Wednesday, September 05, 2007

"The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy ": a dangerous road

David Seaton's News Links
What strikes me most on reading all the Mearsheimer-Walt and Finkelstein material is the almost superhuman amount of effort, work and treasure involved in the Lobby's keeping this lead balloon full of bullshit airborn for so many years: really fooling "all of the people, all of the time".

Now the cat is out of the bag, and soon everybody will be nodding and winking and nudging each other every time a Foxman or a Dershowitz opens his mouth, but at the same time all the media support and the campaign financing will still be in place. That will mean that nobody in congress will dare move a muscle. Everybody in the country will be talking about this, at work, at dinner, but no presidential candidate will dare mention it and all of this will then turn into a huge joke. The general public will hold the political class in open, sniggering, contempt.

Of course this will find some political expression somehow... what, I don't know, but it will have to be outside the major parties. If we go to war with Iran and it turns out to be the mother of disasters (imagine an aircraft carrier sunk for starters), something that triggers a severe economic downturn, one that has a sizable quotient of "financial engineering", with poor people being thrown out of their homes, than a sizable part of the American population will lay that disaster square at the feet of the American Jewish community. It has happened before.

There have been three countries in "Christendom" where the Jews have lived "golden ages": Spain, Germany and the United States. Massive waves of antisemitism nearly destroyed the first two. The Spanish have a saying, "When you see your neighbor's beard on fire, put your beard to soak". What is imperative is that we "do nuances", the sheep must be separated from the goats, the wheat from the chaff and babies must not be thrown out with the bath water. The situation that Mearsheimer and Walt present must be clarified and corrected, but without frightening old "Mrs. Goldberg" that owns the corner 'delly' for even a moment. The future of the United States as country any civilized person would care to ever live in hangs in the balance. DS

Bromwich: Iraq, Israel, Iran - Huffington Post
Abstract: The chief orchestrater of the second neoconservative war of aggression is Elliott Abrams. Convicted for deceptions around Iran-Contra, as Lewis Libby was convicted for deceptions stemming from Iraq--and pardoned by the elder Bush just as Libby had his sentence commuted by the younger--Abrams now presides over the Middle East desk at the National Security Council. All of the wildness of this astonishing functionary and all his reckless love of subversion will be required to pump up the "imminent danger" of Iran. For here, as with Iraq, the danger can only be made to look imminent by manipulation and forgery. On all sober estimates, Iran is several months from mastering the nuclear cycle, and several years from producing a weapon. Whereas Israel for decades has been in possession of a substantial nuclear arsenal. How mad is Elliott Abrams? If one passage cited by Mearsheimer-Walt is quoted accurately, it would seem to be the duty of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to subject Abrams to as exacting a challenge as the Senate Judiciary Committee brought to Alberto Gonzales. The man at the Middle East desk of the National Security Council wrote in 1997 in his book Faith or Fear: "there can be no doubt that Jews, faithful to the covenant between God and Abraham, are to stand apart from the nation in which they live. It is the very nature of being Jewish to be apart--except in Israel--from the rest of the population." When he wrote those words, Abrams probably did not expect to serve in another American administration. He certainly did not expect to occupy a position that would require him to weigh the national interest of Israel, the country with which he confessed himself uniquely at one, alongside the national interest of a country in which he felt himself to stand "apart...from the rest of the population." Now that he is calling the shots against Hamas and Hezbollah, Damascus and Tehran, his words of 1997 ought to alarm us into reflection. Among many possible lines of inquiry, the senators might begin by recognizing that the United States has other allies in Asia besides Israel. One of those allies is India; and there is a further point of resemblance. In a distinct exception to our anti-proliferation policy, we have allowed India to develop nuclear weapons; just as, in an earlier such exception, we allowed Israel to do the same. But suppose we read tomorrow a statement by the director of the South Asia desk of the National Security Council which declared: "There can be no doubt that Hindus are to stand apart from any nation in which they live. It is the very nature of being Hindu to be apart--except in India--from the rest of the population." Suppose, further, we knew this man still held these beliefs at a time of maximum tension between India and Pakistan; and that he had recently channeled 86 million dollars to regional gangs and militias bent on increasing the tension. Would we not conclude that something in our counsels of state had gone seriously out of joint? The Mearsheimer-Walt study of American policy deserves to be widely read and discussed. It could not be more timely. If the speeches and saber-rattling by the president, the ambassador to Iraq, and several army officers mean anything, they mean that Cheney and Abrams are preparing to do to Iran what Cheney and Wolfowitz did to Iraq. They are gunning for an incident. They are working against some resistance from the armed forces but none from the opposition party at home. The president has ordered American troops to confront Iran. Sarkozy has fallen into line, Brown and Merkel are silent, and outside the United States only Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency stands between the war party and a prefabricated justification for a war that would extend across a vast subcontinent. Unless some opposition can rouse itself, we are poised to descend with non-partisan compliance into a moral and political disaster that will dwarf anything America has seen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't think the Lobby has gone queit in the face of the Mearsheimer/Walt book...

ADL launches Campaign to promote US war on Iran

One of the primary points of the recent Mearsheimer-Walt book "The Israel Lobby" [1] is that the lobby frequently pushes for policies and actions that not only are not in the best interests of the United States, but often not really in the long term interests of Israel either. As though on a mission to prove the point, the Anti-Defamation League – an integral component of the Mearsheimer/Walt defined Israel Lobby – has announced a public relations campaign to promote a U.S. attack on Iran.

Although the vast majority of Americans are opposed to a U.S. attack on Iran [2] – a fact that has been a problem for many leaders of the Israel Lobby [3] – roughly 71% of Israelis actively support the idea of the U.S. attacking Iran [4]. This fact, coupled with the fact that a "nuclear Iran" has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the ADL ostensible mission of fighting anti-Semitism in the United States, completely reaffirms the Mearsheimer/Walt contention that the ADL is part and parcel of the Israel lobby and all its proclamations should be viewed in that context.

Today's press release by the ADL says in part:

"Over the next few weeks and months, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) will roll out a public awareness and advocacy campaign aimed at focusing attention on the gathering threat of a nuclear-armed Iran to Israel, the Middle East and the world. With the slogan, 'No Nuclear Iran,' the campaign focuses on Iran's clear and present threat to Israel, America and the global community through high-profile eye-catching posters, advertisements in national and community newspapers, and other awareness initiatives using e-mail and the Internet to spread the word." [5]

Although the press release, and thus presumably the campaign itself, does not explicitly call for a U.S. attack on Iran, Abraham Foxman and the ADL are already on record calling for "a military response" to Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program. [6] Despite the fact that there remains absolutely no tangible evidence that Iran's nuclear program is military in nature [7], Israel simply won't accept the facts of the situation or the complete lack of evidence as a counter-point to its unfounded assumptions. [8] The entire case for an Iranian nuclear weapons program is based on the "common sense" argument; namely with Iran being almost completely surrounded by nuclear powers (U.S. in Iraq & Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Russia, and Israel) they would be foolish not to develop their own nuclear weapons program. That is the extent of the case.

Nevertheless, the ADL campaign: "has three key objectives:

> Moving the Iranian issue to the top of the agenda for the Jewish community as both a political and social justice issue of the utmost urgency;
> Making the broader public aware of what a nuclear-armed Iran will mean for all of us and why its drive toward a nuclear weapon capability must be stopped;
> Alerting and educating the U.S. and international communities to specific actions, including stronger sanctions, that may be taken to deter Iranian nuclear proliferation." [9]

Such a campaign cannot possibly have any other purpose than to mislead the American public into thinking that there is some purpose or justification for a U.S. attack on Iran. The Oxford Research Group, which correctly predicted the outcome of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, has issued a comprehensive briefing that concludes:

"An attack on Iranian nuclear infrastructure would signal the start of a protracted military confrontation that would probably grow to involve Iraq, Israel and Lebanon, as well as the USA and Iran. The report concludes that a military response to the current crisis in relations with Iran is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further. Alternative approaches must be sought, however difficult these may be." [10]

In fact, just as Mearsheimer and Walt suggest, an attack on Iran may very well not prove to be in Israel's best interest either, despite Israeli public opinion. Even discarding the supposed nuclear threat, Iran has other means of striking Israel:

"The Qatari newspaper Al Watan on Sunday quoted diplomatic sources in Damascus as saying that Iran has marked 600 targets in Israel for missile strikes in case it is attacked. The report said the targets are within reach of Iranian missiles and would be completely destroyed if Israel should attack Iran or participate in an American attack on the country. Iran's warning refers to talk in Israel and the United States of a possible military strike to prevent the Islamic republic from attaining nuclear capability." [11]

The new ADL campaign must be seen as a validation of the Mearsheimer/Walt contention that the Israel lobby is dominated by extreme right-wing ideologues that do not represent the best interests of Americans in general – obviously including the majority of Jewish-Americans – and probably doesn't represent Israel's best interest either.

Just say "No!" to a U.S. attack on Iran – and American groups like the ADL that are actively promoting one.

Admin of "Why Would the U.S. Attack Iran?"


[1] John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," 2007, Farrar, Straus and Giroux,

[2] For a collection of recent polls, see: PollingReport.Com

[3] James D. Besser, "Jewish Leaders Caught In Iran Bind," The Jewish Week, 31 August 2007,

[4] Aluf Benn, "Poll: 71% of Israelis want the U.S. to strike Iran if talks fail," Ha'aretz, 18 May 2007,

[5] ADL Press Release, "ADL Campaign Says 'No' to Nuclear Iran," Anti-Defamation League Website, 5 September 2007,

[6] "Declarations by the international community that Iran cannot be allowed to possess nuclear weapons must be made credible by action. Pressure must be brought to bear on Iran in every way possible in order to convince Tehran to give up on its nuclear program — and if all else fails, a military response must remain an option."
Abraham Foxman, "Take Tehran at Its Word," The Forward, 4 November 2005, reproduced online by the ADL at:

[7] Atul Aneja, "IAEA says no evidence of Iranian Nuclear Weapons plan," The Hindu, 2 March 2006, Reproduced online by Global Research at

[8] AFP/Reuters, "Israel 'not fooled' by Iranian nuclear assurances," ABC News, 27 August 2006,

[9] ADL Press Release, "ADL Campaign Says 'No' to Nuclear Iran," Anti-Defamation League Website, 5 September 2007,

[10] Paul Rogers, "Iran: Consequences of a War," February 2006, Oxford Research Group,

[11] Yoev Stern, Barak Ravid, and Yossi Melman, "Report: Iran has 600 targets for missile strike in Israel if attacked," Ha'aretz, 15 July 2007,