Photo from Unz Review]
Ali Abunimah and Philip Giraldi report on Israel’s powerful lobby in the UK, the US, and beyond.
Ali Abunimah writes in Electronic Intifada: “AIPAC is hoping to turn UK politics into a carbon copy of the US Congress, where the powerful lobby group has long quashed virtually all open criticism of Israel’s violent suppression of Palestinian rights.
“The final episode of The Lobby, Al Jazeera’s groundbreaking investigation of the Israel lobby’s activities in the UK, casts light on the extent of AIPAC’s transatlantic ambitions.”
Episode four of The Lobby, which can be viewed above, shows Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter attending a meeting of City Friends of Israel, a group established with the help of Israeli embassy agent Shai Masot to build support for Israel within London’s financial district.
The meeting was coordinated with AIPAC and is addressed by Joe Richards, the lobby group’s “Wall Street director,” who explains how it focuses on building relationships with lawmakers.
“The real strategic goal is to get the UK to behave more like the US than Europe, when it comes to Israel, pull them, tug them into the US sphere,” another of the US attendees at the meeting explains to Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter.
The embassy’s Shai Masot also tells the undercover reporter that he took a delegation of dozens of donors from “rich families” in the UK to AIPAC’s conference in Washington, DC.
The donors to Conservative Friends of Israel and Labour Friends of Israel met with AIPAC’s head of strategy to glean “ideas for Britain.”
Zionism on campus
Adam Schapira and Elliott Miller, two pro-Israel activists, reveal in the first episode of The Lobby that AIPAC provided them with funding to set up the Pinsker Centre, an advocacy group to promote Zionism on UK campuses.
Schapira made an unsuccessful bid to be elected president of the Union of Jewish Students, which has received funding from the Israeli embassy. Miller spent a yearworking at the Israeli foreign ministry’s division that handles relations with the US Congress, which put him in close contact with AIPAC.
In October, Miller was filmed being violent and abusive during student protests against a speech by a former Israeli army officer at University College London.
Videos online show Miller using Islamophobic abuse against students. “It’s a violent religion,” he shouts at one protester.
When the Pinsker Centre was launched last March, Miller marketed it as “vibrant and grassroots.”
One of its first activities was hosting a talk on the theme of “libelous myths of Israeli war crimes.”
It also led a delegation to AIPAC’s annual conference in Washington, and plans more such trips in the future.
Corbyn demands inquiry
The revelations in The Lobby have roiled pro-Israel advocates in the UK, who have gone into damage control mode.
The Israeli ambassador has apologized for Masot’s role in the plot revealed in The Lobby to “take down” UK lawmakers, including a deputy foreign minister deemed too critical of Israel.
The Israeli government has also made implausible claims distancing itself from Masot and attempting to portray his activities, clearly coordinated with his colleagues, as those of a loose cannon.
Masot was particularly focused on trying to engineer “grassroots” support for Israel within the main opposition Labour Party, while encouraging pro-Israel activists to lodge complaints against supporters of Palestinian rights who have been falsely accused of anti-Semitism.
The UK government has tried to downplay the revelations in The Lobby by accepting the ambassador’s apology and declaring the matter “closed.”
But on Friday, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May to call for a full investigation.
“Many members of Parliament and the public will be extremely concerned at this evidence of attempts to undermine the integrity of our democracy,” Corbyn says in a letter to May released to the media.
“This is clearly a national security issue,” Corbyn adds. “I would therefore ask that you treat the matter as such and launch an inquiry into the extent of this improper interference.”
All four parts of The Lobby can now be viewed online. Read Full article
Israel Lobby in US and Other Countries
Philip Giraldi, executive director of the Council for the National Interest, writes in the Unz Review:
“It does not require much in the way of imagination to realize that the Masot meetings probably occur every day right out in the open in Washington, including Israeli officials and Congressmen as well as heads of political advocacy organizations and lobbies.”
Giraldi notes the list of American politicians taken down by Israel: Cynthia McKinney, Adlai Stevenson III, Paul Findley, Chuck Percy, William Fulbright, Roger Jepsen, and Pete McCloskey.
Giraldi writes that analyst Jeff Blankfort has reported that many US nonprofits are headed by Jewish Americans very willing to criticize the U.S. but reluctant to say anything bad about Israel. “Whether they are actually directly or indirectly on the Israeli government payroll would be an interesting project for a good investigative journalist.”
Giraldi points out that Israel’s interference in the US is “far more damaging than anything Moscow has done. Yet Russia is being excoriated by the U.S. and European media daily, investigated by Congress and sanctioned because of what are little more than unproven allegations.”
“It all recalls Pat Buchanan’s description of the U.S. Congress as an Israeli occupied zone,” Giraldi writes.
“Indeed, lobbying on behalf of Israel is a global phenomenon with organizations like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) existing in various forms in a number of other countries.
BICOM, the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre, is an AIPAC clone located in London. It is well funded and politically powerful, working through its various “Friends of Israel” proxies. Americans might be surprised to learn that in Britain Jewish organizations uniquely are allowed to patrol heavily Jewish London neighborhoods in police-like uniforms while driving police type vehicles and there have been reports of their threatening Muslims who enter the areas.
Indeed, wherever one goes – Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States – there is a well-organized and funded mechanism in place ready, willing and able to go to war to protect Israel. Most of the organizations involved take at least some direction from officials in Tel Aviv. Many of them even cooperate fully with the Israeli government, its parastatal organizations and faux-NGOs like the lawfare center Shurat HaDin. Their goal is to spread propaganda and influence the public in their respective countries of residence to either hew to the line coming out of Tel Aviv or to confuse the narrative and stifle debate when potential Israeli crimes are being discussed.
Israel’s diaspora allies are backed up by a formidable government organized machine that spews out disinformation and muddies the waters whenever critics surface. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has a corps of paid “volunteers” who monitor websites worldwide and take remedial action and there is a similar group working out of the Prime Minister’s office. That is why any negative story appearing in the U.S. or Britain about Israel is immediately inundated with pro-Israel comments, many of which make exactly the same coordinated points while exhibiting the same somewhat less than perfect English. On sites like Yahoo they are actually able to suppress unwelcome comments by flooding the site with “Dislike” responses. If a comment receives a large number of dislikes, it is automatically blocked or removed.
The sayanim, local Jews in their countries of residence, are essential to this process, having been alerted by emails from the Israeli Foreign Ministry about what to do and say. The reality is that Israel has lost the war of public opinion based on its own actions, which are becoming more and more repressive and even inhumane and so are difficult to explain. That means that the narrative has to be shifted by Israel’s friends through subterfuge and the corruption of the information and political processes in each country. In some places the key media and political players who are engaged in the process can simply be bought. In other places like England they can be intimidated or pressured into taking positions that are neither in their own countries’ interests nor morally acceptable. In large countries like the United States, Britain and France a combination of friendly suasion and coercive elements often come together.
In some extreme cases the game Israel plays is brutal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently warned New Zealand that backing a U.N. resolution condemning Israeli settlements would be a “declaration of war.” In all cases, the objective is the same: to repress completely, discourage or misrepresent any criticism of Israel and to block any initiatives that might be taken that would do damage either to the Israeli economy or to the country’s perceived standing in the world. In some countries including the U.S. and Britain, Israel’s advocates work their subversion of local institutions right out in the open and are highly successful in implementing policies that often remain largely hidden but that can be discerned as long as one knows what to look for.
Giraldi: How Israel drives US policies exploiting a spineless Congress and White House
At a recent panel discussion in Washington, screenwriter, film director and producer Oliver Stone briefly addressed the issue of alleged Russian interference in the recent national election, observing that “Israel interfered in the U.S. election far more than Russia and nobody is investigating them.” A few days later, in an interview with Stephen Colbert on the Late Show, Stone returned to the theme, responding to an aggressive claim that Russia had interfered in the election by challenging Colbertwith “Israel had far more involvement in the U.S. election than Russia. Why don’t you ask me about that?”
Don’t look for the exchange with Colbert on YouTube. CBS deleted it from its broadcast and website, demonstrating once again that the “I” word cannot be disparaged on national television. Stone was, of course, referring to the fact that the Israel Lobby, most notably acting through its American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), is undeniably a foreign lobby, no less so than anyone representing the presumed interests of Russia or China. It operates with complete impunity on Capitol Hill and also at state and local levels and no one dares to require it to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, which would permit scrutiny of its finances and also end its tax-exempt “educational” status. Nor does Congress or the media see fit to inquire into AIPAC’s empowerment of candidates based on their fidelity to Israel, not to mention the direct interference in the American electoral process which surfaced most visibly in its support of candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.
The last president that sought to compel the predecessor organization of AIPAC to register was John F. Kennedy, who also was about to take steps to rein in Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program when he was assassinated, which was a lucky break for Israel, particularly as Kennedy was replaced by the passionate Zionist Lyndon Baines Johnson. Funny how things sometimes work out. The Warren Commission looked deeply into a possible Cuban connection in the shooting and came up with nothing but one has to wonder if they also investigated the possible roles of other countries. Likewise, the 9/11 Commission Report failed to examine the possible involvement of Israel in the terrorist attack in spite of a considerable body of evidence suggesting that there were a number of Israeli-sourced covert operations running in the U.S. at that time.
Looking back from the perspective of his more than 40 years of military service, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Thomas Moorer described the consequences of Jewish power vis-à-vis U.S. policy towards Israel, stating that “I’ve never seen a president – I don’t care who he is – stand up to them [the Israelis]. It just boggles your mind. They always get what they want. The Israelis know what is going on all the time. I got to the point where I wasn’t writing anything down. If the American people understood what a grip those people have got on our government, they would rise up in arms. Our citizens don’t have any idea what goes on.”
He also addressed the 1967 Israeli assault on the USS Liberty, saying “Israel attempted to prevent the Liberty’s radio operators from sending a call for help by jamming American emergency radio channels. [And that] Israeli torpedo boats machine-gunned lifeboats at close range that had been lowered to rescue the most-seriously wounded.” He concluded with “our government put Israel’s interests ahead of our own? If so, Why? Does our government continue to subordinate American interests to Israeli interests?”
It is a question that might well be asked today, as the subservience to Israeli interests is, if anything, more pervasive in 2017 Washington than it was in 2002 when Moorer spoke up. And, as in Moorer’s day, much of the partiality towards Israel makes its way through congress with little or no media coverage lest anyone begin to wonder whose tail is wagging which dog. To put it succinctly, there is an Israeli hand in much of what the United States does internationally, and the involvement is not intended to do anything good for the American people.
During the past several weeks alone there has been a flurry of legislation backed by Israel and its Lobby. One bill might actually have been written by AIPAC. It is called Senate 722, Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017. The bill has 63 co-sponsors, most of whom are the usual suspects, but it also included an astonishingly large number of Democrats who describe themselves as progressive, including Corey Booker and Kamila Harris, both of whom are apparently terrified lest they say “no” to Israel. With 63 co-sponsors out of 100 senators the bill was certain to pass overwhelmingly, and it was indeed approved 98 to 2, with only Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders voting “no.”
And there’s more to S.722 than Iran – its subtitle is “An act to provide congressional review and to counter Iranian and Russian governments’ aggression.” Much of it is designed to increase sanctions on both Iran and Russia while also limiting the White House’s ability to relieve any sanctions without approval by congress. Regarding Iran, the bill mandates that “Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 2 years thereafter, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Director of National Intelligence shall jointly develop and submit to the appropriate congressional committees a strategy for deterring conventional and asymmetric Iranian activities and threats that directly threaten the United States and key allies in the Middle East, North Africa, and beyond.”
The premise is of course nonsensical as Iran’s ability to threaten anyone, least of all the United States, is limited. It is far outgunned by its neighbors and even more so by the U.S., but it has become the enemy of choice for congress as well as for the former generals who serve as White House advisers. The animus against Iran comes directly from Israel and from the Saudi Arabians, who have managed to sell their version of developments in their part of the world through a completely acquiescent and heavily Jewish influenced western media.
And there’s more. A bill has surfaced in the House of Representatives that will require the United States to “consult” with Israel regarding any prospective arms sales to Arab countries in the Middle East. In other words, Israel will have a say, backed up undoubtedly by Congress and the media, over what the United States does in terms of its weapons sales abroad. The sponsors of the bill, one Brad Schneider of Illinois, and Claudia Tenney of New York, want “closer scrutiny of future military arms sales” to maintain the “qualitative military edge” that Israel currently enjoys.
Schneider is, of course, Jewish and a life member of AIPAC, so it is hardly as if he is a disinterested party. Tenny runs for office in New York State, so it is hardly as if she is disinterested either, but the net result of all this is that American jobs and U.S. international security arrangements through weapons sales will be at least in part subject to Israeli veto. And you know that is precisely what will happen as Israel could give a damn what happens to the struggling American entity that it so successfully feeds off of.
And there’s still more. Bill HR 672 Combating European Anti-Semitism Act of 2017 was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives on June 14th. Yes, I said “unanimously.” The bill requires the State Department to monitor what European nations and their police forces are doing about anti-Semitism and encourages them to adopt “a uniform definition of anti-Semitism.” That means that criticism of Israel must be considered anti-Semitism and will therefore be a hate crime and prosecutable, a status that is already de facto true in Britain and France. If the Europeans don’t play ball, there is the possibility of repercussions in trade negotiations. The bill was co-sponsored by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Florida and Nita Lowey of New York, both of whom are Jewish.
There is also a Senate companion bill on offer in the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Act of 2017. The bill will make the Anti-Semitism Envoy a full American Ambassador and will empower him or her with a full staff and a budget permitting meddling worldwide. The bill is sponsored by Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Marco Rubio of Florida. Gillibrand is unlikely to miss co-sponsoring anything relating to Israel due to her own self-interest and Rubio wants to be president real bad so he is following the money.
And finally, the U.S. Senate has also approved a resolution celebrating the 50thanniversary of Israel’s conquest of East Jerusalem. Again, the vote was unanimous. The resolution was co-sponsored by Senators Charles Schumer and Mitch McConnell, two reptiles who give snakes a bad name and about whom the less said the better. Schumer is Jewish and has described himself as the “shomer” or guardian of Israel in the Senate. That the resolution opposes long established U.S. government policy that the occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank by Israel is in contravention of international law and is an impediment to any peace process with the Palestinians apparently bothered not even one Senator.
I might note in passing that there has been no Senate resolution commemorating the 50thanniversary of the bravery exhibited by the officers and crew of the USS Liberty as they were being slaughtered by the Israelis at the same time as Jerusalem was being “liberated.” There is probably even more to say, to include secret agreements with the Pentagon and intelligence agencies, but I will stop at this point with one final observation. President Donald Trump traveled to the Middle East claiming to be desirous of starting serious negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, but it was all a sham. Benjamin Netanyahu took him aside and came out with the usual Israeli bullshit about the Palestinians “inciting” violence and hatred of Jews and Trump bought into it. He then went to see Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and shouted at him for being a liar and opposed to peace based on what Netanyahu had told him. That is what passes for even-handed in the U.S. government, no matter who is president. A few days later the Israelis announced the building of the largest bloc of illegal new settlements on the West Bank since 1992, an action that they claim is being coordinated with Washington.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon once boasted about owning the United States. I guess he was right.
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