [to SA]. Jews should be in Israel supporting Israel – Friends – make Aliya! Do it!”

“Let us bombard the COSATU offices with phone calls to let them know our anger. It is hardr [sic] to ignore phone calls than e mails. Maybe we should start a policy that Israel-loyal Jews refuse to employ COSATU members in retaliation for COSATU’s evil actions.”

Now, with pressure from the Israeli lobby, COSATU and its International Secretary have been taken to court being falsely accused of anti-Semitism and hate speech, we believe, as a means to silence the federation and all supporters of freedom for the Palestinian people.

Our solidarity with the Palestinian people and indeed with all oppressed peoples is not an individual position but an organizational position. In fact, our internationalism is built into our movement and stretches across the ANC, SACP and COSATU alliance and all our MDM components. We view the attacks by the Israeli lobby as an attack on the movement as a whole and will defend our right to be critical of Israel’s policies against the Palestinian people.

Following a complaint by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies to the SA Human Rights Commission, a finding was made but COSATU objected both on content and process. In particular COSATU highlighted that the SAHRC, in its hastiness to produce a finding, did not adhere to the Determination of the procedure contemplated in section 9(6) of the South African Human Rights Commission Act. No 54 of 1994

We are even more worried now that its seems that the SAHRC has essentially out-sourced its work to the SA Jewish Board of Deputies who in fact has gone on record as saying that they are “assisting the SAHRC’s counsel in preparing their case by providing the necessary information and expert witness testimony. In fact, in today’s court proceedings, the pro-Israeli expert witness who was brought in from the UK claimed that he did not know who paid for his plane ticket to come to Johannesburg – we wonder if he was paid for by the Israeli lobby and the SA JBD?

The case against COSATU is currently being heard at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg. Hearings will end on Tuesday the 14th of February. Members of the public are welcome to attend and to send messages of support to COSATU.

Issued by COSATU

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Hell Storm Documentary Post Hitler Nazi Germany 1945 — Hiter Nazi Revisionism

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BIG VICTORY!! We got this video censored in 25% of the world’s countries by relentlessly pressuring YouTube and Governments around the world to Censor and suppress this video. 25% down, 75% to go, help us get this video deleted, blocked and banned everywhere in the world, we have had great success so far!!

Please contact YouTube and get this video deleted, before someone uses www.ClipConverter.cc to download this video and upload it to all the video sharing web sites on the Internet.

Link: Hell Storm documentary

Please go to IMDB, create an account and write a negative review of this film http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4661358/

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February 4, 2017   Posted in: Abraham Foxman, AIPAC, Anti Racism, Anti-Defamation League, Anti-Jewish, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Semitism Lobby, Anti-Semitism News, Ashkenazi, B'nai B'rith, Censorship, Discrimination News, Hate Crime Hoax, Hate Crimes, Hate Speech, Hitler, Holocaust, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Holocaust Revisionism, Hush Crimes, Israel, Israeli Lobby, Jewish, Jewish American Heritage Month, Jewish Extremism, Jewish Heritage, Jewish History, Jewish Lobby, Jewish Racism, Jewish Supremacism, Jews, John de Nugent, Judaism, Misc, Multicultural News, Neo Nazi, Race Relations, Racism News, Racist News, Simon Wiesenthal, Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC, White Nationalism, White Power, White Privilege, White Racism, White Supremacism, World War II, Zionism  Comments Closed

The Holocaust What’s True and What is False?

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Israel lobby in the United Kingdom – Wikipedia

The Israel lobby in the United Kingdom (also called the Zionist lobby)[1] is the diverse coalition of those who, as individuals and as groups, seek to influence the foreign policy of the United Kingdom to strengthen bilateral ties with Israel, or in support of Zionism, Israel, or the specific policies of its government. The term Israel lobby itself has been subject to debate and criticism over its clarity and exact definition.

Such lobbying in the United Kingdom is far less formalised than in the United States, where lobbying groups or associations may constitute formal entities, and where lobbying in the US with regard to support for Israel is far greater.[citation needed]

What came to be known as “Christian Zionism” emerged in England in the early 19th century when Restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land and futuristic interpretation of apocalyptic texts merged. In 1839 the evangelical Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury called Westminster Parliament to support creation of a Jewish state in Palestine.[2] During the 1840s Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston supported a “Jewish entity” allied to the Ottoman Empire as a counterweight to Egypt.[3]

British Journalist Geoffrey Wheatcroft writes that perhaps the “first lobbyist on behalf of the land of Israel” was Theodor Herzl who, after publishing his book The Jewish State in 1896, and organizing the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in 1897, met in person British Cabinet ministers and other European officials.[4]Russian Zionist Chaim Weizmann began the process of convincing Arthur James Balfour, a British Lord, that Palestine should be the Jewish national home and the “British Zionist movement began actively lobbying the British government.”[5] The British Palestine Committee in Manchester also “lobbied for the mandate and Jewish rights in Palestine.”[6]

Some groups like the influential Board of Deputies of British Jews and Anglo-Jewish Association were the “institutional stronghold of the anti-Zionist camp” and formed a lobby committee to oppose the efforts of Weizmann and his allies.[7] In 1917 Weizmann and a small group of Zionists “in a brilliant exercise of sustained persuasion, lobbying, and influence” persuaded the British government to create the Balfour Declaration[8] which supported “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”[4] (Weizmann later became the first President of the State of Israel.)[8] However, leaders of Board of Deputies of British Jews and of the Anglo-Jewish Association (who at the time were non-Zionist) considered the Balfour Declaration a veritable calamity that would stamp “the Jews as strangers in their native lands.”[4]

According to the author Ritchie Ovendale, Britain, which held the British Mandate of Palestine ratified by the League of Nations after World War I, abandoned its Zionist sympathies “which had been secured by the Zionist lobby” because of fears of coming war with Nazi Germany. In 1939 Britain limited Jewish immigration to Palestine, thereby becoming to Zionists “the principal enemy.” In 1942 Zionists shifted their focus to influencing the United States through use of the “Zionist vote.”[9]

Various contemporary organizations in the United Kingdom seek to influence British government policy towards Israel.

The major British political parties include “Friends of Israel” groups which support the State of Israel.

Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel was the first such group formed. Its first objective is “to maximise support for the State of Israel within the Liberal Democrats and Parliament.”[10]

Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) is affiliated with the Conservative Party and states on its website that it is “one of the fastest growing political lobby groups.” It lists its objectives as supporting Israel, promoting conservatism, fighting terrorism, combating antisemitism and peaceful co-existence in the Middle East.[11] Iain Dale and Brian Brivati in The Daily Telegraph have described it as “a highly effective lobby group,” writing that its Director, Stuart Polak, has “done more than most to promote Israel’s case to the right of British politics.”[12]

Founded in 1957, Labour Friends of Israel is a group within the Labour Party which in 2003 described itself as a “lobby group working within the Labour Party to promote the State of Israel”.[13] On its present website it describes itself as seeking “to promote a strong bilateral relationship between Britain and Israel.”[14] It organizes visits British politicians to visit Israel and meet with Israeli politicians and advocates on Israel’s behalf among Labour Party members.[15] Both Labour Party Prime Ministers Tony Blair (19972007) and Gordon Brown (2007-2010) have been members of Labour Friends of Israel,[16][17] and the former leader of the Labour Party (Ed Miliband) has described himself as a “friend of Israel”.[18]

However, current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been particularly vocal on Middle East foreign policy. He is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, regularly campaigning against conflict in Gaza and what the organisation considers to be apartheid in Israel.[19] Corbyn has also supported boycotting and sanctioning arms dealings in Israel, saying on the Electronic Intifada: “I think we have to push robustly for the limitation of arms supplies … Israel is after all facing an investigation … for war crimes, [at the International Criminal Court] as indeed are the Hamas forces on a much different or lesser scale.”[20]

All-Party Groups are defined by the House of Commons as “relatively informal” groups whose members include “backbench Members of the House of Commons and Lords” and sometimes ministers and non-parliamentarians. They are classified as subject or country groups.[21] Being cross-party, All-Party Groups are more talking-shops than lobbies trying to influence government policies. They are registered only “to control the extent to which groups use the House’s facilities and status”[22]

The “All-Party Britain-Israel Parliamentary Group” is an All-Party Group[23] registered with the UK Parliament. Its stated purpose is “To create a better understanding of Israel, and to foster and promote links between Britain and Israel”. The chair in the parliament dissolved on 30 March 2015 was Louise Ellman..

The Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) seeks to present Israel’s case to journalists.[24]The Guardian has described it as an “influential Jewish lobby group”.[25][26]

The London-based Jewish Chronicle reported that Brian Kerner, former chair of Joint Israel Appeal argued that there was “the need for a body able to orchestrate British Jewry’s political and public relations” after the year 2000 outbreak of the Second Intifada. The day after it began, fifty Jewish leaders met with the Israeli ambassador and “raised an initial 250,000 fund for pro-Israel lobbying and public relations.” BICOM was founded as a consequence. The article also noted that “a debate goes on in the community’s upper echelons over whether BICOM should remain a mainly-behind-the-scenes player focussing on media or a more upfront pro-Israel lobby similar to the American Aipac…”[27]

According to a 2002 article in The Guardian Bicom and the Board of Deputies of British Jews had “adopted aggressive media strategies to defend Israel and attack its critics in Britain.” In 2002 leaders of the British Jewish community called in two high level American strategists “to conduct research into the extent of hostility to Israel in Britain with a view to the British Jewish community launching a big public relations drive.” In particular, focus groups were “said to have found particular hostility among professional and academic groups.”[28] The American paper The Forward reported that in 2005 Steve J. Rosen, then American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy director, led an ambitious and “semisecret” effort to start similar pro-Israel lobbying organizations in the United Kingdom due to rising antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment.[29] In early 2008, The Jewish Chronicle reported that a new, yet unnamed London-based organisation would examine whether Israel received fair media coverage, but that it would not compete with BICOM.[24]

In the autumn of 2008 a senior Israeli government official shared his opinions on competition between BICOM, which he said wants to maintain its primary role in the UK, and the US-based Israel Project. He stated that BICOM charged that the Israel Project doesn’t understand how to work with British journalists and said “We don’t want to get into this. We work with both organisations.” The Israel Project denied there was competition and BICOM declined to comment saying “We don’t respond to speculation.”[30]

Christian Zionist groups in Britain continue the tradition of supporting Israel as part of the fulfillment of prophecy. Such groups often are criticized for their beliefs (per the Book of Ezekiel and the Book of Zechariah) that only those Jews who convert to Christianity will be spared a fiery death when Jesus returns.[31][32] Christian Friends of Israel, UK explicitly rejects such a view in its “Foundation Principles.”[33] Other such groups include the Church’s Ministry Among Jewish People (The Israel Trust of the Anglican Church), Bridges for Peace, Christian Zionists for Israel UK and International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, UK.

Party-political and other groups exist which promote good relations between the UK and many countries, in general without controversy. The expression of friendship with Israel arguably sparks negative responses because of the hostility of many Arab and Islamic states, and many individual Arabs and Muslims, to the existence of Israel per se – a situation which exists in respect of no other country.

In a September 2001 column in The Observer about the September 11 attacks in the United States, Richard Ingrams noted “the reluctance throughout the media to contemplate the Israeli factor” and, commenting on Britain, cited “pressure from the Israeli lobby in this country that many, even normally outspoken journalists, are reluctant even to refer to such matters.” He also noted their reluctance to address issues he had mentioned in past columns related to Lord Levy, the Labour Party and to the “close business links with Israel” of press magnates Rupert Murdoch and Conrad Black.[34] Earlier in August, Times journalist, Sam Kiley, resigned from the newspaper as he claimed his work was severely censored by senior executives due to the Zionist sympathies of Rupert Murdoch.[35]

In 2002, “Palestine is Still the Issue”, made by the documentary film maker John Pilger, was shown on ITV. The Board of Deputies of British Jews, Conservative Friends of Israel and the Israeli Embassy expressed “outrage” and, according to Pilger, demanded a “pro-Israel” film. Pilger said the BBC would not have “dared to incur the wrath of one of the most influential lobbies in this country” by showing the film, citing comments written by Tim Llewellyn, the BBC’s former Middle East correspondent, that the BBC continues to “duck” the issue. Pilger stated this was “one example of pressure exerted on British journalists from Zionists and the Israeli embassy.”[36]

In a December 2007 column, after the 2007 Labour party donation scandal (“Donorgate”) broke, Assaf Uni of Haaretz wrote that there was concern in the Jewish community about “conspiracy theories regarding a ‘Jewish plot’ in the United Kingdom, and the role of the pro-Israel lobby there.” In late 2007, it was revealed that David Abrahams, who was deputy chair of Labour Friends of Israel until 2002, had made secret and illegal donations through junior employees of 600,000 pounds sterling (approximately $1.2 million) to the Labour Party. Abrahams, “a Jewish millionaire,” admitted in The Jewish Chronicle that he concealed his activity because “I didn’t want Jewish money and the Labour Party being put together.” The Telegraph ran a photograph of Abrahams with Israeli former ambassador to Britain, Zvi Heifetz, and “insinuated that Israel was the source of the illegal campaign contributions.” According to an article in Haaretz, several in the media have maintained there was a connection between money donated by Zionist Jews and the pro-Israel policy of British prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, told The Forward “Clearly there is a potential for it to turn against us.”[15][16]

Writing about the scandal, journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown asked in The Independent about the roles of the Labour and Conservative Friends of Israel groups, given that former Labour Friends leader David Abrahams involvement. She questioned the role in Labour victories of John Mendelsohn, noting that Mendelsohn is “a passionate Zionist and infamous lobbyist, described by the Jewish Chronicle as “one of the best-connected power brokers”.” She stated her assumption that Labour Friends of Israel plays a part in shaping British foreign policies in the Middle East. She also questioned the donations and “back-room influence” of Labour Friends of India and Muslim Friends of Labour.[37]

In 2009, a documentary by the journalist Peter Oborne was shown in the Channel 4 Dispatches series which aimed to expose the influence of the Israel Lobby within British politics[38] and alongside James Jones wrote a pamphlet investigating which groups make up the pro-Israel lobby, how they operate, and how they exert influence.[39] Whilst Middle East editor, Ian Black, said the lobby was “bankrolling Tories.”[40]

In 2013, journalists Tom Mills, Hilary Aked, Tom Griffin and David Miller sought to put the UK pro-Israel Lobby in context, calling it “a transnational phenomenon, fostered by transnational organisations many headquartered in Israel and funded in large part by transnational corporate actors.”[41] In 2014 Stuart Littlewood called them “the enemy within”, and said that “BDS must expose our MPs’ unnatural devotion to a foreign power that practises apartheid, defies international law and terrorises children”.[42]

David Rich, who denies there are UK “AIPAC-style” lobbies, criticised former Labour Member of Parliament (MP) Tam Dalyell who in 2003 stated that former prime minister and party leader Tony Blair was unduly influenced by a “cabal of Jewish advisers” in forming his Middle East policy towards Iraq, Syria and Iran.[43] Dalyell initially named several influential British advisors of Jewish heritage,[44] but later focused on Middle East envoy, Lord Levy and mostly Jewish advisors to US President George W. Bush. Eric Moonman, president of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland and a former Labour MP, said he was seeking advice on whether there was a case for referral of Dalyell to the Commons’ commission for racial equality.[45][46]

The former Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament, Baroness Jenny Tonge said in 2006: “The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the western world, its financial grips. I think they’ve probably got a grip on our party.” An all-party group of Lords led by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, said her “irresponsible and inappropriate” comments “evoked a classic anti-Jewish conspiracy theory.”[47][48] Defending her comments, Tonge said that Walt and Mearsheimer’s article “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” that appeared in the March 23, 2006 issue of The London Review of Books provided extensive research supporting her assertion that the “‘Israel lobby’ had a disproportionate voice in Anglo-American foreign policy.”[47] Tonge was reprimanded by the Liberal Party leader Menzies Campbell, who commented “I defend absolutely your right to express your views on the Middle East, including legitimate criticism of the state of Israel. But I do not believe that the remarks you used fell within that category.” He added that the remarks had “clear anti-Semitic connotations”[49]Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was quoted as saying: “If someone makes comments that are so at odds with what the party feels, and hopefully at odds with common decency, then one would hope that they are no longer made welcome in the party itself.”[47]

In 2006 Chris Davies, a Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for the northwest of England wrote to a pro-Israel constituent that she “enjoyed wallowing in her own filth.” In a later message to her he complained about Israel’s “racist policies of apartheid” and stated “I shall tell them that I intend to speak out against this oppression at every opportunity, and I shall denounce the influence of the Jewish lobby that seems to have far too great a say over the political decision-making process in many countries.”[50] As a consequence of the outcry raised by the attack on the constituent, Davies resigned soon after as leader of the Liberal Democrats group in the European Parliament.[51]

In October 2007 all speakers withdrew in protest from another Oxford Union debate on the one-state solution. One of the speakers, Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian research fellow at the University of Exeter and vice-chair of CAABU (the Council for Arab-British Understanding), wrote on The Guardian’s blog that “the newest and least attractive import from America, following on behind Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Friends, is the pro-Israel lobby.” She states the Oxford Union withdrew its invitation to speak to American Jewish scholar and Israel critic Norman Finkelstein, asserting it was “apparently intimidated by threats from various pro-Israel groups.”[52] Another speaker, Avi Shlaim, a Professor of International Relations at St Antony’s College, Oxford, wrote that the rest of the original speakers withdrew “as a protest against the shabby treatment of our academic colleague and the violation of the principle of free speech at the Oxford Union.”[53]

Karmi wrote later in 2007 that legal and other threats against Britons who sought to boycott Israeli universities and against the Royal Society of Medicine for inviting psychiatrist Dr. Derek Summerfield to a conference. She stated the threats succeeded because “Britain is different, naively innocent in the face of US-style assaults on its scholars and institutions. No wonder that those who have been attacked give in so quickly, nervous of something they do not understand.”[52]

In October 2007 Amjad Barham, head of the Council of the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees, wrote that the “Israel lobby in the UK” was behind the decision of the University and College Union (UCU) to cancel the UK speaking tour of some Palestinian academics. He asserted Palestinian academic unions could “detect the not-so-hidden hand of the lobby in this latest episode of stifling debate on issues pertaining to Israeli policies and the complicity of the Israeli academy in perpetuating them.”[54]

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Israel lobby in the United Kingdom – Wikipedia

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Israel lobby in the United States – Wikipedia

The Israel lobby (at times called the Zionist lobby) is the diverse coalition of those who, as individuals and as groups, seek to influence the foreign policy of the United States in support of Zionism, Israel or the specific policies of its government.[1] The lobby consists of Jewish-American secular and religious groups. The most famous and visible group within the Israel lobby is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC and other groups within the Israel lobby influence American public policy in a variety of ways such as through education, responding to criticism of Israel, and putting forth arguments in support of Israel. The Israel lobby is known for its success in encouraging U.S. lawmakers to support the policies that it supports.

A Christian belief in the return of the Jews to the Holy Land has roots in the US, which pre-date both the establishment of the Zionist movement and the establishment of Israel. Lobbying by these groups, to influence the US government in ways similar to Zionist ideology, dates back to at least the 19th century.

In 1844, Christian restorationist George Bush, a professor of Hebrew at New York University and distantly related to the Bush political family, published a book entitled The Valley of Vision; or, The Dry Bones of Israel Revived.[2] In it he denounced the thralldom and oppression which has so long ground them (the Jews) to the dust, and called for elevating the Jews to a rank of honorable repute among the nations of the earth by restoring the Jews to the land of Israel where the bulk would be converted to Christianity.[3] This, according to Bush, would benefit not only the Jews, but all of mankind, forming a link of communication between humanity and God. It will blaze in notoriety…”. It will flash a splendid demonstration upon all kindreds and tongues of the truth.[4] The book sold about a million copies in the antebellum period.[5] The Blackstone Memorial of 1891 was also a significant Christian Restorationist petition effort, led by William Eugene Blackstone, to persuade President Benjamin Harrison to pressure the Ottoman Sultan for the delivery of Palestine to the Jews.[6][7]

Starting in 1914, the involvement of Louis Brandeis and his brand of American Zionism made Jewish Zionism a force on the American scene for the first time, under his leadership it had increased ten-fold to about 200,000.[8] As chair of the American Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs, Brandeis raised millions of dollars to relieve Jewish suffering in war-torn Europe, and from that time became the financial center for the world Zionist movement.[9] The British Balfour Declaration of 1917 additionally advanced the Zionist movement and gave it official legitimacy. The US Congress passed the first joint resolution stating its support for a homeland in Palestine for the Jewish people on September 21, 1922.[10] The same day, the Mandate of Palestine was approved by the Council of the League of Nations.

Zionist lobbying in the United States aided the creation of the State of Israel in 1947-48. The preparation of and voting for the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine which preceded the Israeli Declaration of Independence, was met with an outpouring of Jewish American support and advocacy in Washington.[11] President Truman later noted, “The facts were that not only were there pressure movements around the United Nations unlike anything that had been seen there before, but that the White House, too, was subjected to a constant barrage. I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance. The persistence of a few of the extreme Zionist leadersactuated by political motives and engaging in political threatsdisturbed and annoyed me.”[12]

In the 1950s, the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs was created by Isaiah L. “Si” Kenen. During the Eisenhower administration, Israel’s concerns were not at the forefront. Other problems in the Middle East and USSR were paramount, and Israel’s U.S. supporters were not as active as they had been. AZCPA formed a pro-Israel lobbying committee to counter rumors that the Eisenhower administration was going to investigate the American Zionist Council.[13] AZCPA’s Executive Committee decided to change their name from American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs to American Israel Public Affairs Committee.[14]

The relationship between Israel and the government of the United States began with strong popular support for Israel and governmental reservations about the wisdom of creating a Jewish state; formal inter-government relations remained chilly until 1967.[15] Before 1967, the government of the United States provided some aid but was generally neutral towards Israel.[16] Since 1979, Israel has received the most foreign assistance. The roughly $3 billion in assistance to Israel comprises a small percentage of the roughly $3 trillion US budget.[17] AIPAC “has grown into a 100,000-member national grassroots movement” and claims that it is America’s “pro-Israel lobby.”[18]

The pro-Israel lobby is composed of formal and informal components.

Support for Israel is strong among American Christians of many denominations.[19] Informal Christian support for Israel includes a broad range varieties support for Israel ranging from the programming and news coverage on the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Christian Television Network to the more informal support of the annual Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem.[20]

Informal lobbying also includes the activities of Jewish groups. Some scholars view Jewish lobbying on behalf of Israel as one of many examples of a US ethnic group lobbying on behalf of an ethnic homeland,[21] which has met with a degree of success largely because Israel is strongly supported by a far larger and more influential Christian movement that shares its goals.[22] In a 2006 article in the London Review of Books, Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt wrote:

In its basic operations, the Israel Lobby is no different from the farm lobby, steel or textile workers unions, or other ethnic lobbies. There is nothing improper about American Jews and their Christian allies attempting to sway US policy: the Lobbys activities are not a conspiracy of the sort depicted in tracts like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. For the most part, the individuals and groups that comprise it are only doing what other special interest groups do, but doing it very much better. By contrast, pro-Arab interest groups, in so far as they exist at all, are weak, which makes the Israel Lobbys task even easier.[23]

Bard defines the Jewish “informal lobby” as the indirect means through which “Jewish voting behavior and American public opinion” influence “U.S. Middle East policy”.[24] Bard describes the motivation underlying the informal lobby as follows:

“American Jews recognize the importance of support for Israel because of the dire consequences that could follow from the alternative. Despite the fact that Israel is often referred to now as the fourth most powerful country in the world, the perceived threat to Israel is not military defeat, it is annihilation. At the same time, American Jews are frightened of what might happen in the United States if they do not have political power.”[24]

The formal component of the Israel lobby consists of organized lobby groups, political action committees (PACs), think tanks and media watchdog groups. The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks all lobbies and PACs, describes the background of those Pro-Israel as, A nationwide network of local political action committees, generally named after the region their donors come from, supplies much of the pro-Israel money in US politics. Additional funds also come from individuals who bundle contributions to candidates favored by the PACs. The donors’ unified goal is to build stronger US-Israel relations and to support Israel in its negotiations and armed conflicts with its Arab neighbors.[25]

According to Mitchell Bard, there are, three key formal lobbying groups:

Christians United for Israel give every pro-Israel Christian and Christian church the opportunity to stand up and speak up for Israel. According to the group’s founder and head, Pastor John Hagee, the members ask the leadership of our government to stop putting pressure on Israel to divide Jerusalem and the land of Israel.[26]

In his 2006 book The Restoration of Israel: Christian Zionism in Religion, Literature, and Politics, sociologist Gerhard Falk describes the evangelical Christian groups that lobby on behalf of Israel as being so numerous that “it is not possible to list” them all, although many are linked via the National Association of Evangelicals.[20] It is a “powerful religious lobby” that actively supports Israel in Washington.[20]

According to the author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, Michelle Goldberg, “Evangelical Christians have substantial influence on US Middle East Policy, more so than some better-known names such as AIPAC.”[28]

According to Mitchell Bard, the two Jewish groups aim to present policy makers with unified and representative messages via the aggregation and filtering of the diversity of opinions held by smaller pro-Israel lobby groups and the wider American Jewish community.[24] The diverse spectrum of opinions held by American Jewry is reflected in the many formal pro-Israel groups, and as such some analysts make a distinction within the Israel lobby between right-leaning and left-leaning groups. This diversity became more pronounced following Israels acceptance of the Oslo Accords, which split liberal universalists and hard-core Zionists — the Orthodox community and right wing Jews.[29] This division mirrored a similar split for and against the Oslo process in Israel, and led to a parallel rift within the pro-Israel lobby.[30][31] During the 2008 election campaign, Barack Obama implicitly noted differences within the lobby in his comment that “there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says, ‘unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel, that youre anti-Israel,’ and that cant be the measure of our friendship with Israel.” Commentary Magazine, notes It was an odd choice of wordsLikud has not been Israels governing party for more than three yearsbut what Obama clearly meant was that an American politician should not have to express fealty to the most hard-line ideas relating to Israels security to be considered a supporter of Israels.[32]

US foreign policy scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, focusing almost exclusively on Jewish groups, define the core of the lobby to include AIPAC, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Anti-Defamation League and Christians United for Israel.[33] Other key organizations which they state work to benefit Israel, in many cases by influencing US foreign policy, include the American Jewish Congress, the Zionist Organization of America, the Israel Policy Forum, the American Jewish Committee, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Americans for a Safe Israel, American Friends of Likud, Mercaz-USA, and Hadassah.[34] Fifty-one of the largest and most important come together in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, whose self-described mission includes forging diverse groups into a unified force for Israels well-being and working to strengthen and foster the special US-Israel relationship[35]

Stephen Zunes, in a response to Mearsheimer and Walt, lists “Americans for Peace Now, the Tikkun Community, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, and the Israel Policy Forum” as “pro-Israel” organizations that, unlike the right-leaning organizations focused on by Mearsheimer and Walt, are opposed to “the occupation, the settlements, the separation wall, and Washington’s unconditional support for Israeli policies.”[36] These organizations, however, are not PACs and therefore, like AIPAC, are prohibited by campaign finance regulations from financially supporting political campaigns of candidates for federal office.

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt state in their controversial bestseller, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, that the tone of the right-leaning component of the Israel lobby results from the influence of the leaders of the two top lobby groups: AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. They go on to list, as right-leaning think tanks associated with the lobby, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Hudson Institute.[1] They also state that the media watchdog group Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) is part of the right-wing component of the lobby.[1]

In The Case for Peace, Alan Dershowitz also of Harvard, argues that the most right-leaning pro-Israel groups in the United States are not Jews at all, but Evangelical Christians. Dershowitz cites “Stand for Israel, an organization devoted to mobilizing Evangelical Christian support for Israel” co-founded by “[f]ormer Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed.”[37] Although the rhetoric of most groups like Stand for Israel is similar to their Jewish-based counterparts, some individuals have based their support on specific biblical passages, thus they have been vulnerable to criticism from Israelis and US Jews for having “ulterior motives” such as the fulfillment of “prerequisite to the Second Coming” or having “better access for proselytizing among Jews.”[37][38]

In April 2008, J Street was established, describing itself as the only federal “pro-peace, pro-Israel” PAC. Its goal is to provide political and financial support to candidates for federal office from US citizens who believe a new direction in US policy will advance US interests in the Middle East and promote real peace and security for Israel. Founded by former President Bill Clinton advisor Jeremy Ben Ami and policy analyst Daniel Levy and supported by prominent Israeli politicians and high-ranking officers (see Letter of support from prominent Israeli leaders), J Street supports diplomatic solutions over military ones, including with Iran; multilateral over unilateral approaches to conflict resolution; and dialog over confrontation with a wide range of countries and actors.[citation needed]

As with all interest groups, it matters what they are asking for and when they are asking for it.[39]

The means via which Israel lobby groups exert influence are similar to the means via which other similar lobbies, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the AARP (formerly known as “American Association of Retired Persons”), exert influence. A number of commentators have asserted that the Israel lobby has undue or pervasive influence over U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.[citation needed] However, other commentators note that no similar volume of criticism exists concerning the NRA, AARP or other major political lobbies, and claim that much of this criticism is based on antisemitic notions of a Jewish conspiracy.[40]

According to Bard,[24] “Jews have devoted themselves to politics with almost religious fervor.” He cites that “Jews have the highest percentage voter turnout of any ethnic group” and that of the American Jewish population “roughly 94 percent live in thirteen key electoral college states” which alone “are worth enough electoral votes to elect the president. If you add the non-Jews shown by opinion polls to be as pro-Israel as Jews, it is clear Israel has the support of one of the largest veto groups in the country.” Bard goes on to say that for United States congressmen “there are no benefits to candidates taking an openly anti-Israel stance and considerable costs in both loss of campaign contributions and votes from Jews and non-Jews alike.”[24]

“Most important fact about the Jewish vote in America”, according to Jeffrey S. Helmreich of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, “lies in the fact that it is a uniquely swayable bloc. […] The issue of support for Israel [by a candidate] has proven capable of spurring a sizable portion of Jews to switch partiesin large enough numbers to tip the scales in national or statewide elections. Moreover, the “Israel swing vote” is especially open to political courtship because, unlike the interests of other minority groups, support for Israel has long been compatible with traditional Republican and Democratic agendas. … On the other hand, being distinctively unsupportive of Israel can significantly hurt a candidate’s chances.”[41][42]

“Political campaign contributions”, writes Mitchell Bard, “are also considered an important means of influence; typically, Jews have been major benefactors.”

According to Bard, objective quantification that the impact of campaign contributions have on “legislative outcomes, particularly with regard to Israel-related issues” is difficult. This is because raw analysis of contributions statistics do not take into account “non-monetary factors” and whether or not “a candidate is pro-Israel because of receiving a contribution, or receives a donation as a result of taking a position in support of Israel.”[24]

AIPAC does not give donations directly to candidates, but those who donate to AIPAC are often important political contributors in their own right. In addition, AIPAC helps connect donors with candidates, especially to the network of pro-Israel political action committees. AIPAC president Howard Friedman says AIPAC meets with every candidate running for Congress. These candidates receive in-depth briefings to help them completely understand the complexities of Israels predicament and that of the Middle East as a whole. We even ask each candidate to author a position paper on their views of the US-Israel relationship so its clear where they stand on the subject.[43]

This process has become more targeted over time according to Bard, “In the past, Jewish contributions were less structured and targeted than other interest groups, but this has changed dramatically as Israel-related PACs have proliferated.”[24] Among politicians considered unfriendly to Israel who AIPAC has helped defeat include Cynthia McKinney, Paul Findley, Earl F. Hilliard, Pete McCloskey, Senators William Fulbright and Roger Jepsen, and Adlai Stevenson III in his campaign for governor of Illinois in 1982.[44] The defeat of Charles H. Percy, Senator for Illinois until 1985, has been attributed to AIPAC-co-ordinated donations to his opponent after he supported the sale of AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia. Donations included $1.1 million on anti-Percy advertising by Michael Goland, who was also a major contributor to AIPAC.[44] Former executive director of AIPAC, Tom Dine, was quoted as saying, “All the Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy. And the American politicians – those who hold public positions now, and those who aspire – got the message”.[45]

A summary of pro-Israel campaign donations for the period of 19902008 collected by Center for Responsive Politics indicates current totals and a general increase in proportional donations to the US Republican party since 1996.[46] The Center for Responsive Politics’ 19902006 data shows that “pro-Israel interests have contributed $56.8 million in individual, group and soft money donations to federal candidates and party committees since 1990.”[47] In contrast, Arab-Americans and Muslim PACs contributed slightly less than $800,000 during the same (19902006) period.[48] In 2006, 60% of the Democratic Partys fundraising and 25% of that for the Republican Party’s fundraising came from Jewish-funded PACs. According to a Washington Post estimate, Democratic presidential candidates depend on Jewish sources for as much as 60% of money raised from private sources.[49]

According to Mitchell Bard, Israel lobbyists also educate politicians by

“taking them to Israel on study missions. Once officials have direct exposure to the country, its leaders, geography, and security dilemmas, they typically return more sympathetic to Israel. Politicians also sometimes travel to Israel specifically to demonstrate to the lobby their interest in Israel. Thus, for example, George W. Bush made his one and only trip to Israel before deciding to run for President in what was widely viewed as an effort to win pro-Israel voters’ support.”[24]

Mearsheimer and Walt state that pro-Israel figures have established a commanding presence at the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). These think tanks are all decidedly pro-Israel and include few, if any, critics of US support for the Jewish state.[50]

In 2002, the Brookings Institution founded the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, named after Haim Saban, an Israeli-American media proprietor, who donated $13 million toward its establishment.[51] Saban has stated of himself, Im a one issue guy, and my issue is Israel,[52] and was described by the New York Times as a tireless cheerleader for Israel.[52] The Centre is directed by AIPACs former deputy director of research, Martin Indyk.

Frontline, an Indian current affairs magazine, asked rhetorically why the administration of George W Bush that seemed “so eager to please [Bush’s] Gulf allies, particularly the Saudis, go out of its way to take the side of Ariel Sharon’s Israel? Two public policy organizations give us a sense of an answer: the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.”[53] Frontline reported that “WINEP tended to toe the line of whatever party came to power in Israel” while “JINSA was the U.S. offshoot of the right-wing Likud Party.”[53] According to Frontline, JINSA had close ties to the administration of George W Bush in that it “draws from the most conservative hawks in the U.S. establishment for its board of directors”[53] including Vice-President Richard Cheney, and Bush administration appointees John Bolton, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Armitage and Elliott Abrams. Jason Vest, writing in the The Nation,[54] alleges that both JINSA and the Center for Security Policy thinktanks are “underwritten by far-right American Zionists” and that they both “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.”

Stephen Zunes writes that “mainstream and conservative Jewish organizations have mobilized considerable lobbying resources, financial contributions from the Jewish community, and citizen pressure on the news media and other forums of public discourse in support of the Israeli government.”[36] Journalist Michael Massing writes that “Jewish organizations are quick to detect bias in the coverage of the Middle East, and quick to complain about it. That’s especially true of late. As The Jewish Daily Forward observed in late April [2002], ‘rooting out perceived anti-Israel bias in the media has become for many American Jews the most direct and emotional outlet for connecting with the conflict 6,000miles away.'”[55]

The Forward related how one individual felt:

“‘There’s a great frustration that American Jews want to do something,’ said Ira Youdovin, executive vice president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis. ‘In 1947, some number would have enlisted in the Haganah, ‘ he said, referring to the pre-state Jewish armed force. ‘There was a special American brigade. Nowadays you can’t do that. The battle here is the hasbarah war,’ Youdovin said, using a Hebrew term for public relations. ‘We’re winning, but we’re very much concerned about the bad stuff.'”[56]

Indicative of the diversity of opinion is a 2003 Boston Globe profile of the CAMERA media watchdog group in which Mark Jurkowitz observes: “To its supporters, CAMERA is figuratively – and perhaps literally – doing God’s work, battling insidious anti-Israeli bias in the media. But its detractors see CAMERA as a myopic and vindictive special interest group trying to muscle its views into media coverage.”[57] A former spokesman for the Israeli Consulate in New York City said that the result of this lobbying of the media was: Of course, a lot of self-censorship goes on. Journalists, editors, and politicians are going to think twice about criticizing Israel if they know they are going to get thousands of angry calls in a matter of hours. The Jewish lobby is good at orchestrating pressure.[58]

In addition to traditional media, Israeli public relations on the internet also is targeted with software called the Megaphone desktop tool, which is designed and promoted by pro-Israel interest groups.[59] Regarding the ‘Megaphone’, the Times Online reported in 2006 that the Israeli Foreign Ministry “ordered trainee diplomats to track websites and chatrooms so that networks of US and European groups with hundreds of thousands of Jewish activists can place supportive messages.”[60] According to a Jerusalem Post article on the ‘Megaphone’, Israel’s Foreign Ministry was “urging supporters of Israel everywhere to become cyberspace soldiers ‘in the new battleground for Israel’s image.'”[61] Christopher Williams wrote for The Register: “However it is used, Megaphone is effectively a high-tech exercise in ballot-stuffing. We’re calling it lobbyware .”[62]

There are a number of organizations that focus on what could be called “pro-Israel activism” on college campuses. With the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2001, these groups have been increasingly visible. In 2002, an umbrella organization, that includes many of these groups, known as the Israel on Campus Coalition was formed as a result of what they felt were “the worrisome rise in anti-Israel activities on college campuses across North America”. The mission of the Israel on Campus Coalition is to “foster support for Israel” and “cultivate an Israel friendly university environment”.[63] Members of the Israel on Campus Coalition include the Zionist Organization of America, AIPAC, Americans for Peace Now, the Anti-defamation League, Kesher, the Union of Progressive Zionists (Ameinu and Meretz USA/Partners for Progressive Israel), and a number of other organizations. There has been at least one conflict among these groups, when the right wing Zionist Organization of America unsuccessfully attempted to remove the left wing Union of Progressive Zionists from the coalition when the latter group sponsored lectures by a group of former Israel Defense Forces soldiers who criticized the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.[64]

However, there are some who feel that pro-Israel activism on college campuses can cross the line from advocacy to outright intimidation. One highly publicized accusation comes from former President Jimmy Carter, who complained of great difficulty in gaining access to a number of universities to discuss his new book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. In October 2007 about 300 academics under the name The Ad Hoc Committee to Defend the University issued a statement calling for academic freedom from political pressure, in particular from groups portraying themselves as defenders of Israel.[65] In December 2007, student leaders who advocate pro-Israel films and groups on college campuses were eligible for being hired as “emissaries of the Jewish state” for their work and would receive up to $1000 a year for their efforts.[66]

Rabbi Alexander Schindler, former chair of the Conference of Presidents, told an Israeli magazine in 1976, The Presidents Conference and its members have been instruments of official governmental Israeli policy. It was seen as our task to receive directions from government circles and to do our best no matter what to affect the Jewish community. Hymen Bookbinder, a high-ranking official of the American Jewish Committee, said Unless something is terribly pressing, really critical or fundamental, you parrot Israels line in order to retain American support. As American Jews, we dont go around saying Israel is wrong about its policies.[67]

Bard writes that “by framing the issues in terms of the national interest, AIPAC can attract broader support than would ever be possible if it was perceived to represent only the interests of Israel. This does not mean AIPAC does not have a close relationship with Israeli officials, it does, albeit unofficially. Even so, the lobby some times comes into conflict with the Israeli government.”[24]

Since the early 20th century both Israeli and Greek lobbies have been working in parallel in order to prevent any rising tensions in the unstable Eastern Mediterranean. Greek and Jews lobbies have maintained excellent ties even before the establishment of the bilateral relations of Greece with Israel. American Jewish Committee delegates have visited Greece and maintain contacts with various Greek officials of both political and military backgrounds.[68] In their annual meeting in the New York City in December 2012 Greek and Israeli lobbies have assured that relations between Greece and Israel and to some extent Cyprus remain strong due to the common interest of the three countries for democracy and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. Chairman of the Board of Trustees Nicholas Karacostas together with the other Greek American representatives have announced that both their lobbying groups will remain in contact ahead of the upcoming extraction of natural gas in both Israel and Cyprus, as part of their wider Energy Triangle.[69] Chairman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Alan Solow has expressed his enthusiasm in an interview by George Gilson that there is an increasing exchange of information between the two lobbies and leaders of both communities consistently join forces to solve their common problems.[70]

A new joint action committee for the Greek-Israeli alliance has been created in the U.S. Congress in early 2013. The creation and goals of the Greek-Israeli Caucus under the name Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance were announced at a special event held in the Congress.[71] It is co-chaired by Congress members Gus Bilirakis the Republican representative from Florida and Ted Deutch the Democrat from Florida, and the Greek-Israeli Caucus consists of powerful members of both Republican and Democratic party. It is estimated that it may become the most important pressure group in Congress by 2014.[72][73][74]

On the 13 March 2013 in Washington the Israeli ambassador Michael Oren hosted the launching of a new congressional grouping dedicated to improving Israeli-Greek-Cypriot ties.[75][76][77] Attending the launch were the co-chairmen of the newly established Hellenic-Israel Caucus, Ted Deutch and Gus Bilirakis as well as lawmakers including John Sarbanes and Eliot Engel, the senior Democrat on the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren in his remarks at the dinner at his residence touted shared economic and strategic interests among Greece, Cyprus and Israel. The Greek ambassador Christos Panagopoulos in Washington announced that cooperation among the three countries would bring peace, stability and prosperity to the region. Also addressing the event was Olympia Neocleous, the charge daffaires at the Cypriot embassy in Washington.[78][79]

In the passing of Greek-American Leader Andrew Athens AJC honored his pioneering work to advance Greek-Jewish and Hellenic-Israeli ties more than once. The most recent occasion occurred in recognition of Athens 90th birthday before AJCs National Board of Governors and invited guests from the political and diplomatic communities, in his hometown of Chicago in 2011. Partnering early on with his cherished friend, the late Maynard Wishner, a fellow Chicagoan and AJC national leader, Athens spearheaded a number of joint AJC and Greek-American delegations to Greece, Cyprus and Israel.[80][81][82]

Zunes writes that “assaults on critics of Israeli policies have been more successful in limiting open debate, but this gagging censorship effect stems more from ignorance and liberal guilt than from any all-powerful Israel lobby.”[36] He goes on to explain that while “some criticism of Israel really is rooted in anti-Semitism”, it is his opinion that some members of the Israel lobby cross the line by labeling intellectually honest critics of Israel as antisemitic.[36] Zunes argues that the mainstream and conservative Jewish organizations have “created a climate of intimidation against many who speak out for peace and human rights or who support the Palestinians’ right of self-determination.”[36] Zunes has been on the receiving end of this criticism himself “As a result of my opposition to US support for the Israeli government’s policies of occupation, colonization and repression, I have been deliberately misquoted, subjected to slander and libel, and falsely accused of being “anti-Semitic” and “supporting terrorism”; my children have been harassed and my university’s administration has been bombarded with calls for my dismissal.”[36]

In an opinion piece for The Guardian, Jimmy Carter wrote that mainstream American politics does not give equal time to the Palestinian side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that this is due at least in part to AIPAC.[83]George Soros pointed out that there are risks associated with what was in his opinion a suppression of debate:

“I do not subscribe to the myths propagated by enemies of Israel and I am not blaming Jews for anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism predates the birth of Israel. Neither Israel’s policies nor the critics of those policies should be held responsible for anti-Semitism. At the same time, I do believe that attitudes toward Israel are influenced by Israel’s policies, and attitudes toward the Jewish community are influenced by the pro-Israel lobby’s success in suppressing divergent views.”[84]

In his book, The Deadliest Lies, Abraham Foxman referred to the notion that the pro-Israel lobby is trying to censor criticism of Israel as a “canard.”[85] Foxman writes that the Jewish community is capable of telling the difference between legitimate criticism of Israel “and the demonization, deligitization, and double standards employed against Israel that is either inherently anti-Semitic or generates an environment of anti-Semitism.”[85]Jonathan Rosenblum expressed similar thoughts: “Indeed, if there were an Israel lobby, and labeling all criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic were its tactic, the steady drumbeat of criticism of Israel on elite campuses and in the elite press would be the clearest proof of its inefficacy.”[86]

Alan Dershowitz wrote that he welcomes “reasoned, contextual and comparative criticism of Israeli policies and actions.”[87] If one of the goals of the pro-Israel lobby was to censor criticism of Israel, Dershowitz writes, “it would prove that ‘the Lobby’ is a lot less powerful than the authors would have us believe.”[87] Dershowitz himself, claims to have written several critical pieces on specific Israeli policies.[citation needed] Dershowitz disagrees with those who believe that the media is uncritical of Israel and cites the frequent New York Times editorials and even an editorial in The Jewish Daily Forward against some of Israel’s more right of center policies as proof.[citation needed] Dershowitz also denies that any significant, mainstream leader in the American Jewish community equates criticism of Israel with antisemitism.[citation needed]

According to William Safire, the term “Israel Lobby” came into use in the 1970s and, similar to the term “China lobby”, carries “the pejorative connotation of manipulation.”[88] He also writes that supporters of Israel gauge the degree of perceived animus towards the Jewish State by the term chosen to refer to the lobby: “pro-Israel lobby” being used by those with the mildest opposition, followed by “Israel lobby”, with the term “Jewish lobby” being employed by those with the most extreme anti-Israel opinions.[88]

According to Walt and Mearsheimer, “Using the term ‘Israel lobby’ is itself somewhat misleading…One might more accurately dub this the ‘pro-Israel community’…” since this is not the lobby of a foreign country, rather, it is composed of Americans.[89][90] However, justifying their usage of the term, they write “because many of the key [pro-Israel] groups do lobby, and because the term ‘Israel lobby’ is used in common parlance (along with labels such as the ‘farm lobby’, ‘insurance lobby’, ‘gun lobby’ and other ethnic lobbies), we have chosen to employ it here.”[91]

Progressive journalist John R. MacArthur writes

Given my dissident politics, I should be up in arms about the Israel lobby. Not only have I supported the civil rights of the Palestinians over the years, but two of my principal intellectual mentors were George W. Ball and Edward Said, both severe critics of Israel and its extra-special relationship with the United States.

Nowadays I ought to be even bolder in my critique, since the silent agreement suppressing candid discussions about Israeli-U.S. relations has recently been shaken by some decidedly mainstream figures. These critics of Israel and its American agents include John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, of the University of Chicago, and Harvard’s Kennedy School, respectively; Tony Judt, a historian at New York University; and former President Jimmy Carter.

Somehow, though, I can’t shake the idea that the Israel lobby, no matter how powerful, isn’t all it is cracked up to be, particularly where it concerns the Bush administrations past and present. Indeed, when I think of pernicious foreign lobbies with disproportionate sway over American politics, I can’t see past Saudi Arabia and its royal house, led by King Abdullah.[92]

Mearsheimer and Walt have collected and quoted some of the lobbyists’ comments on their organizations’ political capital. For example, Mearsheimer and Walt quote Morris Amitay, former AIPAC director as saying, “Its almost politically suicidal … for a member of Congress who wants to seek reelection to take any stand that might be interpreted as anti-policy of the conservative Israeli government.”[93] They also quote a Michael Massing article in which a staffer[who?] sympathetic to Israel said, “We can count on well over half the House 250 to 300 members to do reflexively whatever AIPAC wants.”[94] Similarly they cite former AIPAC official Steven Rosen illustrating AIPACs power for Jeffrey Goldberg by putting a napkin in front of him and saying, “In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.”[95]

However, some U.S. government officials have stated that the Israel lobby is not so powerful that they control U.S. foreign policy. Former Secretary of State George Shultz stated “… the notion that U.S. policy on Israel and Middle East is the result of [the Israel lobby’s] influence is simply wrong.”[96][97]Dennis B. Ross, former U.S. ambassador and chief peace negotiator in the Middle East under Bill Clinton, who is now an official at WINEP, wrote:

“never in the time that I led the American negotiations on the Middle East peace process did we take a step because ‘the lobby’ wanted us to. Nor did we shy away from one because ‘the lobby’ opposed it. That is not to say that AIPAC and others have no influence. They do. But they don’t distort U.S. policy or undermine American interests.”[98]

Individual journalists each have their own opinions on how powerful the Israel lobby is. Glenn Frankel wrote: “On Capitol Hill the Israel lobby commands large majorities in both the House and Senate.”[99]Michael Lind produced a cover piece on the Israel lobby for the UK publication Prospect in 2002 which concluded, “The truth about Americas Israel lobby is this: it is not all-powerful, but it is still far too powerful for the good of the U.S. and its alliances in the Middle East and elsewhere.”.[100] Tony Judt, writing in the New York Times, asked rhetorically, “Does the Israel Lobby affect our foreign policy choices? Of course that is one of its goals. […] But does pressure to support Israel distort American decisions? That’s a matter of judgment.”[101]

Mitchell Bard has conducted a study which attempts to roughly quantify the influence of the Israel lobby on 782 policy decisions, over the period of 1945 to 1984, in order to move the debate on its influence away from simple anecdotes. He

“found the Israeli lobby won; that is, achieved its policy objective, 60 percent of the time. The most important variable was the president’s position. When the president supported the lobby, it won 95 percent of the time. At first glance it appears the lobby was only successful because its objectives coincided with those of the president, but the lobby’s influence was demonstrated by the fact that it still won 27 percent of the cases when the president opposed its position.”[24]

According to a public opinion poll by Zogby International of 1,036 likely voters from October 1012, 2006, 40% of American voters at least somewhat believe the Israel lobby has been a key factor in going to war in Iraq. The following poll question was used: “Question: Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree that the work of the Israel lobby on Congress and the Bush administration has been a key factor for going to war in Iraq and now confronting Iran?”[102]

In March 2009, Charles W. Freeman, Jr., criticized the lobby after withdrawing his candidacy for the chair of the National Intelligence Council.[103][104] Freeman said, “The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired …. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency …. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process ….”[105] Members of Congress denied that the Israel lobby had a significant role in their opposition to Freeman’s appointment; they cite Freeman’s ties with the Saudi and Chinese governments, objections to certain statements made about the Palestinian territories and his lack of experience as the reasons for their opposition.[106][107]

The closest comparison is probably to other ethnic-group based lobbies that attempt to influence American foreign policy decisions such as the Cuban-American lobby, the African-American lobby in foreign policy and the Armenian American lobby, although the lobby has also been compared to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the lobby for the Pharmaceutical industry.[108][109] In comparing the Israel Lobby to the NRA, Glenn Frankel concludes that “Nevertheless, the Israel lobby, and AIPAC in particular, gained a reputation as the National Rifle Association of foreign policy: a hard-edged, pugnacious bunch that took names and kept score. But in some ways it was even stronger. The NRA’s support was largely confined to right-wing Republicans and rural Democrats. But AIPAC made inroads in both parties and both ends of the ideological spectrum.”[99]

Zunes describes that some groups who lobby against current U.S. policy on Israel “have accepted funding from autocratic Arab regimes, thereby damaging their credibility” while others have “taken hard-line positions that not only oppose the Israeli occupation but challenge Israel’s very right to exist and are therefore not taken seriously by most policymakers.”[36] Zunes writes that many lobbying groups on the left, such as Peace Action, are “more prone to complain about the power of the Israel lobby and its affiliated PACs than to do serious lobbying on this issue or condition its own PAC contributions on support for a more moderate U.S. policy” in the region.[36]Noam Chomsky, political activist and professor of linguistics at MIT, writes that “there are far more powerful interests that have a stake in what happens in the Persian Gulf region than does AIPAC [or the Lobby generally], such as the oil companies, the arms industry and other special interests whose lobbying influence and campaign contributions far surpass that of the much-vaunted Zionist lobby and its allied donors to congressional races.”[110]

However, while comparing the Israel Lobby with the Arab Lobby, Mitchell Bard notes that “From the beginning, the Arab lobby has faced not only a disadvantage in electoral politics but also in organization. There are several politically oriented groups, but many of these are one man operations with little financial or popular support.”[111] The Arab American Institute is involved in supporting Arab-American political candidates, but, according to award-winning journalist Ray Hanania “its nothing compared to the funds that AIPAC raises not just for Jewish American congressmen, but for congressmen who support Israel.”[112] Furthermore, Arab American lobbies face a problem of motivation; Jewish Americans feel the need to support their homeland (as well as other states in the Middle East who have signed peace treaties with Israel) in active, organized ways. Arab Americans do not appear to have a similar motivation when it comes to their own homelands.[113]

Friendly relations between Israel and the U.S. has been and continues to be a tenet of both American and Israeli foreign policy. Israel receives bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that U.S. and Israel share common “economic, political, strategic, and diplomatic concerns” and that the countries exchange “intelligence and military information” and cooperate in an effort to halt international terrorism and illegal drug trade.[114] Furthermore, a majority of American citizens view Israel favorably.[115]

In 2011, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (a think tank founded by “a small group of visionary Americans committed to advancing U.S. interests in the Middle East”) argued that the U.S.-Israel relationship is “A Strategic Asset for the United States.”[116][117] In discussing their report, Walter B. Slocombe said that while in the popular imagination, the U.S.-Israel relationship is only good for Israel, Israel provides enormous assistance to the United States, including military expertise which has saved American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Robert D. Blackwill countered the claim that the U.S.-Israel relationship significantly damages the relationship between the United States and the Arab world. He asked rhetorically:

“Would Saudi Arabia’s policies toward the United States be markedly different in practice if Washington entered into a sustained crisis with Israel over the Palestine issue during which the bilateral relationship between the United States and Israel went into steep, systemic decline? In that instance, would Riyadh lower the price of oil? Would it stop hedging its regional bets concerning U.S. attempts to coerce Iran into freezing its nuclear weapons program? Would it regard U.S. policy toward Afghanistan any less critically? Would it view American democracy promotion in the Middle East more favorably? Would it be more inclined to reform its internal governmental processes to be more in line with U.S. preferences? Walt [Slocombe] and I judge the answer to all these questions [to be] ‘No.'”[117]

When asked how this report could so flatly contradict the Walt and Mearsheimer thesis, Slocombe responded, “There is so much error in the world,” and added, “I think it would be interesting to ask them whether they make the same contrary argument about the other countries to whom we also provide something like this kind of support. There are obviously differences, but the principle is the same.”[117]

The Israel Project noted in 2009 that “when youre talking to Americans, you need to know that when you dont support a two-state solution you risk having a major public relations challenge in America and Europe.”[118]

In a 2008 editorial, Israeli-American historian and author Michael B. Oren wrote that Israel and the United States are natural allies, despite what the opposition from “much of American academia and influential segments of the media.” Oren claimed this was because Israel and the United States shared similar values such as “respect for civic rights and the rule of law” and democracy. Israel and the United States share military intelligence in order to fight terrorism.[119] Oren also noted that “more than 70% of [Americans], according to recent polls, favor robust ties with the Jewish state.”[119]

In his 2007 review of Mearsheimer and Walt’s book, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote:

“Forty years of polling has consistently shown that Americans support Israel in its conflict with the Arabs. … Both Israel and America were founded by refugees from European religious intolerance; both are rooted in a common religious tradition; Israel is a lively democracy in a part of the world that lacks democracy; Israelis seem self-reliant in the manner of American pioneers; and Israel’s enemies, in many cases, seem to be America’s enemies as well.”[120]

Israeli academic and political activist Jeff Halper said that “Israel is able to pursue its occupation only because of its willingness to serve Western (mainly U.S.) imperial interests” and that rather than influencing the United States via the lobby, Israel is actually “a handmaiden of American Empire.”[36] According to political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, though, “the combination of unwavering U.S. support for Israel and the related effort to spread democracy throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized U.S. security.” They alleged that while “one might assume that the bond between the two countries is based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives….neither of those explanations can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel.”[121]Robert Satloff cited the events of MayJune 2010 (in which Israel stopped a flotilla meant to break its blockade of the Gaza Strip and yet, a few days later, every country expected to vote U.N. sanctions against Iran ended up voting as the U.S. wanted them to) as a counter-example that disproved that point of view.[122] Goldberg similarly cited the Arab Spring to counter Walt and Mearsheimer’s point:

“It seems as if the Arab masses have been much less upset about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians than they have been about their own treatment at the hands of their unelected leaders. If Israel ceased to exist tomorrow, Arabs would still be upset at the quality of their leadership (and they would still blame the United States for supporting the autocrats who make them miserable); Iran would still continue its drive to expunge American influence from the Middle East; and al Qaeda would still seek to murder Americans and other Westerners.”[123]

In 2006 former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq Scott Ritter published “Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change” (ISBN 978-1-56025-936-7). In his book he stated that certain Israelis and pro-Israel elements in the United States were trying to push the Bush administration into war with Iran.[124] He also accuses the U.S. pro-Israel lobby of dual loyalty and outright espionage (see Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal).[125]

American journalist Michael Massing argues that there is a lack of media coverage on the Israel lobby and posits this explanation: “Why the blackout? For one thing, reporting on these groups is not easy. AIPAC’s power makes potential sources reluctant to discuss the organization on the record, and employees who leave it usually sign pledges of silence. AIPAC officials themselves rarely give interviews, and the organization even resists divulging its board of directors.”[55] Massing writes that in addition to AIPAC’s efforts to maintain a low profile, “journalists, meanwhile, are often loath to write about the influence of organized Jewry. […] In the end, though, the main obstacle to covering these groups is fear.”[55]Steven Rosen, a former director of foreign-policy issues for AIPAC, explained to Jeffrey Goldberg of The New Yorker that “a lobby is like a night flower: it thrives in the dark and dies in the sun.”[126]

According to Gal Beckerman there are many individual pro-Israel op-ed columnists, but the argument that the media as a whole is part of the Israel lobby cannot be concluded from Mearsheimer and Walt’s cherry picked evidence:

“Walt and Mearsheimer undermine our intelligence by assuming that we are simply being manipulated…. If the lobby is so influential over the media, how were Walt and Mearsheimer given such space in every major news outlet in the country to express their ‘dangerous’ views? You want to tell me that a force that can impel us to got [sic] to war in Iraq cant find a way to censor two academics? Not much of a lobby, now is it?”[127]

Writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, Beckerman cites examples of op-eds critical of Israel from several major U.S. newspapers and concludes that an equally compelling argument could be made that the Israel lobby doesn’t control the media. Itamar Rabinovich, writing for the Brookings Institution, wrote, “The truth of the matter is that, insofar as the lobby ever tries to intimidate and silence, the effort usually causes more damage than it redresses. In any event, the power of the lobby to do that is very modest.”[128]

On The Diane Rehm Show (December 11, 2006), Middle East experts Hisham Melhem, Lebanese journalist and Washington Bureau Chief for Al-Arabia, and Dennis Ross, a Jewish-American diplomat working as counselor Washington Institute for Near East Policy, when asked about the pervasive Israeli influence on American foreign policy in the Middle East mentioned in former President Jimmy Carter’s 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid said: [H. Melhem] “When it comes to Israel [discussing Israeli and/or Jewish American issues], it is still almost a taboo in certain parts, not everywhere…there are certain things that cannot be said about the Israeli government or America’s relationship with Israel or about the Israeli lobby. Yes there is, excuse me, there is an Israeli lobby, but when we say an Israeli lobby we are not talking about a Jewish cabal. The Israeli lobby operates the way the NRA operates, a system of rewards and punishment, you help your friends by money, by advocacy and everything, and sometimes they pool money in to the campaigns of those people that they see as friendly to Israel. This is the American game”.[129] (radio interview: 16:30-20:05)

“Prime Minister Yitzak Rabins handshake with Yasir Arafat during the 13 September [1993] White House ceremony elicited dramatically opposed reactions among American Jews. To the liberal universalists the accord was highly welcome news. […] However, to the hard-core Zionists — the Orthodox community and right wing Jews — the peace treaty amounted to what some dubbed the ‘handshake earthquake.’ From the perspective of the Orthodox, Oslo was not just an affront to the sanctity of Eretz Yisrael, but also a personal threat to the Orthodox settlers … in the West Bank and Gaza. For Jewish nationalists … the peace treaty amounted to an appeasement of Palestinian terrorism.”

“Abandoning any pretense of unity, both segments began to develop separate advocacy and lobbying organizations. The liberal supporters of the Oslo Accord worked … to assure Congress that American Jewry was behind the Accord and defended the efforts of the [Clinton] administration to help the fledgling Palestinian authority (PA) including promises of financial aid. … Working on the other side of the fence, a host of Orthodox groups, … launched a major public opinion campaign against Oslo. … Hard-core Zionists also criticized, often in harsh language, [the Labor government] architect[s] of the peace accord.

“Not only was the Israeli electorate divided on the Oslo accords, but so, too, was the American Jewish community, particularly … among the major New York and Washington-based public interest groups. U.S. Jews opposed to Oslo teamed up with Israelis “who brought their domestic issues to Washington” and together they pursued a campaign that focused most of its attention on Congress and the aid program. … The Administration, the Rabin-Peres government, and some American Jewish groups teamed on one side while Israeli opposition groups and anti-Oslo American Jewish organizations pulled Congress in the other direction.

“Powerful interest groups lobby against Israel in Washington while much of American academia and influential segments of the media are staunchly opposed to any association with Israel. How does the alliance [between the United States and Israel] surmount these challenges? One reason, certainly, is values the respect for civic rights and the rule of law that is shared by the world’s most powerful republic and the Middle East’s only stable democracy. There is also Israel’s determination to fight terror, and its willingness to share its antiterror expertise. … The admiration which the U.S. inspires among Israelis is overwhelmingly reciprocated by Americans, more than 70% of whom, according to recent polls, favor robust ties with the Jewish state.”

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Israel lobby in the United States – Wikipedia

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October 21, 2016   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Netanyahu visit: Australia’s relationship with Israel and where it could go – SBS

In the past fortnight the Israeli leader has visited London and Washington DC for talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May and old friend US President Donald Trump. His visit to Australia this weekwill be the first for a serving Israeli Prime Minister. His time with Malcolm Turnbull will likely cover similar ground: the Palestinian conflict, West Bank settlements, Iran, and combatting global terror. Mr Netanyahu, accompanied by wife Sara, will also meet with Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove, opposition leader Bill Shorten, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and members from Australia’s Israeli communities. Australia’s Israeli embassy confirmed that, during Mr Netanyahu’s visit, the countries will sign two bilateral agreements. The first will focus on technological innovation, while the second will help “facilitate commercial air transport services” between Australia and Israel. Anthony Bergin, from the Australian Strategic and Policy Institute, says the Israel-Australia relationship could be strengthened. Its a good time for an Israeli Prime Minister to visit, and I think while weve got a lot of rhetoric about common values there isnt at the moment a lot of substance, he said. The relationship, in many ways is underachieving. It could be developed. The last time an Israeli foreign minister visited Australia was in 1976, so what has prompted this visit fromBenjamin Netanyahu? The why I think comes back to common values around democracy, around shared support for human rights (and) recognition of the plight of Jewish people after the war, Mr Bergin said. Obviously the relationship between the two countries has always been warm. Australia has always been seen by the Israelis as a friendly country. “The ties between Israel and Australia date back to 1917, with the Australian Light Horse Brigades’ courageous charge at the Battle of Beersheba, which was a major milestone in driving out the Ottoman Empire from what is now modern Israel,” says a spokesperson from the Israeli embassy. Leanne Piggott, from the Centre for Social Impact, told SBS News the relationship is rooted in history, shared cultural and political values and a pro-western foreign policy orientation. Australian soldiers returned to the Middle East in large numbers during World War II. Many were stationed temporarily in Palestine and were hosted at social events by the local Jewish communities,” she said. In both world wars, Australians and Jews living in Palestine fought side-by-side. In 1948, Australian H.V ‘Doc’ Evatt utilised his position as President of the United Nations General Assembly to push for Israel’s formation. And according to Dr Amin Saikal, director of the Centre for Arab Studies at the Australian National University, that’s when ties truly began to blossom. He believes that showed in the aftermath of the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis, in which Israel, the UK and France invaded Egypt to regain western control of the Suez Canal and remove the Egyptian President from power. I think it really goes back to the Prime Minister Menzies era and the Suez crisis, and when Gamal Abdul Nasser the President of Egypt nationalised the Suez Canal in 1956, he said. Users of the Suez Canal had a conference in Britain and Prime Minister Menzies participated in that conference, and he was then sent as a head of a mission to discuss the issue with President Nasser and tell him to back off from the nationalisation of the Suez Canal. When Nasser did not do that and Prime Minister Menzies came back empty-handed, then that influenced Menzies attitudes towards Egypt and towards the Arabs. And then from that point, I think Australia pursued a very much pro-Israeli position. Senior lecturer in International Relations at the University of New South Wales, Dr Anthony Billingsley, says “Israel has become a cause of the conservative side of politics”. “When I was growing up it was a cause of the left, but its swung round now to be a cause of the right in Australia, he said. It also fits into the US relationship. So when the US is looking for people, a UN general assembly resolution might be adopted on Palestine and youll have a vote of 180 against three; itll be the US, Israel and Australia. So it fits into that being nice to the Americans, and helping them out in difficult political situations. While Australia and Israel have been clear allies for decades, there is little trade between the countries. According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia ranks 23rdon Israels top principal export destinations, and 37thon imports. Australias total trade with Israel is just over $1 billion. Thats where I think the relationship has been underdone, because we havent really focused on how we can really benefit one another in terms of interests, Mr Bergin said. I think its fair to say Australia has not been a major policy focus of the Israelis.” Unlike previous US administrations, successive Australian governments have rarely condemned Israel during the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians. I think that the Turnbull leadership, to me, it appears, is really playing to the right-wing elements within the coalition, Dr Saikal said. I think there are people, like Cory Bernardi – who has now gone – but there are other elements within the coalition who are very much supportive of the state of Israel.” And in the Labor party there is “paralysis basically, according to Dr Billingsley. The Labor party cannot really discuss Israel and the Palestinians in any meaningful way because they just wind up fighting each other. Palestinian laborers work at a construction site in a new housing project in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem, Feb. 7, 2017. Dr Saikal believes there are other influences in the relationship. One must not really forget that the pro-Israeli lobby in this country has been very strong over the years and they do have considerable amount of influence on Australian policy towards the Middle East and more specifically, towards the Israel-Palestinian conflict, he said. Dr Billingsley agrees that pro-Israeli lobbies have influenced Australian government policies and positions. I think theyve been very effective. I mean they were effective at all levels, he said. I wouldnt underestimate the inherent sympathy that Australians have for the Jewish plight, and the Jewish history, etc. And the influence of Jews in Australia has been considerable. So there is a historic issue there as well. I think the Zionist – if you like – movement in Australia has been very effective in promoting that sort of concern for Israel; the feeling that Israel is always under threat. So I think that also adds to the basis of that support. But Mr Bergin disagrees. Of course there are groups that promote Israel but there are plenty of groups that also promote the Palestinian cause,” he said. “What Id prefer to say quite bluntly is that theres been bipartisan support for a two-state solution. If it became clear that Israel was moving towards a one-state solution, or completely drop attempts to try and get a peace settlement, then that is going to absolutely sap the support in Australia. Dr Amin Saikal says he hopes the Turnbull government uses Mr Netanyahus visit to condemn the expansion of settlements in the West Bank. Both Prime Minister Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop are fully aware of the fact that the settlements are the major obstacle to a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said. For that reason it is about time that Australia, or the Turnbull government, moderates its position in support of Israel and join the international community in condemning that expansion of the settlements. I think the time has come for them to move beyond that position in order to recognise the fact that the settlements are major impediments. Of course the Israeli Prime Minister would say no, this is not a major issue. It is a critical issue. Ms Piggott says she would like to see the government reaffirm its position in support of a two-state solution. Beyond continuing to support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, deepening AustraliaIsrael bilateral relations will generate significant benefits in advancing both countries national interests, she said. It will be necessary to select areas for cooperation that bring the highest mutual benefit.” Mr Bergin believes the area of defence offers that. Both countries have got strong interests in naval affairs because were both close to major choke points along maritime trade routes, he said. We should have a regular strategic dialogue with Israel on everything from developments in Islamist terrorism, to Middle East developments, to nuclear proliferation, to US alliance issues and so forth and the defence industry.

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February 20, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

David Friedman’s critics are hostile to Israel – Arutz Sheva

Responding to the claims of five former US ambassadors who said David Friedman is “unfit” to serve as US ambassador to Israel, Zionist Organization of America President Morton A. Klein released the following statement: “Its important to examine the harmful records and anti-Israel actions of the five left-wing, hostile-to-Israel, pro-Iran deal former US Ambassadors to Israel who signed a coordinated letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unfairly and falsely maligning Ambassador-nominee David Friedman. The five signatories Thomas Pickering, Daniel Kurtzer, Edward Walker, Jr., James Cunningham, and William Harrop damaged US-Israel relations and exacerbated the situation in the Middle East. At least several of them have financial or other ties to hostile-to-Israel groups. “Revealingly, the very same five former ambassadors signed a letter in July 2015 promoting the Iran deal (which provided Iran with a path to a nuclear bomb and $150 billion to fund its terrorist operations throughout the world). (Former US Ambassadors to Israel Back Iran Deal, by Deb Riechmann, Times of Israel, July 27, 2015.) “Thomas Pickering (Ambassador 1985-1988) has a long record of pro-Iranian regime, pro-Palestinian-Arab, friendly to Hamas, and problematic anti-Israel activism. “Pickering is a member of the American Iranian Council (AIC) board of directors. AIC promoted the dangerous Iran deal; now insists that the US must fully implement the Iran deal (while ignoring Irans violations); opposes US sanctions for Irans violations of UN Security Council Resolution 2331; and opposes designating as terrorist organizations the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corp and Muslim Brotherhood despite the fact that both groups support terror throughout the world. “In Pickerings bombshell secret December 18, 2011 email to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Pickering recommended undermining Israel by secretly employing NGOs (including Peace Now) and Palestinian-Arab women to foment and carry out massive demonstrations against all aspects of the occupation (meaning against Israel) including against roadblocks, land confiscations, new settlement activity, [and] around military government installations, in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Area C (the portion of Judea and Samaria administered by Israel) and Palestinian-Arab-controlled areas to exert continuing pressure on Israels leaders to give in to Palestinian-Arab demands. “Shockingly, Pickering also mentioned potential advantages of a Middle East war (apparently an Arab or Iranian war against Israel), but then opined that war was much too dangerous with all that is happening there despite the fact that it might be a game changer. (See Pickerings email; and JPost Obamas Disgraceful Covert War Against Israel, by Caroline Glick, Jan. 18, 2016; and Ex-Ambassador Pitched Clinton Secret Plan to Spark Palestinian Protests, by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon & Fox News, Jan. 11, 2016.) “The five signatories damaged US-Israel relations and exacerbated the situation in the Middle East. At least several of them have financial or other ties to hostile-to-Israel groups. “Pickerings April 8, 2014 op-ed in Politico, co-authored with the notoriously anti-Israel Zbigniew Brzezinski (entitled Stand Firm, John Kerry), also revealed Pickerings one-sided, left-wing anti-Israel views. Pickering justified violence against Jews by falsely calling Israels presence in the lawfully designated Jewish homelands in Judea/Samaria illegal land grabs . . . that will trigger renewed violence. “Pickerings op-ed also falsely claimed that Israel already possesses 78% of Palestine. (In fact, Israel has only 22% of the British Mandate for Palestine despite the fact that all of the mandate was lawfully designated for the Jewish homeland.) Pickering also condemned Netanyahus peace overtures as morally unacceptable; insisted that Israel should have no presence in the Jordan Valley (an area that is in fact vital for Israels security); expressed support for the pre-1967 lines (which would be suicidal for Israel); falsely portrayed the Palestinian-Arabs as having made significant concessions; and urged the Obama administration to be tougher on Israel. “And in July 2009, Pickering secretly met with senior leaders of designated terrorist organization Hamas to discuss easing the Israeli siege of Gaza a euphemism for ending Israels lawful weapons blockade of Gaza to prevent Hamas from importing more missiles to fire at Israeli Jewish kindergartens. (There is no Israeli siege.) Pickering engaged Hamas without permission from the US administration. (Former US Officials Talk With Hamas, Politico, Apr. 2, 2010.) “Daniel Kurtzer (Ambassador 2001-2005) has a long record of hostility to Israel. His statements, policies and actions have provoked criticism from Israeli and American Jewish leaders, including the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir; the Labor Partys former Israeli negotiator and ambassador Itamar Rabinovitch; former AIPAC Executive Director Morris Amitay; and leading Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot. (See ZOA: Sen. Obama Should Rescind Appointment of Daniel Kurtzer As Middle East Adviser, Apr. 16, 2008.) “Arutz Sheva explained: Kurtzers bias goes all the way back to his graduate school days. In his Ph.D. dissertation (Columbia University, 1976), Kurtzer said Israels counter-terror actions were the catalysts to interstate violence, and blamed Israel for the radicalization of the Palestinians to violence (p.253). “Throughout the dissertation, Kurtzer referred to Palestinian Arab terrorists as guerrillas, not as terroristseven though he was discussing the groups that carried out such horrific massacres as the Lod Airport massacre of Puerto Rican tourists and the slaughter of Israeli athletes (including an American) at the Munich Olympics. (Should Daniel Kurtzer Be Americas Next Ambassador to Israel?, Arutz Sheva, July 24, 2001.) (The article concluded after reviewing Kurtzers lifelong hostile-to-Israel activities: Daniel Kurtzer represents the old, tired, and failed policy of fruitlessly trying to appease Yasir Arafat and his terrorist dictatorship.) “Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir recalled that: Kurtzer frequently pressured Israel to make one-sided concessions to the Arabs; he constantly blamed Israel for the absence of Mideast peace, and paid little or no attention to the fact that the Palestinians were carrying out terrorist attacks and openly calling for the destruction of Israel. (Id.) “Kurtzer hasnt changed, and apparently still believes that the US should force a deal that would endanger Israels existence down Israels throat. During an Al Jazeera special television program marking the 20th Anniversary of the failed Oslo Accords in 2013, after he was asked what could be done to place more serious pressure on Israel, Kurtzer responded: I have made the argument publically that the United States should now lay out very strong parameters that define quite narrowly the issues still to be negotiated. . . And then expect the parties not taking no for an answer. (Transcript: The Peace Process, Al Jazeera, Aug. 26, 2013.) “This past December (2016), after the Obama administration engineered and assured the passage of the extraordinarily anti-Israel UNSC Resolution 2334, instead of condemning the terrible UNSC Resolution, Kurtzer condemned Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahus reaction as nasty, unprecedented, and not proper and unacceptable. (Netanyahu had merely disclosed that Israel had unequivocal proof that the Obama administration had orchestrated the anti-Israel resolution.) (Former US ambassador to Israel Criticizes Netanyahus Nasty UN Reaction, AP, DW, Dec. 26, 2016.) “It is remarkably hypocritical that after Kurtzer accused Israels Prime Minister of being nasty, Kurtzner attacked Ambassador-nominee David Friedman as not diplomatic. Kurtzer is obviously not a judge of what is or isnt diplomatic. “Moreover, Kurtzer has a habit of accusing those who disagree with his extreme anti-Israel views of being not diplomatic. In mid-2015, Kurtzer leveled such charges against Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer and former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren. Kurtzer stated that Ambassador Oren, appears to be following in the footsteps of his successor, Ron Dermer, who has prized Israeli politics above the diplomacy that he was appointed to practice. (Ex-US Envoy Daniel Kurtzer Blasts Orens Astounding Obama Criticism, Haaretz, June 24, 2015.) “Kurtzer also blasted Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer earlier in 2015, in unpleasant graphic terms, after Congress invited Netanyahu to address Congress regarding Iran, saying: He [Dermer]s a political operative, hes not really an ambassador. . . What he did was totally unacceptable from a standpoint of diplomacy. . . He [Dermer] has soiled his pad; whos he going to work with? (Administration Official Criticizes Israeli Ambassador Over Netanyahu Visit, by Julie Hirschfeld Davis, NY Times, Jan. 28, 2015.) “And speaking of diplomacy, in 2014, Kurtzer wrote that it would demean American diplomacy to release Jonathan Pollard. Kurtzer did not care that Pollard was in extremely ill health after being incarcerated under brutal conditions in US prison for 29 years decades longer than any similarly situated spy. Ironically, in the very same article, Kurtzer demanded that Israel must live up to commitments to release imprisoned Palestinian-Arab terrorists who had been convicted of murdering innocent Israeli civilians (a far worse crime than what Pollard had done). (Releasing Pollard: Dont Do It, Mr. Secretary, by Daniel Kurtzer, The American Interest, Apr. 1, 2014.) “Sadly, Kurtzers diplomacy has consisted of closing his eyes to or excusing Palestinian Arab terrorism, and pushing for dangerous Palestinian-Arab rights. During Kurtzers tenure at the State Department in 1988, a time when the PLO was engaged in constant terrorism against Israel, Kurtzer kept (falsely) insisting that the PLO under Yasir Arafat was moving in a moderate direction. Kurtzer became a key figure in the process of formulating the US decision to recognize the PLO in December 1988. “Arutz Sheva noted that Kurtzers claim of PLO moderation proved to be completely mistaken, because the PLO continued its terrorism and in early 1990, the US broke off its dealings with Arafat. (See Should Daniel Kurtzer Be Americas Next Ambassador to Israel?, Arutz Sheva, July 24, 2001, quoting Washington Talk: State Department; Wordsmiths of the Mideast Move, by Robert Pear, NY Times, Jan. 13, 1989.) “Morris Amitay, former executive director of AIPAC, said: Kurtzer has a track record of . . . pushing for Palestinian rights. . . . He will use his Jewishness as a protective cover for his anti-Israel views. (Likely Nomination of Orthodox Jew As US Ambassador Splits US Jews, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 29, 2001.) “Kurtzer was also the principal author of one of the most significant anti-Israel statements of US policy in the Middle East, a speech by Secretary of State George Shultz to a conference at the Wye Plantation in Maryland in 1988, in which he said that The legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including political rights, must be recognized and addressed. “Kurtzers book Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East (co-authored with Scott Lasensky), praised former Secretary of State James Baker, who applied ruthless pressure on Israel and held Israel responsible for obstacles to peace. Kurtzer and Lasensky also claimed that America falsely labeled Arafat and the Palestinian-Arab leadership as responsible for the collapse of the Oslo process a claim contradicted by virtually all American officials engaged in the 2000 Camp David and Taba negotiations, including President Clinton and Middle East envoy Dennis Ross. “In addition, in their book, Kurtzer and Lasensky condemned Bush 43 for being too deferential to Israel. Kurtzer and Lasensky stated that Presdient Bush: proved overly deferential to the stated political problems of the Israeli government while tending to turn a blind eye towards domestic constraints on the Arab side. (page 34). (See Obamas New Foreign Policy Advisor Daniel Kurtzer, by Ed Lasky, American Thinker, Apr. 10, 2008.) “In yet another display of Kurtzers own lack of diplomacy, Kurtzer publicly interfered with, falsely insulted and criticized Israels internal budgetary policy. Kurtzer stated, Instead of taking care of the disabled and or economic development, Israel is investing in Jewish settlements, which should be dismantled. This led a member of Israels Knesset (parliament), Zwi Hendel, to denounce Kurtzer on the Knesset floor. MK Hendel stated: No Israeli diplomat would be allowed to act as he [Kurtzer] does. . . I have the right to criticize this little Jew who is interfering in our internal affairs. (Embassy Row: Denouncing Kurtzer, Washington Times, January 9, 2002.) “Kurtzer also rebuked Israeli negotiators for being insufficiently concessionary: The Israeli Labor governments then-ambassador to the US, Itamar Rabinovitch, described a stormy dispute between Kurtzer and the head of Israels negotiating team, in which Kurtzer thought that Israel was not going far enough with the Palestinians. There were sharp exchanges between them [and Kurtzer] rebuked the Israeli negotiators. (ZOA: Sen. Obama Should Rescind Appointment of Daniel Kurtzer As Middle East Adviser, Apr. 16, 2008, quoting Haaretz, April 6, 2001.) “Kurtzer also had a vocal conflict with an Israeli government official in Philadelphia in the summer of 1990, after Kurtzer attacked the Israeli government for refusing to include the PLO in the peace process [and] said that this constituted the main obstacle to peace. (Id.) “Kurtzer also criticized Israeli strikes at Palestinian terrorists. In August 2001, Kurtzer publicly criticized Israel for striking at Abu Ali Mustafa, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which over the years has murdered at least 14 American citizens and numerous Israelis. “The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations issued a statement on August 28, 2001 saying it was surprised and dismayed that Kurtzer felt compelled to raise the issue with Prime Minister Sharon, yet we did not hear of any similar actions when American citizens were the victims of terror attacks over the past few months. Indeed, just hours after Kurtzers statement, an American Jew, Ben Dansker, was shot and wounded by Arafats terrorists near the town of Rogalit yet Kurtzer made no statement about the attack. (Id.) “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said more than once that with Jews like Kurtzer, it is impossible to build a healthy relationship between Israel and the United States. (Id.) Kurtzers poor relations with Jerusalems political bureaus reached a new climax in 1990, when he authored a speech by James Baker strongly criticizing Israel, which was delivered at an AIPAC conference, causing a commotion among the conference participants . . . A Jewish community leader told Kurtzer [shortly afterwards], Your children will bear the consequences of the Israeli policy you are encouraging. (Id.) “Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot editorialized on Kurtzers malign influence: Possibly more than any other US State Department official, Kurtzer has been instrumental in promoting the goals of the Palestinians and in raising their afflictions to the center of the US policymakers agenda. (ZOA: Sen. Obama Should Rescind Appointment of Daniel Kurtzer As Middle East Adviser, Apr. 16, 2008, quoting Yediot Ahronot, Aug. 9, 1991.) “Edward Walker, Jr. (Ambassador 1997 Jan. 2000) won acclaim throughout the Arab world when he wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post during the Second Intifada, condemning Israel for its targeted assassinations of Hamas terrorists plotting attacks on Israeli civilians. (Palestinian-Arab terrorists murdered close to 2,000 innocent Israelis and injured 10,000 innocent Israelis during the Second Intifada.) “In Walkers view, providing due process to terrorists ensconced in the midst of hostile territory was more important than stopping attacks on innocent Israeli and other civilians. Walkers op-ed also made an immoral moral equivalence between Israels defensive actions and murders carried out by hostile Arab regimes. (No Exceptions for Israel, by Edward Walker, Jr., Washington Post, Aug. 21, 2001.) “Impressed with Walkers anti-Israel op-ed, Egyptian weekly Roz Al-Youssufs editor-in-chief enthusiastically wrote: together with us [Edward Walker] wages the cruel battle against the Israeli lobby and Israels claims and deceits. (MEMRI Analysis, Nov. 22, 2001.) “Although Walker acknowledges that Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, Walker has also defended and justified Hezbollah attacks on non-civilian Israelis. Walker told Egyptian paper Al-Mussawar that one of Hezbollahs roles is as a resistance movement legitimately fighting the Israeli occupation in southern Lebanon. All of Hezbollahs attacks against Israeli forces are legitimate acts of resistance, not terrorism. (Id.) “Walker reiterated this view in another interview, saying: The Lebanese government claims that Hezbollah are not terrorists because they were engaged in legitimate resistance against Israel, which was in occupation of southern Lebanon. In that specific case, I happen to agree with them. What Hezbollah did in south Lebanon was not terrorism; it was resistance, because it was directed solely at military targets. Walker ignored the fact that Israels presence in southern Lebanon at that time was necessary to stop deadly Hezbollah attacks on innocent Israeli civilians living in northern Israel which had made normal life in northern Israel impossible. (Middle East Quarterly Interview, Spring 2002.) “Walker also served as president of the pro-Arab, unfriendly-to-Israel Middle East Institute (MEI). MEIs website blog defended Hezbollah for its 2015 raid and murder of two Israeli soldiers and a UN peacekeeper; approvingly wrote about anti-Israel UNSC Resolution 2334 and former Secretary Kerrys speech condemning Israel; complained that during the 2014 Gaza war many Arab regimes were silent (instead of rushing to help Hamas), that the PA was not simultaneously rioting in the West Bank (to make life difficult for Israel on two fronts); and, MEI promotes J Street conferences. Walker also served in posts in Arab nations throughout the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, the UAE, Egypt and Tunisia). “As with the rest of this gang of five, Walker also promoted the horrible Iran deal. “James Cunningham (Ambassador from 2008-2011) also has a pro-Iran, pro-Palestinian-Arab, anti-Israel record. As noted above, Cunningham promoted the catastrophic Iran deal. “During his previous tenure as Deputy US Representative to the United Nations, Cunningham condemned a 2004 Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) operation to stop attacks emanating from Gaza. On behalf of the US, Cunningham abstained on UN Security Council Resolution 1544 (May 19, 2004), which viciously and unfairly condemned Israels defensive actions. Cunninghams abstention was tantamount to a yes vote, and enabled this anti-Israel resolutions passage. “After the vote, Cunningham criticized Israel, saying that the IDF operation worsened the humanitarian situation and resulted in confrontation between Israeli forces and Palestinians. Cunningham also pushed for Israel to withdraw from Gaza, stating that these events were a reminder of the wisdom of Israel disengaging from Gaza and having its security presence replaced by reformed Palestinian security forces. (U.N. Security Council Critical of Israeli Operations in Gaza, by Judy Aita, Washington File United Nations Correspondent, Washington File, May 20, 2004.) Israel did withdraw from Gaza the following year (2005) which resulted in Hamas lobbing 19,000 rockets at innocent Israelis over the next decade. So much for Cunninghams wisdom. “Interestingly, Cunninghams lack of expertise was noted when Cunningham became the US Ambassador to Israel. (See New US Envoy To Israel Announced, by Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, July 2, 2008: One official noted that Cunningham, although he did deal with Middle East issues at the UN, is not considered a Middle East expert.) “William Harrop (Ambassador 1992 May 1993) revealed his anti-Israel and left-wing prejudices during a recent interview, in which Harrop proclaimed that Israeli occupation is the principal problem. Harrop ignored that the real problem is Palestinian-Arabs unrelenting goal of destroying Israel. (An Interview With William C. Harrop, by Maria Livingston, Foreign Service Journal, Sept. 2015.) “Interestingly, during the same interview, Harrop admitted that he had no experience in the Middle East prior to what he called his surprising appointment as US Ambassador to Israel. Harrop further admitted: Im not sure I did all that well there, to be honest. After admitting to his own lack of qualifications and the poor job he did as US Ambassador to Israel, it is the height of audacity for Harrop to now try to pass judgment on an Ambassador-nominee with far more knowledge of Middle East issues than Harrop had. “Harrop also noted during his Foreign Service Journal interview that the US Ambassador post to Israel is perhaps less important than ambassadorships to other countries, because much of the work is done in personal telephone calls between the US president or the Secretary of State and the prime minister, so youre often paddling about trying to catch up on whats happening instead of being the one who makes things happen. “In another interview on August 24, 1993, for The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project, Harrop repeatedly referred to Likud as hard right; complained that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tried to justify his settlement policy; further condemned Likud as disingenuous about the peace process and not serious about negotiations . . . which I think in retrospect was reprehensible; and criticized the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations as an entity that was set up to rationalize the world of Jewish groups in the US. “During the same interview, Harrop also excused former Secretary of State James Bakers Fk the Jews remark as merely the kind of thing that politicians say privately. And yet now, Harrop hypocritically condemns Ambassador-nominee David Friedman for far less egregious remarks said as a private citizen. “And as mentioned above, Harrop joined in promoting the dangerous Iran deal in 2015. “Accordingly, the letter criticizing Ambassador-nominee Friedman, signed by these five biased former ambassadors, deserves no credence. In fact, the letter deserves our repudiation and disgust.”

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February 19, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Canadians at odds with their government on Israel – rabble.ca

As the future of Israeli Jews and Palestinians spirals down into an inevitable and inexorable apartheid struggle, Canadians are being denied their fundamental right in a democracy. That is the right to an honest and frank debate about one of the most important issues faced by the international community — the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian land and the brutal suppression of Palestinian human rights. It’s not that Canadians don’t care or don’t try to inform themselves. It’s that both the media and federal governments are loath to even talk about it. With these two institutions maintaining a steadfast silence there can be no genuine debate. And so we betray both Israelis and Palestinians by condemning them to a future of violence. For the past 40 years the governments in Ottawa have revealed an abject cowardice when it comes to any effective action to promote peace. While on the books Canada is committed to a “two-state” solution our total failure to act means that that this solution is now hanging by a thread. The most recent madness coming out of the Netanyahu government is the “land grab” law — its popular name in Israel. It empowers the state to legalize the illegal settler outposts retroactively and could be used to annex the West Bank. It will, if ever used, have catastrophic results. At least that is the opinion of most commentators in Israel, across Europe and among EU governments — even Germany. In Canada the best we could do was a buried 152-word Global Affairs news release five days after the fact saying our government is “deeply concerned” and calling the law “unhelpful.” It is pathetic and irresponsible. Surveying attitudes It is hardly new but we can now say with some certainty something we could not say until yesterday with the release of a new public opinion survey, conducted by EKOS and Associates, exploring Canadian attitudes towards Israel and Canadian government policy. The poll was commissioned by a coalition of organizations and individuals (including me). The survey is critically important because the carte blanche, pro-Israeli government policy of federal governments (Conservative and Liberal) is built on a foundation of untested assumptions about Canadian attitudes. The conventional wisdom, conveniently promoted by the government, the Israeli lobby, and many in the media, is that Canadians are massively sympathetic to Israel. That’s convenient but quite false. Rather than expressing an uncritically positive view of Israel, Canadians demonstrate the opposite. Of those expressing a view, 46 per cent expressed a negative view while 28 per cent expressed a positive view (26 per cent had neither). As with all the survey questions, when results were broken down by party preference, Conservative Party supporters were radical outliers in favour of Israel with a 58 per cent positive view. The average for supporters of the other four parties was 11 per cent positive and 63 per cent negative. When asked whether or not they thought the government was biased towards Israel or Palestinians, 61 per cent said pro-Israel and 16 per cent said pro-Palestinian (23 per cent detected no bias). Again, remove the Conservative voter from the mix and 74 per cent of other-party supporters see a pro-Israel bias and 9 per cent pro-Palestinian. With supporters of the Liberals, NDP, Bloc and Green Party all obviously open to a shift in government policy towards justice for Palestinians, what are they afraid of? The answer is easy: Israel enjoys a plethora of well-funded and aggressive lobby groups in Canada ready to mount instant and personal campaigns against any criticism of Israel. B’nai Brith Canada, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA),the World Zionist Congress, Canadian Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, and Jewish Federations across the country have huge influence over politicians, government officials, universities and media. A powerful lobby Any politician or political party that dares raise any criticism of Israel can expect over-the-top denunciations that, no matter how ridiculous, force them to defend themselves — and inevitably leave some with doubts. One example was B’nai Brith’s attack on the Green Party’s former justice critic, Dimitri Lascaris (another sponsor of the EKOS poll), with this website headline: “Green Party Justice Critic Advocates on Behalf of Terrorists.” Lascaris was the main advocate for having the Green Party support the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) campaign. CIJA in particular has enormous resources — a staff of 50 spread across the country, and very deep pockets — with which it can monitor media, demonize critics, promote policies to politicians and their advisers, and offer free tours to Israel to opinion-leaders. These lobby organizations all create the same false narratives: that Israel is democratic, that the BDS campaign seeks to destroy Israel, and, perhaps most offensive and intimidating, that any effective criticism of Israel is part of the “new anti-Semitism.” One of the most encouraging revelations in the new survey is the fact that the vast majority of Canadians reject this notion. When asked, “Is criticism of the Israeli Government necessarily anti-Semitic,” 91 per cent of respondents said no. Strip out the Conservative voters and the number is 98 per cent. Though the sample of Jewish respondents was small, a clear majority of religious (78 per cent) and ethnic Jews (93 per cent) rejected this idea. CIJA’s credibility with politicians and the media is based on its completely unsupported claim that it speaks for Canadian Jews. This poll at least suggests just how shaky that claim is. It is not surprising that CIJA, with all its resources, has never conducted (or at least released) a poll on Canadian Jews’ attitudes towards the Israeli government or towards Canadian Middle-East policy. What are they afraid of? Our survey suggests the answer. Any poll would reveal a deep divide in the Jewish community regarding Israel and that would undermine CIJA’s influence. In the meantime the Liberals and the NDP should overcome their unfounded fear of lobby groups and listen to their supporters. The Green Party just released the results of its poll of members on the issue: 90 per cent backed “Measures to pressure the government of Israel to preserve the two-state solution.” In other words, government sanctions. It’s a start. Now, will the NDP poll its members and change its policies? Murray Dobbin has been a journalist, broadcaster, author and social activist for 40 years. He writes rabble’s State of the Nation column. PMO Photo by Adam Scotti Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism.

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February 17, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Letter: US should stop supporting Israel – The Columbian

A A Israel, one of the richest nations in the world, has received more aid, since 1948, from the U.S. than any other country, with no accountability. We have supported this brutal occupation, which has enabled Israel to steal more land, farms and homes and build more settlements, breaking all international law. We have, for many decades, paid them $3.1 billion a year or $8 million a day. Other nations have been highly critical, but the U.S has stubbornly refused to speak up to the strong Israeli lobby that continues to have legislators in their control. After the Holocaust, sympathy was high, but the Palestinians had nothing to do with the Jewish peoples suffering. However, Palestinians are murdered, generations-old olive trees uprooted, thousands imprisoned, including children with no representation or visitation rights for parents. Homes are bulldozed or bombed and homeowners are often murdered or tortured for even objecting. Food and water are rationed. Palestinians are humiliated and travel is restricted at checkpoints for hours. I urge you to consult Jewish Voice for Peace or FOSNA, two groups that work for peace in Palestine/Israel. Also, please ask your legislators to stop supporting Israel with billions of dollars.

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February 11, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

South Africa: Cosatu On Trial for Its Support for the Palestinian People – AllAfrica.com

press release The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is effectively on trial for its international solidarity and specifically its support for the Palestinian people. In 2009 Israel attacked the Palestinian Gaza Strip killing over 1400 people including more than 300 children. Israel was also accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. During the attacks COSATU joined civil society as well as members of various faiths including progressive members of our Jewish community in protesting against those barbaric attacks. One of the many protests was held at the head office of the SA Zionist Federation – the SA Zionist Federation together with other members of the Israeli lobby had, at the time, publicly defended the Israeli attacks on the Gaza strip and the Israeli massacre against Palestinians. Linked to the global protests against the Israeli attacks against Palestinians, COSATU dockworkers belonging to SATAWU in Durban had refused to offload cargo from an Israeli ship. COSATU was invited to provide a lecture at Wits University on this heroic act of workers and what it means for the global struggle against Apartheid, oppression and human rights which was disrupted by Israeli supporters with threats and abuse. Since then, because of its practical support of the Palestinian people, COSATU has been a victim of a sustained attacks by the Israeli lobby, particularly, the SA Zionist Federation (SAZF) and the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). At the time, COSATU received abusive mails, emails, phone calls and other threats from Israeli supporters, two such messages directed at COSATU from that time are reproduced here: “Even when all the monkeys in Cosatu have died of aids (even those who were cured by raping babies), I still won’t return [to SA]. Jews should be in Israel supporting Israel – Friends – make Aliya! Do it!” “Let us bombard the COSATU offices with phone calls to let them know our anger. It is hardr [sic] to ignore phone calls than e mails. Maybe we should start a policy that Israel-loyal Jews refuse to employ COSATU members in retaliation for COSATU’s evil actions.” Now, with pressure from the Israeli lobby, COSATU and its International Secretary have been taken to court being falsely accused of anti-Semitism and hate speech, we believe, as a means to silence the federation and all supporters of freedom for the Palestinian people. Our solidarity with the Palestinian people and indeed with all oppressed peoples is not an individual position but an organizational position. In fact, our internationalism is built into our movement and stretches across the ANC, SACP and COSATU alliance and all our MDM components. We view the attacks by the Israeli lobby as an attack on the movement as a whole and will defend our right to be critical of Israel’s policies against the Palestinian people. Following a complaint by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies to the SA Human Rights Commission, a finding was made but COSATU objected both on content and process. In particular COSATU highlighted that the SAHRC, in its hastiness to produce a finding, did not adhere to the Determination of the procedure contemplated in section 9(6) of the South African Human Rights Commission Act. No 54 of 1994 We are even more worried now that its seems that the SAHRC has essentially out-sourced its work to the SA Jewish Board of Deputies who in fact has gone on record as saying that they are “assisting the SAHRC’s counsel in preparing their case by providing the necessary information and expert witness testimony. In fact, in today’s court proceedings, the pro-Israeli expert witness who was brought in from the UK claimed that he did not know who paid for his plane ticket to come to Johannesburg – we wonder if he was paid for by the Israeli lobby and the SA JBD? The case against COSATU is currently being heard at the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg. Hearings will end on Tuesday the 14th of February. Members of the public are welcome to attend and to send messages of support to COSATU. Issued by COSATU

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February 9, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Hell Storm Documentary Post Hitler Nazi Germany 1945 — Hiter Nazi Revisionism

SHUT IT DOWN, NOW!BIG VICTORY!! We got this video censored in 25% of the world’s countries by relentlessly pressuring YouTube and Governments around the world to Censor and suppress this video. 25% down, 75% to go, help us get this video deleted, blocked and banned everywhere in the world, we have had great success so […]

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February 4, 2017   Posted in: Abraham Foxman, AIPAC, Anti Racism, Anti-Defamation League, Anti-Jewish, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Semitism Lobby, Anti-Semitism News, Ashkenazi, B'nai B'rith, Censorship, Discrimination News, Hate Crime Hoax, Hate Crimes, Hate Speech, Hitler, Holocaust, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Holocaust Revisionism, Hush Crimes, Israel, Israeli Lobby, Jewish, Jewish American Heritage Month, Jewish Extremism, Jewish Heritage, Jewish History, Jewish Lobby, Jewish Racism, Jewish Supremacism, Jews, John de Nugent, Judaism, Misc, Multicultural News, Neo Nazi, Race Relations, Racism News, Racist News, Simon Wiesenthal, Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC, White Nationalism, White Power, White Privilege, White Racism, White Supremacism, World War II, Zionism  Comments Closed

The Holocaust What’s True and What is False?

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January 19, 2017   Posted in: AIPAC, Holocaust, Holocaust Denial, Holocaust Remembrance Day, Holocaust Revisionism, Israel Apartheid, Israeli Lobby, Jewish American Heritage Month, Jewish Extremism, Jewish Heritage, Jewish History, Jewish Lobby, Jewish Racism, Jewish Supremacism, Shoah, USS Liberty, Zionism  Comments Closed

Israel lobby in the United Kingdom – Wikipedia

The Israel lobby in the United Kingdom (also called the Zionist lobby)[1] is the diverse coalition of those who, as individuals and as groups, seek to influence the foreign policy of the United Kingdom to strengthen bilateral ties with Israel, or in support of Zionism, Israel, or the specific policies of its government. The term Israel lobby itself has been subject to debate and criticism over its clarity and exact definition. Such lobbying in the United Kingdom is far less formalised than in the United States, where lobbying groups or associations may constitute formal entities, and where lobbying in the US with regard to support for Israel is far greater.[citation needed] What came to be known as “Christian Zionism” emerged in England in the early 19th century when Restoration of the Jews to the Holy Land and futuristic interpretation of apocalyptic texts merged. In 1839 the evangelical Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftesbury called Westminster Parliament to support creation of a Jewish state in Palestine.[2] During the 1840s Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston supported a “Jewish entity” allied to the Ottoman Empire as a counterweight to Egypt.[3] British Journalist Geoffrey Wheatcroft writes that perhaps the “first lobbyist on behalf of the land of Israel” was Theodor Herzl who, after publishing his book The Jewish State in 1896, and organizing the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in 1897, met in person British Cabinet ministers and other European officials.[4]Russian Zionist Chaim Weizmann began the process of convincing Arthur James Balfour, a British Lord, that Palestine should be the Jewish national home and the “British Zionist movement began actively lobbying the British government.”[5] The British Palestine Committee in Manchester also “lobbied for the mandate and Jewish rights in Palestine.”[6] Some groups like the influential Board of Deputies of British Jews and Anglo-Jewish Association were the “institutional stronghold of the anti-Zionist camp” and formed a lobby committee to oppose the efforts of Weizmann and his allies.[7] In 1917 Weizmann and a small group of Zionists “in a brilliant exercise of sustained persuasion, lobbying, and influence” persuaded the British government to create the Balfour Declaration[8] which supported “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”[4] (Weizmann later became the first President of the State of Israel.)[8] However, leaders of Board of Deputies of British Jews and of the Anglo-Jewish Association (who at the time were non-Zionist) considered the Balfour Declaration a veritable calamity that would stamp “the Jews as strangers in their native lands.”[4] According to the author Ritchie Ovendale, Britain, which held the British Mandate of Palestine ratified by the League of Nations after World War I, abandoned its Zionist sympathies “which had been secured by the Zionist lobby” because of fears of coming war with Nazi Germany. In 1939 Britain limited Jewish immigration to Palestine, thereby becoming to Zionists “the principal enemy.” In 1942 Zionists shifted their focus to influencing the United States through use of the “Zionist vote.”[9] Various contemporary organizations in the United Kingdom seek to influence British government policy towards Israel. The major British political parties include “Friends of Israel” groups which support the State of Israel. Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel was the first such group formed. Its first objective is “to maximise support for the State of Israel within the Liberal Democrats and Parliament.”[10] Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI) is affiliated with the Conservative Party and states on its website that it is “one of the fastest growing political lobby groups.” It lists its objectives as supporting Israel, promoting conservatism, fighting terrorism, combating antisemitism and peaceful co-existence in the Middle East.[11] Iain Dale and Brian Brivati in The Daily Telegraph have described it as “a highly effective lobby group,” writing that its Director, Stuart Polak, has “done more than most to promote Israel’s case to the right of British politics.”[12] Founded in 1957, Labour Friends of Israel is a group within the Labour Party which in 2003 described itself as a “lobby group working within the Labour Party to promote the State of Israel”.[13] On its present website it describes itself as seeking “to promote a strong bilateral relationship between Britain and Israel.”[14] It organizes visits British politicians to visit Israel and meet with Israeli politicians and advocates on Israel’s behalf among Labour Party members.[15] Both Labour Party Prime Ministers Tony Blair (19972007) and Gordon Brown (2007-2010) have been members of Labour Friends of Israel,[16][17] and the former leader of the Labour Party (Ed Miliband) has described himself as a “friend of Israel”.[18] However, current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been particularly vocal on Middle East foreign policy. He is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, regularly campaigning against conflict in Gaza and what the organisation considers to be apartheid in Israel.[19] Corbyn has also supported boycotting and sanctioning arms dealings in Israel, saying on the Electronic Intifada: “I think we have to push robustly for the limitation of arms supplies … Israel is after all facing an investigation … for war crimes, [at the International Criminal Court] as indeed are the Hamas forces on a much different or lesser scale.”[20] All-Party Groups are defined by the House of Commons as “relatively informal” groups whose members include “backbench Members of the House of Commons and Lords” and sometimes ministers and non-parliamentarians. They are classified as subject or country groups.[21] Being cross-party, All-Party Groups are more talking-shops than lobbies trying to influence government policies. They are registered only “to control the extent to which groups use the House’s facilities and status”[22] The “All-Party Britain-Israel Parliamentary Group” is an All-Party Group[23] registered with the UK Parliament. Its stated purpose is “To create a better understanding of Israel, and to foster and promote links between Britain and Israel”. The chair in the parliament dissolved on 30 March 2015 was Louise Ellman.. The Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) seeks to present Israel’s case to journalists.[24]The Guardian has described it as an “influential Jewish lobby group”.[25][26] The London-based Jewish Chronicle reported that Brian Kerner, former chair of Joint Israel Appeal argued that there was “the need for a body able to orchestrate British Jewry’s political and public relations” after the year 2000 outbreak of the Second Intifada. The day after it began, fifty Jewish leaders met with the Israeli ambassador and “raised an initial 250,000 fund for pro-Israel lobbying and public relations.” BICOM was founded as a consequence. The article also noted that “a debate goes on in the community’s upper echelons over whether BICOM should remain a mainly-behind-the-scenes player focussing on media or a more upfront pro-Israel lobby similar to the American Aipac…”[27] According to a 2002 article in The Guardian Bicom and the Board of Deputies of British Jews had “adopted aggressive media strategies to defend Israel and attack its critics in Britain.” In 2002 leaders of the British Jewish community called in two high level American strategists “to conduct research into the extent of hostility to Israel in Britain with a view to the British Jewish community launching a big public relations drive.” In particular, focus groups were “said to have found particular hostility among professional and academic groups.”[28] The American paper The Forward reported that in 2005 Steve J. Rosen, then American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy director, led an ambitious and “semisecret” effort to start similar pro-Israel lobbying organizations in the United Kingdom due to rising antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment.[29] In early 2008, The Jewish Chronicle reported that a new, yet unnamed London-based organisation would examine whether Israel received fair media coverage, but that it would not compete with BICOM.[24] In the autumn of 2008 a senior Israeli government official shared his opinions on competition between BICOM, which he said wants to maintain its primary role in the UK, and the US-based Israel Project. He stated that BICOM charged that the Israel Project doesn’t understand how to work with British journalists and said “We don’t want to get into this. We work with both organisations.” The Israel Project denied there was competition and BICOM declined to comment saying “We don’t respond to speculation.”[30] Christian Zionist groups in Britain continue the tradition of supporting Israel as part of the fulfillment of prophecy. Such groups often are criticized for their beliefs (per the Book of Ezekiel and the Book of Zechariah) that only those Jews who convert to Christianity will be spared a fiery death when Jesus returns.[31][32] Christian Friends of Israel, UK explicitly rejects such a view in its “Foundation Principles.”[33] Other such groups include the Church’s Ministry Among Jewish People (The Israel Trust of the Anglican Church), Bridges for Peace, Christian Zionists for Israel UK and International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, UK. Party-political and other groups exist which promote good relations between the UK and many countries, in general without controversy. The expression of friendship with Israel arguably sparks negative responses because of the hostility of many Arab and Islamic states, and many individual Arabs and Muslims, to the existence of Israel per se – a situation which exists in respect of no other country. In a September 2001 column in The Observer about the September 11 attacks in the United States, Richard Ingrams noted “the reluctance throughout the media to contemplate the Israeli factor” and, commenting on Britain, cited “pressure from the Israeli lobby in this country that many, even normally outspoken journalists, are reluctant even to refer to such matters.” He also noted their reluctance to address issues he had mentioned in past columns related to Lord Levy, the Labour Party and to the “close business links with Israel” of press magnates Rupert Murdoch and Conrad Black.[34] Earlier in August, Times journalist, Sam Kiley, resigned from the newspaper as he claimed his work was severely censored by senior executives due to the Zionist sympathies of Rupert Murdoch.[35] In 2002, “Palestine is Still the Issue”, made by the documentary film maker John Pilger, was shown on ITV. The Board of Deputies of British Jews, Conservative Friends of Israel and the Israeli Embassy expressed “outrage” and, according to Pilger, demanded a “pro-Israel” film. Pilger said the BBC would not have “dared to incur the wrath of one of the most influential lobbies in this country” by showing the film, citing comments written by Tim Llewellyn, the BBC’s former Middle East correspondent, that the BBC continues to “duck” the issue. Pilger stated this was “one example of pressure exerted on British journalists from Zionists and the Israeli embassy.”[36] In a December 2007 column, after the 2007 Labour party donation scandal (“Donorgate”) broke, Assaf Uni of Haaretz wrote that there was concern in the Jewish community about “conspiracy theories regarding a ‘Jewish plot’ in the United Kingdom, and the role of the pro-Israel lobby there.” In late 2007, it was revealed that David Abrahams, who was deputy chair of Labour Friends of Israel until 2002, had made secret and illegal donations through junior employees of 600,000 pounds sterling (approximately $1.2 million) to the Labour Party. Abrahams, “a Jewish millionaire,” admitted in The Jewish Chronicle that he concealed his activity because “I didn’t want Jewish money and the Labour Party being put together.” The Telegraph ran a photograph of Abrahams with Israeli former ambassador to Britain, Zvi Heifetz, and “insinuated that Israel was the source of the illegal campaign contributions.” According to an article in Haaretz, several in the media have maintained there was a connection between money donated by Zionist Jews and the pro-Israel policy of British prime ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, told The Forward “Clearly there is a potential for it to turn against us.”[15][16] Writing about the scandal, journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown asked in The Independent about the roles of the Labour and Conservative Friends of Israel groups, given that former Labour Friends leader David Abrahams involvement. She questioned the role in Labour victories of John Mendelsohn, noting that Mendelsohn is “a passionate Zionist and infamous lobbyist, described by the Jewish Chronicle as “one of the best-connected power brokers”.” She stated her assumption that Labour Friends of Israel plays a part in shaping British foreign policies in the Middle East. She also questioned the donations and “back-room influence” of Labour Friends of India and Muslim Friends of Labour.[37] In 2009, a documentary by the journalist Peter Oborne was shown in the Channel 4 Dispatches series which aimed to expose the influence of the Israel Lobby within British politics[38] and alongside James Jones wrote a pamphlet investigating which groups make up the pro-Israel lobby, how they operate, and how they exert influence.[39] Whilst Middle East editor, Ian Black, said the lobby was “bankrolling Tories.”[40] In 2013, journalists Tom Mills, Hilary Aked, Tom Griffin and David Miller sought to put the UK pro-Israel Lobby in context, calling it “a transnational phenomenon, fostered by transnational organisations many headquartered in Israel and funded in large part by transnational corporate actors.”[41] In 2014 Stuart Littlewood called them “the enemy within”, and said that “BDS must expose our MPs’ unnatural devotion to a foreign power that practises apartheid, defies international law and terrorises children”.[42] David Rich, who denies there are UK “AIPAC-style” lobbies, criticised former Labour Member of Parliament (MP) Tam Dalyell who in 2003 stated that former prime minister and party leader Tony Blair was unduly influenced by a “cabal of Jewish advisers” in forming his Middle East policy towards Iraq, Syria and Iran.[43] Dalyell initially named several influential British advisors of Jewish heritage,[44] but later focused on Middle East envoy, Lord Levy and mostly Jewish advisors to US President George W. Bush. Eric Moonman, president of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland and a former Labour MP, said he was seeking advice on whether there was a case for referral of Dalyell to the Commons’ commission for racial equality.[45][46] The former Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament, Baroness Jenny Tonge said in 2006: “The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the western world, its financial grips. I think they’ve probably got a grip on our party.” An all-party group of Lords led by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, said her “irresponsible and inappropriate” comments “evoked a classic anti-Jewish conspiracy theory.”[47][48] Defending her comments, Tonge said that Walt and Mearsheimer’s article “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” that appeared in the March 23, 2006 issue of The London Review of Books provided extensive research supporting her assertion that the “‘Israel lobby’ had a disproportionate voice in Anglo-American foreign policy.”[47] Tonge was reprimanded by the Liberal Party leader Menzies Campbell, who commented “I defend absolutely your right to express your views on the Middle East, including legitimate criticism of the state of Israel. But I do not believe that the remarks you used fell within that category.” He added that the remarks had “clear anti-Semitic connotations”[49]Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, was quoted as saying: “If someone makes comments that are so at odds with what the party feels, and hopefully at odds with common decency, then one would hope that they are no longer made welcome in the party itself.”[47] In 2006 Chris Davies, a Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for the northwest of England wrote to a pro-Israel constituent that she “enjoyed wallowing in her own filth.” In a later message to her he complained about Israel’s “racist policies of apartheid” and stated “I shall tell them that I intend to speak out against this oppression at every opportunity, and I shall denounce the influence of the Jewish lobby that seems to have far too great a say over the political decision-making process in many countries.”[50] As a consequence of the outcry raised by the attack on the constituent, Davies resigned soon after as leader of the Liberal Democrats group in the European Parliament.[51] In October 2007 all speakers withdrew in protest from another Oxford Union debate on the one-state solution. One of the speakers, Ghada Karmi, a Palestinian research fellow at the University of Exeter and vice-chair of CAABU (the Council for Arab-British Understanding), wrote on The Guardian’s blog that “the newest and least attractive import from America, following on behind Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Friends, is the pro-Israel lobby.” She states the Oxford Union withdrew its invitation to speak to American Jewish scholar and Israel critic Norman Finkelstein, asserting it was “apparently intimidated by threats from various pro-Israel groups.”[52] Another speaker, Avi Shlaim, a Professor of International Relations at St Antony’s College, Oxford, wrote that the rest of the original speakers withdrew “as a protest against the shabby treatment of our academic colleague and the violation of the principle of free speech at the Oxford Union.”[53] Karmi wrote later in 2007 that legal and other threats against Britons who sought to boycott Israeli universities and against the Royal Society of Medicine for inviting psychiatrist Dr. Derek Summerfield to a conference. She stated the threats succeeded because “Britain is different, naively innocent in the face of US-style assaults on its scholars and institutions. No wonder that those who have been attacked give in so quickly, nervous of something they do not understand.”[52] In October 2007 Amjad Barham, head of the Council of the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees, wrote that the “Israel lobby in the UK” was behind the decision of the University and College Union (UCU) to cancel the UK speaking tour of some Palestinian academics. He asserted Palestinian academic unions could “detect the not-so-hidden hand of the lobby in this latest episode of stifling debate on issues pertaining to Israeli policies and the complicity of the Israeli academy in perpetuating them.”[54]

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January 3, 2017   Posted in: Israeli Lobby  Comments Closed

Israel lobby in the United States – Wikipedia

The Israel lobby (at times called the Zionist lobby) is the diverse coalition of those who, as individuals and as groups, seek to influence the foreign policy of the United States in support of Zionism, Israel or the specific policies of its government.[1] The lobby consists of Jewish-American secular and religious groups. The most famous and visible group within the Israel lobby is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC and other groups within the Israel lobby influence American public policy in a variety of ways such as through education, responding to criticism of Israel, and putting forth arguments in support of Israel. The Israel lobby is known for its success in encouraging U.S. lawmakers to support the policies that it supports. A Christian belief in the return of the Jews to the Holy Land has roots in the US, which pre-date both the establishment of the Zionist movement and the establishment of Israel. Lobbying by these groups, to influence the US government in ways similar to Zionist ideology, dates back to at least the 19th century. In 1844, Christian restorationist George Bush, a professor of Hebrew at New York University and distantly related to the Bush political family, published a book entitled The Valley of Vision; or, The Dry Bones of Israel Revived.[2] In it he denounced the thralldom and oppression which has so long ground them (the Jews) to the dust, and called for elevating the Jews to a rank of honorable repute among the nations of the earth by restoring the Jews to the land of Israel where the bulk would be converted to Christianity.[3] This, according to Bush, would benefit not only the Jews, but all of mankind, forming a link of communication between humanity and God. It will blaze in notoriety…”. It will flash a splendid demonstration upon all kindreds and tongues of the truth.[4] The book sold about a million copies in the antebellum period.[5] The Blackstone Memorial of 1891 was also a significant Christian Restorationist petition effort, led by William Eugene Blackstone, to persuade President Benjamin Harrison to pressure the Ottoman Sultan for the delivery of Palestine to the Jews.[6][7] Starting in 1914, the involvement of Louis Brandeis and his brand of American Zionism made Jewish Zionism a force on the American scene for the first time, under his leadership it had increased ten-fold to about 200,000.[8] As chair of the American Provisional Executive Committee for General Zionist Affairs, Brandeis raised millions of dollars to relieve Jewish suffering in war-torn Europe, and from that time became the financial center for the world Zionist movement.[9] The British Balfour Declaration of 1917 additionally advanced the Zionist movement and gave it official legitimacy. The US Congress passed the first joint resolution stating its support for a homeland in Palestine for the Jewish people on September 21, 1922.[10] The same day, the Mandate of Palestine was approved by the Council of the League of Nations. Zionist lobbying in the United States aided the creation of the State of Israel in 1947-48. The preparation of and voting for the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine which preceded the Israeli Declaration of Independence, was met with an outpouring of Jewish American support and advocacy in Washington.[11] President Truman later noted, “The facts were that not only were there pressure movements around the United Nations unlike anything that had been seen there before, but that the White House, too, was subjected to a constant barrage. I do not think I ever had as much pressure and propaganda aimed at the White House as I had in this instance. The persistence of a few of the extreme Zionist leadersactuated by political motives and engaging in political threatsdisturbed and annoyed me.”[12] In the 1950s, the American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs was created by Isaiah L. “Si” Kenen. During the Eisenhower administration, Israel’s concerns were not at the forefront. Other problems in the Middle East and USSR were paramount, and Israel’s U.S. supporters were not as active as they had been. AZCPA formed a pro-Israel lobbying committee to counter rumors that the Eisenhower administration was going to investigate the American Zionist Council.[13] AZCPA’s Executive Committee decided to change their name from American Zionist Committee for Public Affairs to American Israel Public Affairs Committee.[14] The relationship between Israel and the government of the United States began with strong popular support for Israel and governmental reservations about the wisdom of creating a Jewish state; formal inter-government relations remained chilly until 1967.[15] Before 1967, the government of the United States provided some aid but was generally neutral towards Israel.[16] Since 1979, Israel has received the most foreign assistance. The roughly $3 billion in assistance to Israel comprises a small percentage of the roughly $3 trillion US budget.[17] AIPAC “has grown into a 100,000-member national grassroots movement” and claims that it is America’s “pro-Israel lobby.”[18] The pro-Israel lobby is composed of formal and informal components. Support for Israel is strong among American Christians of many denominations.[19] Informal Christian support for Israel includes a broad range varieties support for Israel ranging from the programming and news coverage on the Christian Broadcasting Network and the Christian Television Network to the more informal support of the annual Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem.[20] Informal lobbying also includes the activities of Jewish groups. Some scholars view Jewish lobbying on behalf of Israel as one of many examples of a US ethnic group lobbying on behalf of an ethnic homeland,[21] which has met with a degree of success largely because Israel is strongly supported by a far larger and more influential Christian movement that shares its goals.[22] In a 2006 article in the London Review of Books, Professors John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt wrote: In its basic operations, the Israel Lobby is no different from the farm lobby, steel or textile workers unions, or other ethnic lobbies. There is nothing improper about American Jews and their Christian allies attempting to sway US policy: the Lobbys activities are not a conspiracy of the sort depicted in tracts like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. For the most part, the individuals and groups that comprise it are only doing what other special interest groups do, but doing it very much better. By contrast, pro-Arab interest groups, in so far as they exist at all, are weak, which makes the Israel Lobbys task even easier.[23] Bard defines the Jewish “informal lobby” as the indirect means through which “Jewish voting behavior and American public opinion” influence “U.S. Middle East policy”.[24] Bard describes the motivation underlying the informal lobby as follows: “American Jews recognize the importance of support for Israel because of the dire consequences that could follow from the alternative. Despite the fact that Israel is often referred to now as the fourth most powerful country in the world, the perceived threat to Israel is not military defeat, it is annihilation. At the same time, American Jews are frightened of what might happen in the United States if they do not have political power.”[24] The formal component of the Israel lobby consists of organized lobby groups, political action committees (PACs), think tanks and media watchdog groups. The Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks all lobbies and PACs, describes the background of those Pro-Israel as, A nationwide network of local political action committees, generally named after the region their donors come from, supplies much of the pro-Israel money in US politics. Additional funds also come from individuals who bundle contributions to candidates favored by the PACs. The donors’ unified goal is to build stronger US-Israel relations and to support Israel in its negotiations and armed conflicts with its Arab neighbors.[25] According to Mitchell Bard, there are, three key formal lobbying groups: Christians United for Israel give every pro-Israel Christian and Christian church the opportunity to stand up and speak up for Israel. According to the group’s founder and head, Pastor John Hagee, the members ask the leadership of our government to stop putting pressure on Israel to divide Jerusalem and the land of Israel.[26] In his 2006 book The Restoration of Israel: Christian Zionism in Religion, Literature, and Politics, sociologist Gerhard Falk describes the evangelical Christian groups that lobby on behalf of Israel as being so numerous that “it is not possible to list” them all, although many are linked via the National Association of Evangelicals.[20] It is a “powerful religious lobby” that actively supports Israel in Washington.[20] According to the author of Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, Michelle Goldberg, “Evangelical Christians have substantial influence on US Middle East Policy, more so than some better-known names such as AIPAC.”[28] According to Mitchell Bard, the two Jewish groups aim to present policy makers with unified and representative messages via the aggregation and filtering of the diversity of opinions held by smaller pro-Israel lobby groups and the wider American Jewish community.[24] The diverse spectrum of opinions held by American Jewry is reflected in the many formal pro-Israel groups, and as such some analysts make a distinction within the Israel lobby between right-leaning and left-leaning groups. This diversity became more pronounced following Israels acceptance of the Oslo Accords, which split liberal universalists and hard-core Zionists — the Orthodox community and right wing Jews.[29] This division mirrored a similar split for and against the Oslo process in Israel, and led to a parallel rift within the pro-Israel lobby.[30][31] During the 2008 election campaign, Barack Obama implicitly noted differences within the lobby in his comment that “there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says, ‘unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel, that youre anti-Israel,’ and that cant be the measure of our friendship with Israel.” Commentary Magazine, notes It was an odd choice of wordsLikud has not been Israels governing party for more than three yearsbut what Obama clearly meant was that an American politician should not have to express fealty to the most hard-line ideas relating to Israels security to be considered a supporter of Israels.[32] US foreign policy scholars John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, focusing almost exclusively on Jewish groups, define the core of the lobby to include AIPAC, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Anti-Defamation League and Christians United for Israel.[33] Other key organizations which they state work to benefit Israel, in many cases by influencing US foreign policy, include the American Jewish Congress, the Zionist Organization of America, the Israel Policy Forum, the American Jewish Committee, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Americans for a Safe Israel, American Friends of Likud, Mercaz-USA, and Hadassah.[34] Fifty-one of the largest and most important come together in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, whose self-described mission includes forging diverse groups into a unified force for Israels well-being and working to strengthen and foster the special US-Israel relationship[35] Stephen Zunes, in a response to Mearsheimer and Walt, lists “Americans for Peace Now, the Tikkun Community, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, and the Israel Policy Forum” as “pro-Israel” organizations that, unlike the right-leaning organizations focused on by Mearsheimer and Walt, are opposed to “the occupation, the settlements, the separation wall, and Washington’s unconditional support for Israeli policies.”[36] These organizations, however, are not PACs and therefore, like AIPAC, are prohibited by campaign finance regulations from financially supporting political campaigns of candidates for federal office. John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt state in their controversial bestseller, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, that the tone of the right-leaning component of the Israel lobby results from the influence of the leaders of the two top lobby groups: AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. They go on to list, as right-leaning think tanks associated with the lobby, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Hudson Institute.[1] They also state that the media watchdog group Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) is part of the right-wing component of the lobby.[1] In The Case for Peace, Alan Dershowitz also of Harvard, argues that the most right-leaning pro-Israel groups in the United States are not Jews at all, but Evangelical Christians. Dershowitz cites “Stand for Israel, an organization devoted to mobilizing Evangelical Christian support for Israel” co-founded by “[f]ormer Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed.”[37] Although the rhetoric of most groups like Stand for Israel is similar to their Jewish-based counterparts, some individuals have based their support on specific biblical passages, thus they have been vulnerable to criticism from Israelis and US Jews for having “ulterior motives” such as the fulfillment of “prerequisite to the Second Coming” or having “better access for proselytizing among Jews.”[37][38] In April 2008, J Street was established, describing itself as the only federal “pro-peace, pro-Israel” PAC. Its goal is to provide political and financial support to candidates for federal office from US citizens who believe a new direction in US policy will advance US interests in the Middle East and promote real peace and security for Israel. Founded by former President Bill Clinton advisor Jeremy Ben Ami and policy analyst Daniel Levy and supported by prominent Israeli politicians and high-ranking officers (see Letter of support from prominent Israeli leaders), J Street supports diplomatic solutions over military ones, including with Iran; multilateral over unilateral approaches to conflict resolution; and dialog over confrontation with a wide range of countries and actors.[citation needed] As with all interest groups, it matters what they are asking for and when they are asking for it.[39] The means via which Israel lobby groups exert influence are similar to the means via which other similar lobbies, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the AARP (formerly known as “American Association of Retired Persons”), exert influence. A number of commentators have asserted that the Israel lobby has undue or pervasive influence over U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.[citation needed] However, other commentators note that no similar volume of criticism exists concerning the NRA, AARP or other major political lobbies, and claim that much of this criticism is based on antisemitic notions of a Jewish conspiracy.[40] According to Bard,[24] “Jews have devoted themselves to politics with almost religious fervor.” He cites that “Jews have the highest percentage voter turnout of any ethnic group” and that of the American Jewish population “roughly 94 percent live in thirteen key electoral college states” which alone “are worth enough electoral votes to elect the president. If you add the non-Jews shown by opinion polls to be as pro-Israel as Jews, it is clear Israel has the support of one of the largest veto groups in the country.” Bard goes on to say that for United States congressmen “there are no benefits to candidates taking an openly anti-Israel stance and considerable costs in both loss of campaign contributions and votes from Jews and non-Jews alike.”[24] “Most important fact about the Jewish vote in America”, according to Jeffrey S. Helmreich of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, “lies in the fact that it is a uniquely swayable bloc. The issue of support for Israel [by a candidate] has proven capable of spurring a sizable portion of Jews to switch partiesin large enough numbers to tip the scales in national or statewide elections. Moreover, the “Israel swing vote” is especially open to political courtship because, unlike the interests of other minority groups, support for Israel has long been compatible with traditional Republican and Democratic agendas. … On the other hand, being distinctively unsupportive of Israel can significantly hurt a candidate’s chances.”[41][42] “Political campaign contributions”, writes Mitchell Bard, “are also considered an important means of influence; typically, Jews have been major benefactors.” According to Bard, objective quantification that the impact of campaign contributions have on “legislative outcomes, particularly with regard to Israel-related issues” is difficult. This is because raw analysis of contributions statistics do not take into account “non-monetary factors” and whether or not “a candidate is pro-Israel because of receiving a contribution, or receives a donation as a result of taking a position in support of Israel.”[24] AIPAC does not give donations directly to candidates, but those who donate to AIPAC are often important political contributors in their own right. In addition, AIPAC helps connect donors with candidates, especially to the network of pro-Israel political action committees. AIPAC president Howard Friedman says AIPAC meets with every candidate running for Congress. These candidates receive in-depth briefings to help them completely understand the complexities of Israels predicament and that of the Middle East as a whole. We even ask each candidate to author a position paper on their views of the US-Israel relationship so its clear where they stand on the subject.[43] This process has become more targeted over time according to Bard, “In the past, Jewish contributions were less structured and targeted than other interest groups, but this has changed dramatically as Israel-related PACs have proliferated.”[24] Among politicians considered unfriendly to Israel who AIPAC has helped defeat include Cynthia McKinney, Paul Findley, Earl F. Hilliard, Pete McCloskey, Senators William Fulbright and Roger Jepsen, and Adlai Stevenson III in his campaign for governor of Illinois in 1982.[44] The defeat of Charles H. Percy, Senator for Illinois until 1985, has been attributed to AIPAC-co-ordinated donations to his opponent after he supported the sale of AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia. Donations included $1.1 million on anti-Percy advertising by Michael Goland, who was also a major contributor to AIPAC.[44] Former executive director of AIPAC, Tom Dine, was quoted as saying, “All the Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy. And the American politicians – those who hold public positions now, and those who aspire – got the message”.[45] A summary of pro-Israel campaign donations for the period of 19902008 collected by Center for Responsive Politics indicates current totals and a general increase in proportional donations to the US Republican party since 1996.[46] The Center for Responsive Politics’ 19902006 data shows that “pro-Israel interests have contributed $56.8 million in individual, group and soft money donations to federal candidates and party committees since 1990.”[47] In contrast, Arab-Americans and Muslim PACs contributed slightly less than $800,000 during the same (19902006) period.[48] In 2006, 60% of the Democratic Partys fundraising and 25% of that for the Republican Party’s fundraising came from Jewish-funded PACs. According to a Washington Post estimate, Democratic presidential candidates depend on Jewish sources for as much as 60% of money raised from private sources.[49] According to Mitchell Bard, Israel lobbyists also educate politicians by “taking them to Israel on study missions. Once officials have direct exposure to the country, its leaders, geography, and security dilemmas, they typically return more sympathetic to Israel. Politicians also sometimes travel to Israel specifically to demonstrate to the lobby their interest in Israel. Thus, for example, George W. Bush made his one and only trip to Israel before deciding to run for President in what was widely viewed as an effort to win pro-Israel voters’ support.”[24] Mearsheimer and Walt state that pro-Israel figures have established a commanding presence at the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). These think tanks are all decidedly pro-Israel and include few, if any, critics of US support for the Jewish state.[50] In 2002, the Brookings Institution founded the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, named after Haim Saban, an Israeli-American media proprietor, who donated $13 million toward its establishment.[51] Saban has stated of himself, Im a one issue guy, and my issue is Israel,[52] and was described by the New York Times as a tireless cheerleader for Israel.[52] The Centre is directed by AIPACs former deputy director of research, Martin Indyk. Frontline, an Indian current affairs magazine, asked rhetorically why the administration of George W Bush that seemed “so eager to please [Bush’s] Gulf allies, particularly the Saudis, go out of its way to take the side of Ariel Sharon’s Israel? Two public policy organizations give us a sense of an answer: the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.”[53] Frontline reported that “WINEP tended to toe the line of whatever party came to power in Israel” while “JINSA was the U.S. offshoot of the right-wing Likud Party.”[53] According to Frontline, JINSA had close ties to the administration of George W Bush in that it “draws from the most conservative hawks in the U.S. establishment for its board of directors”[53] including Vice-President Richard Cheney, and Bush administration appointees John Bolton, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Lewis Libby, Zalmay Khalilzad, Richard Armitage and Elliott Abrams. Jason Vest, writing in the The Nation,[54] alleges that both JINSA and the Center for Security Policy thinktanks are “underwritten by far-right American Zionists” and that they both “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.” Stephen Zunes writes that “mainstream and conservative Jewish organizations have mobilized considerable lobbying resources, financial contributions from the Jewish community, and citizen pressure on the news media and other forums of public discourse in support of the Israeli government.”[36] Journalist Michael Massing writes that “Jewish organizations are quick to detect bias in the coverage of the Middle East, and quick to complain about it. That’s especially true of late. As The Jewish Daily Forward observed in late April [2002], ‘rooting out perceived anti-Israel bias in the media has become for many American Jews the most direct and emotional outlet for connecting with the conflict 6,000miles away.'”[55] The Forward related how one individual felt: “‘There’s a great frustration that American Jews want to do something,’ said Ira Youdovin, executive vice president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis. ‘In 1947, some number would have enlisted in the Haganah, ‘ he said, referring to the pre-state Jewish armed force. ‘There was a special American brigade. Nowadays you can’t do that. The battle here is the hasbarah war,’ Youdovin said, using a Hebrew term for public relations. ‘We’re winning, but we’re very much concerned about the bad stuff.'”[56] Indicative of the diversity of opinion is a 2003 Boston Globe profile of the CAMERA media watchdog group in which Mark Jurkowitz observes: “To its supporters, CAMERA is figuratively – and perhaps literally – doing God’s work, battling insidious anti-Israeli bias in the media. But its detractors see CAMERA as a myopic and vindictive special interest group trying to muscle its views into media coverage.”[57] A former spokesman for the Israeli Consulate in New York City said that the result of this lobbying of the media was: Of course, a lot of self-censorship goes on. Journalists, editors, and politicians are going to think twice about criticizing Israel if they know they are going to get thousands of angry calls in a matter of hours. The Jewish lobby is good at orchestrating pressure.[58] In addition to traditional media, Israeli public relations on the internet also is targeted with software called the Megaphone desktop tool, which is designed and promoted by pro-Israel interest groups.[59] Regarding the ‘Megaphone’, the Times Online reported in 2006 that the Israeli Foreign Ministry “ordered trainee diplomats to track websites and chatrooms so that networks of US and European groups with hundreds of thousands of Jewish activists can place supportive messages.”[60] According to a Jerusalem Post article on the ‘Megaphone’, Israel’s Foreign Ministry was “urging supporters of Israel everywhere to become cyberspace soldiers ‘in the new battleground for Israel’s image.'”[61] Christopher Williams wrote for The Register: “However it is used, Megaphone is effectively a high-tech exercise in ballot-stuffing. We’re calling it lobbyware .”[62] There are a number of organizations that focus on what could be called “pro-Israel activism” on college campuses. With the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in 2001, these groups have been increasingly visible. In 2002, an umbrella organization, that includes many of these groups, known as the Israel on Campus Coalition was formed as a result of what they felt were “the worrisome rise in anti-Israel activities on college campuses across North America”. The mission of the Israel on Campus Coalition is to “foster support for Israel” and “cultivate an Israel friendly university environment”.[63] Members of the Israel on Campus Coalition include the Zionist Organization of America, AIPAC, Americans for Peace Now, the Anti-defamation League, Kesher, the Union of Progressive Zionists (Ameinu and Meretz USA/Partners for Progressive Israel), and a number of other organizations. There has been at least one conflict among these groups, when the right wing Zionist Organization of America unsuccessfully attempted to remove the left wing Union of Progressive Zionists from the coalition when the latter group sponsored lectures by a group of former Israel Defense Forces soldiers who criticized the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.[64] However, there are some who feel that pro-Israel activism on college campuses can cross the line from advocacy to outright intimidation. One highly publicized accusation comes from former President Jimmy Carter, who complained of great difficulty in gaining access to a number of universities to discuss his new book Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. In October 2007 about 300 academics under the name The Ad Hoc Committee to Defend the University issued a statement calling for academic freedom from political pressure, in particular from groups portraying themselves as defenders of Israel.[65] In December 2007, student leaders who advocate pro-Israel films and groups on college campuses were eligible for being hired as “emissaries of the Jewish state” for their work and would receive up to $1000 a year for their efforts.[66] Rabbi Alexander Schindler, former chair of the Conference of Presidents, told an Israeli magazine in 1976, The Presidents Conference and its members have been instruments of official governmental Israeli policy. It was seen as our task to receive directions from government circles and to do our best no matter what to affect the Jewish community. Hymen Bookbinder, a high-ranking official of the American Jewish Committee, said Unless something is terribly pressing, really critical or fundamental, you parrot Israels line in order to retain American support. As American Jews, we dont go around saying Israel is wrong about its policies.[67] Bard writes that “by framing the issues in terms of the national interest, AIPAC can attract broader support than would ever be possible if it was perceived to represent only the interests of Israel. This does not mean AIPAC does not have a close relationship with Israeli officials, it does, albeit unofficially. Even so, the lobby some times comes into conflict with the Israeli government.”[24] Since the early 20th century both Israeli and Greek lobbies have been working in parallel in order to prevent any rising tensions in the unstable Eastern Mediterranean. Greek and Jews lobbies have maintained excellent ties even before the establishment of the bilateral relations of Greece with Israel. American Jewish Committee delegates have visited Greece and maintain contacts with various Greek officials of both political and military backgrounds.[68] In their annual meeting in the New York City in December 2012 Greek and Israeli lobbies have assured that relations between Greece and Israel and to some extent Cyprus remain strong due to the common interest of the three countries for democracy and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean. Chairman of the Board of Trustees Nicholas Karacostas together with the other Greek American representatives have announced that both their lobbying groups will remain in contact ahead of the upcoming extraction of natural gas in both Israel and Cyprus, as part of their wider Energy Triangle.[69] Chairman of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Alan Solow has expressed his enthusiasm in an interview by George Gilson that there is an increasing exchange of information between the two lobbies and leaders of both communities consistently join forces to solve their common problems.[70] A new joint action committee for the Greek-Israeli alliance has been created in the U.S. Congress in early 2013. The creation and goals of the Greek-Israeli Caucus under the name Congressional Hellenic-Israel Alliance were announced at a special event held in the Congress.[71] It is co-chaired by Congress members Gus Bilirakis the Republican representative from Florida and Ted Deutch the Democrat from Florida, and the Greek-Israeli Caucus consists of powerful members of both Republican and Democratic party. It is estimated that it may become the most important pressure group in Congress by 2014.[72][73][74] On the 13 March 2013 in Washington the Israeli ambassador Michael Oren hosted the launching of a new congressional grouping dedicated to improving Israeli-Greek-Cypriot ties.[75][76][77] Attending the launch were the co-chairmen of the newly established Hellenic-Israel Caucus, Ted Deutch and Gus Bilirakis as well as lawmakers including John Sarbanes and Eliot Engel, the senior Democrat on the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren in his remarks at the dinner at his residence touted shared economic and strategic interests among Greece, Cyprus and Israel. The Greek ambassador Christos Panagopoulos in Washington announced that cooperation among the three countries would bring peace, stability and prosperity to the region. Also addressing the event was Olympia Neocleous, the charge daffaires at the Cypriot embassy in Washington.[78][79] In the passing of Greek-American Leader Andrew Athens AJC honored his pioneering work to advance Greek-Jewish and Hellenic-Israeli ties more than once. The most recent occasion occurred in recognition of Athens 90th birthday before AJCs National Board of Governors and invited guests from the political and diplomatic communities, in his hometown of Chicago in 2011. Partnering early on with his cherished friend, the late Maynard Wishner, a fellow Chicagoan and AJC national leader, Athens spearheaded a number of joint AJC and Greek-American delegations to Greece, Cyprus and Israel.[80][81][82] Zunes writes that “assaults on critics of Israeli policies have been more successful in limiting open debate, but this gagging censorship effect stems more from ignorance and liberal guilt than from any all-powerful Israel lobby.”[36] He goes on to explain that while “some criticism of Israel really is rooted in anti-Semitism”, it is his opinion that some members of the Israel lobby cross the line by labeling intellectually honest critics of Israel as antisemitic.[36] Zunes argues that the mainstream and conservative Jewish organizations have “created a climate of intimidation against many who speak out for peace and human rights or who support the Palestinians’ right of self-determination.”[36] Zunes has been on the receiving end of this criticism himself “As a result of my opposition to US support for the Israeli government’s policies of occupation, colonization and repression, I have been deliberately misquoted, subjected to slander and libel, and falsely accused of being “anti-Semitic” and “supporting terrorism”; my children have been harassed and my university’s administration has been bombarded with calls for my dismissal.”[36] In an opinion piece for The Guardian, Jimmy Carter wrote that mainstream American politics does not give equal time to the Palestinian side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that this is due at least in part to AIPAC.[83]George Soros pointed out that there are risks associated with what was in his opinion a suppression of debate: “I do not subscribe to the myths propagated by enemies of Israel and I am not blaming Jews for anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism predates the birth of Israel. Neither Israel’s policies nor the critics of those policies should be held responsible for anti-Semitism. At the same time, I do believe that attitudes toward Israel are influenced by Israel’s policies, and attitudes toward the Jewish community are influenced by the pro-Israel lobby’s success in suppressing divergent views.”[84] In his book, The Deadliest Lies, Abraham Foxman referred to the notion that the pro-Israel lobby is trying to censor criticism of Israel as a “canard.”[85] Foxman writes that the Jewish community is capable of telling the difference between legitimate criticism of Israel “and the demonization, deligitization, and double standards employed against Israel that is either inherently anti-Semitic or generates an environment of anti-Semitism.”[85]Jonathan Rosenblum expressed similar thoughts: “Indeed, if there were an Israel lobby, and labeling all criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic were its tactic, the steady drumbeat of criticism of Israel on elite campuses and in the elite press would be the clearest proof of its inefficacy.”[86] Alan Dershowitz wrote that he welcomes “reasoned, contextual and comparative criticism of Israeli policies and actions.”[87] If one of the goals of the pro-Israel lobby was to censor criticism of Israel, Dershowitz writes, “it would prove that ‘the Lobby’ is a lot less powerful than the authors would have us believe.”[87] Dershowitz himself, claims to have written several critical pieces on specific Israeli policies.[citation needed] Dershowitz disagrees with those who believe that the media is uncritical of Israel and cites the frequent New York Times editorials and even an editorial in The Jewish Daily Forward against some of Israel’s more right of center policies as proof.[citation needed] Dershowitz also denies that any significant, mainstream leader in the American Jewish community equates criticism of Israel with antisemitism.[citation needed] According to William Safire, the term “Israel Lobby” came into use in the 1970s and, similar to the term “China lobby”, carries “the pejorative connotation of manipulation.”[88] He also writes that supporters of Israel gauge the degree of perceived animus towards the Jewish State by the term chosen to refer to the lobby: “pro-Israel lobby” being used by those with the mildest opposition, followed by “Israel lobby”, with the term “Jewish lobby” being employed by those with the most extreme anti-Israel opinions.[88] According to Walt and Mearsheimer, “Using the term ‘Israel lobby’ is itself somewhat misleading…One might more accurately dub this the ‘pro-Israel community’…” since this is not the lobby of a foreign country, rather, it is composed of Americans.[89][90] However, justifying their usage of the term, they write “because many of the key [pro-Israel] groups do lobby, and because the term ‘Israel lobby’ is used in common parlance (along with labels such as the ‘farm lobby’, ‘insurance lobby’, ‘gun lobby’ and other ethnic lobbies), we have chosen to employ it here.”[91] Progressive journalist John R. MacArthur writes Given my dissident politics, I should be up in arms about the Israel lobby. Not only have I supported the civil rights of the Palestinians over the years, but two of my principal intellectual mentors were George W. Ball and Edward Said, both severe critics of Israel and its extra-special relationship with the United States. Nowadays I ought to be even bolder in my critique, since the silent agreement suppressing candid discussions about Israeli-U.S. relations has recently been shaken by some decidedly mainstream figures. These critics of Israel and its American agents include John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, of the University of Chicago, and Harvard’s Kennedy School, respectively; Tony Judt, a historian at New York University; and former President Jimmy Carter. Somehow, though, I can’t shake the idea that the Israel lobby, no matter how powerful, isn’t all it is cracked up to be, particularly where it concerns the Bush administrations past and present. Indeed, when I think of pernicious foreign lobbies with disproportionate sway over American politics, I can’t see past Saudi Arabia and its royal house, led by King Abdullah.[92] Mearsheimer and Walt have collected and quoted some of the lobbyists’ comments on their organizations’ political capital. For example, Mearsheimer and Walt quote Morris Amitay, former AIPAC director as saying, “Its almost politically suicidal … for a member of Congress who wants to seek reelection to take any stand that might be interpreted as anti-policy of the conservative Israeli government.”[93] They also quote a Michael Massing article in which a staffer[who?] sympathetic to Israel said, “We can count on well over half the House 250 to 300 members to do reflexively whatever AIPAC wants.”[94] Similarly they cite former AIPAC official Steven Rosen illustrating AIPACs power for Jeffrey Goldberg by putting a napkin in front of him and saying, “In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin.”[95] However, some U.S. government officials have stated that the Israel lobby is not so powerful that they control U.S. foreign policy. Former Secretary of State George Shultz stated “… the notion that U.S. policy on Israel and Middle East is the result of [the Israel lobby’s] influence is simply wrong.”[96][97]Dennis B. Ross, former U.S. ambassador and chief peace negotiator in the Middle East under Bill Clinton, who is now an official at WINEP, wrote: “never in the time that I led the American negotiations on the Middle East peace process did we take a step because ‘the lobby’ wanted us to. Nor did we shy away from one because ‘the lobby’ opposed it. That is not to say that AIPAC and others have no influence. They do. But they don’t distort U.S. policy or undermine American interests.”[98] Individual journalists each have their own opinions on how powerful the Israel lobby is. Glenn Frankel wrote: “On Capitol Hill the Israel lobby commands large majorities in both the House and Senate.”[99]Michael Lind produced a cover piece on the Israel lobby for the UK publication Prospect in 2002 which concluded, “The truth about Americas Israel lobby is this: it is not all-powerful, but it is still far too powerful for the good of the U.S. and its alliances in the Middle East and elsewhere.”.[100] Tony Judt, writing in the New York Times, asked rhetorically, “Does the Israel Lobby affect our foreign policy choices? Of course that is one of its goals. But does pressure to support Israel distort American decisions? That’s a matter of judgment.”[101] Mitchell Bard has conducted a study which attempts to roughly quantify the influence of the Israel lobby on 782 policy decisions, over the period of 1945 to 1984, in order to move the debate on its influence away from simple anecdotes. He “found the Israeli lobby won; that is, achieved its policy objective, 60 percent of the time. The most important variable was the president’s position. When the president supported the lobby, it won 95 percent of the time. At first glance it appears the lobby was only successful because its objectives coincided with those of the president, but the lobby’s influence was demonstrated by the fact that it still won 27 percent of the cases when the president opposed its position.”[24] According to a public opinion poll by Zogby International of 1,036 likely voters from October 1012, 2006, 40% of American voters at least somewhat believe the Israel lobby has been a key factor in going to war in Iraq. The following poll question was used: “Question: Do you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree that the work of the Israel lobby on Congress and the Bush administration has been a key factor for going to war in Iraq and now confronting Iran?”[102] In March 2009, Charles W. Freeman, Jr., criticized the lobby after withdrawing his candidacy for the chair of the National Intelligence Council.[103][104] Freeman said, “The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired …. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency …. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process ….”[105] Members of Congress denied that the Israel lobby had a significant role in their opposition to Freeman’s appointment; they cite Freeman’s ties with the Saudi and Chinese governments, objections to certain statements made about the Palestinian territories and his lack of experience as the reasons for their opposition.[106][107] The closest comparison is probably to other ethnic-group based lobbies that attempt to influence American foreign policy decisions such as the Cuban-American lobby, the African-American lobby in foreign policy and the Armenian American lobby, although the lobby has also been compared to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the lobby for the Pharmaceutical industry.[108][109] In comparing the Israel Lobby to the NRA, Glenn Frankel concludes that “Nevertheless, the Israel lobby, and AIPAC in particular, gained a reputation as the National Rifle Association of foreign policy: a hard-edged, pugnacious bunch that took names and kept score. But in some ways it was even stronger. The NRA’s support was largely confined to right-wing Republicans and rural Democrats. But AIPAC made inroads in both parties and both ends of the ideological spectrum.”[99] Zunes describes that some groups who lobby against current U.S. policy on Israel “have accepted funding from autocratic Arab regimes, thereby damaging their credibility” while others have “taken hard-line positions that not only oppose the Israeli occupation but challenge Israel’s very right to exist and are therefore not taken seriously by most policymakers.”[36] Zunes writes that many lobbying groups on the left, such as Peace Action, are “more prone to complain about the power of the Israel lobby and its affiliated PACs than to do serious lobbying on this issue or condition its own PAC contributions on support for a more moderate U.S. policy” in the region.[36]Noam Chomsky, political activist and professor of linguistics at MIT, writes that “there are far more powerful interests that have a stake in what happens in the Persian Gulf region than does AIPAC [or the Lobby generally], such as the oil companies, the arms industry and other special interests whose lobbying influence and campaign contributions far surpass that of the much-vaunted Zionist lobby and its allied donors to congressional races.”[110] However, while comparing the Israel Lobby with the Arab Lobby, Mitchell Bard notes that “From the beginning, the Arab lobby has faced not only a disadvantage in electoral politics but also in organization. There are several politically oriented groups, but many of these are one man operations with little financial or popular support.”[111] The Arab American Institute is involved in supporting Arab-American political candidates, but, according to award-winning journalist Ray Hanania “its nothing compared to the funds that AIPAC raises not just for Jewish American congressmen, but for congressmen who support Israel.”[112] Furthermore, Arab American lobbies face a problem of motivation; Jewish Americans feel the need to support their homeland (as well as other states in the Middle East who have signed peace treaties with Israel) in active, organized ways. Arab Americans do not appear to have a similar motivation when it comes to their own homelands.[113] Friendly relations between Israel and the U.S. has been and continues to be a tenet of both American and Israeli foreign policy. Israel receives bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that U.S. and Israel share common “economic, political, strategic, and diplomatic concerns” and that the countries exchange “intelligence and military information” and cooperate in an effort to halt international terrorism and illegal drug trade.[114] Furthermore, a majority of American citizens view Israel favorably.[115] In 2011, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (a think tank founded by “a small group of visionary Americans committed to advancing U.S. interests in the Middle East”) argued that the U.S.-Israel relationship is “A Strategic Asset for the United States.”[116][117] In discussing their report, Walter B. Slocombe said that while in the popular imagination, the U.S.-Israel relationship is only good for Israel, Israel provides enormous assistance to the United States, including military expertise which has saved American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. Robert D. Blackwill countered the claim that the U.S.-Israel relationship significantly damages the relationship between the United States and the Arab world. He asked rhetorically: “Would Saudi Arabia’s policies toward the United States be markedly different in practice if Washington entered into a sustained crisis with Israel over the Palestine issue during which the bilateral relationship between the United States and Israel went into steep, systemic decline? In that instance, would Riyadh lower the price of oil? Would it stop hedging its regional bets concerning U.S. attempts to coerce Iran into freezing its nuclear weapons program? Would it regard U.S. policy toward Afghanistan any less critically? Would it view American democracy promotion in the Middle East more favorably? Would it be more inclined to reform its internal governmental processes to be more in line with U.S. preferences? Walt [Slocombe] and I judge the answer to all these questions [to be] ‘No.'”[117] When asked how this report could so flatly contradict the Walt and Mearsheimer thesis, Slocombe responded, “There is so much error in the world,” and added, “I think it would be interesting to ask them whether they make the same contrary argument about the other countries to whom we also provide something like this kind of support. There are obviously differences, but the principle is the same.”[117] The Israel Project noted in 2009 that “when youre talking to Americans, you need to know that when you dont support a two-state solution you risk having a major public relations challenge in America and Europe.”[118] In a 2008 editorial, Israeli-American historian and author Michael B. Oren wrote that Israel and the United States are natural allies, despite what the opposition from “much of American academia and influential segments of the media.” Oren claimed this was because Israel and the United States shared similar values such as “respect for civic rights and the rule of law” and democracy. Israel and the United States share military intelligence in order to fight terrorism.[119] Oren also noted that “more than 70% of [Americans], according to recent polls, favor robust ties with the Jewish state.”[119] In his 2007 review of Mearsheimer and Walt’s book, Jeffrey Goldberg wrote: “Forty years of polling has consistently shown that Americans support Israel in its conflict with the Arabs. … Both Israel and America were founded by refugees from European religious intolerance; both are rooted in a common religious tradition; Israel is a lively democracy in a part of the world that lacks democracy; Israelis seem self-reliant in the manner of American pioneers; and Israel’s enemies, in many cases, seem to be America’s enemies as well.”[120] Israeli academic and political activist Jeff Halper said that “Israel is able to pursue its occupation only because of its willingness to serve Western (mainly U.S.) imperial interests” and that rather than influencing the United States via the lobby, Israel is actually “a handmaiden of American Empire.”[36] According to political scientists John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, though, “the combination of unwavering U.S. support for Israel and the related effort to spread democracy throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized U.S. security.” They alleged that while “one might assume that the bond between the two countries is based on shared strategic interests or compelling moral imperatives….neither of those explanations can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the United States provides to Israel.”[121]Robert Satloff cited the events of MayJune 2010 (in which Israel stopped a flotilla meant to break its blockade of the Gaza Strip and yet, a few days later, every country expected to vote U.N. sanctions against Iran ended up voting as the U.S. wanted them to) as a counter-example that disproved that point of view.[122] Goldberg similarly cited the Arab Spring to counter Walt and Mearsheimer’s point: “It seems as if the Arab masses have been much less upset about Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians than they have been about their own treatment at the hands of their unelected leaders. If Israel ceased to exist tomorrow, Arabs would still be upset at the quality of their leadership (and they would still blame the United States for supporting the autocrats who make them miserable); Iran would still continue its drive to expunge American influence from the Middle East; and al Qaeda would still seek to murder Americans and other Westerners.”[123] In 2006 former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq Scott Ritter published “Target Iran: The Truth About the White House’s Plans for Regime Change” (ISBN 978-1-56025-936-7). In his book he stated that certain Israelis and pro-Israel elements in the United States were trying to push the Bush administration into war with Iran.[124] He also accuses the U.S. pro-Israel lobby of dual loyalty and outright espionage (see Lawrence Franklin espionage scandal).[125] American journalist Michael Massing argues that there is a lack of media coverage on the Israel lobby and posits this explanation: “Why the blackout? For one thing, reporting on these groups is not easy. AIPAC’s power makes potential sources reluctant to discuss the organization on the record, and employees who leave it usually sign pledges of silence. AIPAC officials themselves rarely give interviews, and the organization even resists divulging its board of directors.”[55] Massing writes that in addition to AIPAC’s efforts to maintain a low profile, “journalists, meanwhile, are often loath to write about the influence of organized Jewry. In the end, though, the main obstacle to covering these groups is fear.”[55]Steven Rosen, a former director of foreign-policy issues for AIPAC, explained to Jeffrey Goldberg of The New Yorker that “a lobby is like a night flower: it thrives in the dark and dies in the sun.”[126] According to Gal Beckerman there are many individual pro-Israel op-ed columnists, but the argument that the media as a whole is part of the Israel lobby cannot be concluded from Mearsheimer and Walt’s cherry picked evidence: “Walt and Mearsheimer undermine our intelligence by assuming that we are simply being manipulated…. If the lobby is so influential over the media, how were Walt and Mearsheimer given such space in every major news outlet in the country to express their ‘dangerous’ views? You want to tell me that a force that can impel us to got [sic] to war in Iraq cant find a way to censor two academics? Not much of a lobby, now is it?”[127] Writing for the Columbia Journalism Review, Beckerman cites examples of op-eds critical of Israel from several major U.S. newspapers and concludes that an equally compelling argument could be made that the Israel lobby doesn’t control the media. Itamar Rabinovich, writing for the Brookings Institution, wrote, “The truth of the matter is that, insofar as the lobby ever tries to intimidate and silence, the effort usually causes more damage than it redresses. In any event, the power of the lobby to do that is very modest.”[128] On The Diane Rehm Show (December 11, 2006), Middle East experts Hisham Melhem, Lebanese journalist and Washington Bureau Chief for Al-Arabia, and Dennis Ross, a Jewish-American diplomat working as counselor Washington Institute for Near East Policy, when asked about the pervasive Israeli influence on American foreign policy in the Middle East mentioned in former President Jimmy Carter’s 2006 book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid said: [H. Melhem] “When it comes to Israel [discussing Israeli and/or Jewish American issues], it is still almost a taboo in certain parts, not everywhere…there are certain things that cannot be said about the Israeli government or America’s relationship with Israel or about the Israeli lobby. Yes there is, excuse me, there is an Israeli lobby, but when we say an Israeli lobby we are not talking about a Jewish cabal. The Israeli lobby operates the way the NRA operates, a system of rewards and punishment, you help your friends by money, by advocacy and everything, and sometimes they pool money in to the campaigns of those people that they see as friendly to Israel. This is the American game”.[129] (radio interview: 16:30-20:05) “Prime Minister Yitzak Rabins handshake with Yasir Arafat during the 13 September [1993] White House ceremony elicited dramatically opposed reactions among American Jews. To the liberal universalists the accord was highly welcome news. However, to the hard-core Zionists — the Orthodox community and right wing Jews — the peace treaty amounted to what some dubbed the ‘handshake earthquake.’ From the perspective of the Orthodox, Oslo was not just an affront to the sanctity of Eretz Yisrael, but also a personal threat to the Orthodox settlers … in the West Bank and Gaza. For Jewish nationalists … the peace treaty amounted to an appeasement of Palestinian terrorism.” “Abandoning any pretense of unity, both segments began to develop separate advocacy and lobbying organizations. The liberal supporters of the Oslo Accord worked … to assure Congress that American Jewry was behind the Accord and defended the efforts of the [Clinton] administration to help the fledgling Palestinian authority (PA) including promises of financial aid. … Working on the other side of the fence, a host of Orthodox groups, … launched a major public opinion campaign against Oslo. … Hard-core Zionists also criticized, often in harsh language, [the Labor government] architect[s] of the peace accord. “Not only was the Israeli electorate divided on the Oslo accords, but so, too, was the American Jewish community, particularly … among the major New York and Washington-based public interest groups. U.S. Jews opposed to Oslo teamed up with Israelis “who brought their domestic issues to Washington” and together they pursued a campaign that focused most of its attention on Congress and the aid program. … The Administration, the Rabin-Peres government, and some American Jewish groups teamed on one side while Israeli opposition groups and anti-Oslo American Jewish organizations pulled Congress in the other direction. “Powerful interest groups lobby against Israel in Washington while much of American academia and influential segments of the media are staunchly opposed to any association with Israel. How does the alliance [between the United States and Israel] surmount these challenges? One reason, certainly, is values the respect for civic rights and the rule of law that is shared by the world’s most powerful republic and the Middle East’s only stable democracy. There is also Israel’s determination to fight terror, and its willingness to share its antiterror expertise. … The admiration which the U.S. inspires among Israelis is overwhelmingly reciprocated by Americans, more than 70% of whom, according to recent polls, favor robust ties with the Jewish state.”

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