Monday, April 16, 2007

The Soros antenna

David Seaton's News Links
George Soros has one of the world's most highly developed senses of where things are going to be in the future. Whether those things are currency futures or political ideas, his antenna are legendary.

The right wing advocates of "Greater Israel" that make up the back bone of AIPAC, themselves a minority of a minority, are driving Israel off a cliff and pulling the United States after it. As the disaster deepens this could have a devastating effect on America's vibrant Jewish community, something that in turn would have a devastating effect on American society in general. This is what I think Soros's antenna are picking up.

As rich as any of the AIPAC
core members, he is a formidable opponent not to be trifled with and, along with former president Jimmy Carter and professors Mearsheimer and Walt, he is helping to make a frank conversation about US/Israeli relations possible. DS

Soros adds voice to debate over Israel lobby - Reuters
Abstract: The billionaire investor George Soros has added his voice to a heated but little-noticed debate over the role of Israel's powerful lobby in shaping Washington policy in a way critics say hurts U.S. national interests and stifles debate. In the current issue of the New York Review of Books, Soros takes issue with "the pervasive influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)" in Washington and says the Bush administration's close ties with Israel are obstacles to a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. Soros, who is Jewish but not often engaged in Israel affairs, echoed arguments that have fueled a passionate debate conducted largely in the rarefied world of academia, foreign policy think tanks and parts of the U.S. Jewish community. "The pro-Israel lobby has been remarkably successful in suppressing criticism," wrote Soros. Politicians challenge it at their peril and dissenters risk personal vilification, he said.(...) The long-simmering debate bubbled to the surface a year ago, when two prominent academics, Stephen Walt of Harvard and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, published a 12,500-word essay entitled "The Israel Lobby" and featuring the fiercest criticism of AIPAC since it was founded in 1953. AIPAC now has more than 100,000 members and is rated one of the most influential special interest groups in the United States, its political clout comparable with such lobbies as the National Rifle Association. Its annual conference in Washington attracts a Who's Who of American politics, both Republicans and Democrats. Mearsheimer and Walt said the lobby had persuaded successive administrations to align themselves too closely with Israel. "The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread 'democracy' has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized not only U.S. security but much of the rest of the world," they wrote. No other lobby group has managed to divert U.S. foreign policy so far from the U.S. national interest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. interests and those of Israel are essentially identical, they wrote. Once considered an honest broker in the Middle East, the United States is now seen in much of the Arab world as an unquestioning backer of Israel, according to international opinion polls.(...) The two academics said that pressure from Israel and its lobby in Washington played an important role in President George W. Bush's decision to attack Iraq, an arch-enemy of Israel, in 2003. Mearsheimer and Walt found no takers for their essay in the U.S. publishing world. When it was eventually published in the London Review of Books, they noted it would be hard to imagine any mainstream media outlet in the United States publishing such a piece.(...) In his contribution to the debate, Soros said: "A much-needed self-examination of American policy in the Middle East has started in this country; but it can't make much headway as long as AIPAC retains powerful influence in both the Democratic and Republican parties." That influence is reflected by the fact that Israel is the largest recipient of U.S. aid in the world.(...) According to Oren, the pro-AIPAC historian, the Carter book and the Mearsheimer-Walt paper had the same "insidious thesis" and suffered from the same flaw -- ignoring oil as a driving element in U.S. policies on the Middle East. READ IT ALL

No comments: