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U.S. Middle East policy motivated by pro-Israel lobby

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Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:32 pm    Post subject: U.S. Middle East policy motivated by pro-Israel lobby



Intl. Intelligence

WASHINGTON, March 20 (UPI) -- Two of America's top scholars have published a searing attack on the role and power of Washington's pro-Israel lobby in a British journal, warning that its "decisive" role in fomenting the Iraq war is now being repeated with the threat of action against Iran. And they say that the Lobby is so strong that they doubt their article would be accepted in any U.S.-based publication.

Professor John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, author of "The Tragedy of Great Power Politics" and Professor Stephen Walt of Harvard's Kenney School, and author of "Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy," are leading figures American in academic life.

They claim that the Israel lobby has distorted American policy and operates against American interests, that it has organized the funneling of more than $140 billion dollars to Israel and "has a stranglehold" on the U.S. Congress, and its ability to raise large campaign funds gives its vast influence over Republican and Democratic administrations, while its role in Washington think tanks on the Middle East dominates the policy debate.

And they say that the Lobby works ruthlessly to suppress questioning of its role, to blacken its critics and to crush serious debate about the wisdom of supporting Israel in U.S. public life.

"Silencing skeptics by organizing blacklists and boycotts -- or by suggesting that critics are anti-Semites -- violates the principle of open debate on which democracy depends," Walt and Mearsheimer write.

"The inability of Congress to conduct a genuine debate on these important issues paralyses the entire process of democratic deliberation. Israel's backers should be free to make their case and to challenge those who disagree with them, but efforts to stifle debate by intimidation must be roundly condemned," they add, in the 12,800-word article published in the latest issue of The London Review of Books.

The article focuses strongly on the role of the "neo-conservatives" within the Bush administration in driving the decision to launch the war on Iraq.

"The main driving force behind the war was a small band of neo-conservatives, many with ties to the Likud," Mearsheimer and Walt argue." Given the neo-conservatives' devotion to Israel, their obsession with Iraq, and their influence in the Bush administration, it isn't surprising that many Americans suspected that the war was designed to further Israeli interests."

"The neo-conservatives had been determined to topple Saddam even before Bush became president. They caused a stir early in 1998 by publishing two open letters to Clinton, calling for Saddam's removal from power. The signatories, many of whom had close ties to pro-Israel groups like JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) or WINEP (Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy), and who included Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Bernard Lewis, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, had little trouble persuading the Clinton administration to adopt the general goal of ousting Saddam. But they were unable to sell a war to achieve that objective. They were no more able to generate enthusiasm for invading Iraq in the early months of the Bush administration. They needed help to achieve their aim. That help arrived with 9/11. Specifically, the events of that day led Bush and Cheney to reverse course and become strong proponents of a preventive war," Walt and Mearsheimer write.

The article, which is already stirring furious debate in U.S. academic and intellectual circles, also explores the historical role of the Lobby.

"For the past several decades, and especially since the Six-Day War in 1967, the centerpiece of US Middle Eastern policy has been its relationship with Israel," the article says.

"The combination of unwavering support for Israel and the related effort to spread 'democracy' throughout the region has inflamed Arab and Islamic opinion and jeopardized not only U.S. security but that of much of the rest of the world. This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the U.S. been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state?" Professors Walt and Mearsheimer add.

"The thrust of U.S. policy in the region derives almost entirely from domestic politics, and especially the activities of the 'Israel Lobby'. Other special-interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. interests and those of the other country - in this case, Israel -- are essentially identical," they add.

They argue that far from being a strategic asset to the United States, Israel "is becoming a strategic burden" and "does not behave like a loyal ally." They also suggest that Israel is also now "a liability in the war on terror and the broader effort to deal with rogue states.

"Saying that Israel and the U.S. are united by a shared terrorist threat has the causal relationship backwards: the US has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around," they add. "Support for Israel is not the only source of anti-American terrorism, but it is an important one, and it makes winning the war on terror more difficult. There is no question that many al-Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are motivated by Israel's presence in Jerusalem and the plight of the Palestinians. Unconditional support for Israel makes it easier for extremists to rally popular support and to attract recruits."

They question the argument that Israel deserves support as the only democracy in the Middle East, claiming that "some aspects of Israeli democracy are at odds with core American values. Unlike the US, where people are supposed to enjoy equal rights irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity, Israel was explicitly founded as a Jewish state and citizenship is based on the principle of blood kinship. Given this, it is not surprising that its 1.3 million Arabs are treated as second-class citizens."

The most powerful force in the Lobby is AIPAC, the American-Israel Public affairs Committee, which Walt and Mearsheimer call "a de facto agent for a foreign government," and which they say has now forged an important alliance with evangelical Christian groups.

The bulk of the article is a detailed analysis of the way they claim the Lobby managed to change the Bush administration's policy from "halting Israel's expansionist policies in the Occupied Territories and advocating the creation of a Palestinian state" and divert it to the war on Iraq instead. They write "Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical."

"Thanks to the lobby, the United States has become the de facto enabler of Israeli expansion in the Occupied Territories, making it complicit in the crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians," and conclude that "Israel itself would probably be better off if the Lobby were less powerful and U.S. policy more even-handed."


Mearsheimer replies to the irate "Israel Lobby"

Letters - The Israel Lobby - From John Mearsheimer & Stephen Walt.

We wrote The Israel Lobby? in order to begin a discussion of a subject that had become difficult to address openly in the United States (LRB, 23 March). We knew it was likely to generate a strong reaction, and we are not surprised that some of our critics have chosen to attack our characters or misrepresent our arguments. ?. Must Read !!!



Mearsheimer/Walt discussed on Amy Goodman's 'Democracy Now':


"Democratic presidential candidates depend on Jewish supporters to supply as much as 60% of the money. "



US storm over book on Israel lobby




Must watch Dutch documentary on the Israeli Lobby (the interviews to include with John Mearsheimer are in English):

The Israel Lobby. Portrait of a Great Taboo :

AIPAC's Push for War with Iran

Here is a Google video for the English version of that Dutch AIPAC documentary (must watch especially for what Lawrence Wilkerson mentions about WW 3 at the end!):



The Israeli Lobby

For many years now the American foreign policy has been characterized by the strong tie between the United States and Israel. Does the United States in fact keep Israel on its feet? And how long will it continue to do so? A Dutch public broadcast shows insight on the subject.


Must watch interview with John Mearsheimer: Interview with John Mearsheimer author of "The Israel Lobby" (see www.israelobbybook.com) as you can click on the 'Media Player' link there to watch it:


The Lobby Strikes Back

A new book riles the AIPAC crowd, but makes it to the bestseller list anyway


Looking into the Lobby:



Israel's False Friends:


America needs realists, not William Kristol


AIPAC is Pushing US to War with Iran (for Israel):


Olmert tells AIPAC: Early Iraq exit would destabilize entire Mideast


Joel Kovel looks at the 'Israel Lobby':


James Fallows on AIPAC:



Breaking the Taboo: Why We Took On the Israel Lobby (IRAQ WAR WAS NOT FOR OIL!):

By Eric Chinski, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Posted October 16, 2007



AIPAC's Push for War with Iran (John Mearsheimer interviewed):


A C-SPAN caller addressed how Newt Gingrich (along with JINSA/PNAC/AEI Neocon associate Dick Cheney whose wife is still a fellow up at AEI) pressured the CIA for the bogus intel that was wanted by the 'JINSA crowd' in order to get US into the Iraq quagmire:


Even Colin Powell has conveyed (in Washington Post correspondent Karen DeYoung's bio book about him) that the 'JINSA crowd' was/is control of the Pentagon (via JINSA associated Dick Cheney of course!):

A War for Israel? Colin Powell seems to think so:



See the latest youtube added to the top of http://NEOCONZIONISTTHREAT.BLOGSPOT.COM


London Independent newspaper articles about Mearsheimer & Walt:



'US support for Israel spurred 9/11' (as mentioned by Mearsheimer and Walt)


The Gorilla in the Room is US Support for Israel:


Must watch interview with Walt and Mearsheimer (note the mention of 'A Clean Break' at the end):


The above is an example of what you won't get on the US mainstream media but what you can get via Link TV (INN airs via the Link TV programming on the Dish Network satellite service). More Americans might have woken up to the war for Israel agenda (which has Iran in its sights next) if the Mearsheimer/Walt paper (and soon to be released book) had been covered, but there wasn't a chance of that happening in the US pro-Israel biased media.



"The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" was #6 on the LA Times Bestsellers List of Books. It helps to explain how the US has incurred the wrath of 1.3 billion Muslims, and how we got into the war in Iraq.

Although it has been "Politically Incorrect" to discuss the Israeli Lobby and Israel, this book (as well as the book "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid" by Jimmy Carter) have broken through this taboo. By breaking the silence, the discussion, hopefully, will begin. The discussion needs to begin immediately as Israel and The Lobby are now urging a US attack on Iran.

Several days ago, retired General Abizaid (Commander of US Forces in the Middle East) stated that Iran was not a "suicide nation" -- and that we could live with a nuclear Iran. He said that it wouldn't be desirable, but that we could "live with it".

Serious war gaming by the Rand Institute and retired Generals have predicted some very serious consequences if we attack Iran:

1. Increased deaths of American soldiers in Iraq. Shiites in Iraq, in sympathy with Shiites in Iran, would rise up against our soldiers in Iraq. Rumsfeld was against an attack on Iran because of the increased death toll to "his boys" in Iraq.

2. closure of the narrow (22miles wide) Straits of Hormuz, the shipping lane where the majority of the world's oil flows -- resulting in huge increases in the price of oil which would result in a worldwide depression.

3. Iran, who helped us against the Taliban in Afghanistan, could cause big trouble for our troops in Afghanistan, as well as Iraq. One "war gamer" predicted that Iran could create a "bloody hell and defeat for US forces" in both countries with their million-man army.

Yet President Bush has stated (in the Chapter Iran in the Crosshairs), "I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel." I wonder if he will be sending his daughters to fight this million man Iranian army.

"The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" will be a great help in understanding how BOTH political parties got us into this confrontation with the Muslim world which comprises 1.3 billlion people in 57 countries. And it is not because they hate freedom.


The Israel Lobby and the Psychology of Influence:


Newsweek Senior Editor Says 'Israeli Lobby' Is Shaping U.S. Policy Toward Iran:


October 31, 2007
The Lobby, Unmasked
The Israel lobby: "We have an 'unwritten contract' with the American media" :

by Justin Raimondo



Dueling Books Reignite Debate Over Israeli Lobby in United States

Originally Aired: October 9, 2007



Posted: October 9, 2007

Authors Debate Influence of Israeli Lobby


State Department blog which had a post mentioning the Mearsheimer and Walt book:


Seymour Hersh: Jewish financiers backing Hilary Clinton to get US to attack Iran which also validates what Mearsheimer and Walt convey in their book:


Walt and Mearsheimer Banned in Chicago :



This One is So Hot: The Censorship of Mearsheimer and Walt:


A Democratic congressman accused AIPAC of pushing Iraq war:


CBS '60 Minutes' refusing to cover Mearsheimer/Walt book:


Former '60 Minutes' Producer Says Show Could Get No Congressman to Speak on the Record About AIPAC:


The Mearsheimer/Walt paper is mentioned in the following articles by Paul Findley as well:




October 16, 2007

Follow the Leader
The Open Secret About the Israel Lobby


There is an open secret in Washington. I learned it well during my 22-year tenure as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. All members swear to serve the interests of the United States, but there is an unwritten and overwhelming exception: The interests of one small foreign country almost always trump U.S. interests. That nation of course is Israel.

Both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue give priority to Israel over America. Those on Capitol Hill are pre-primed to roar approval for Israeli actions whether right or wrong, instead of at least fussing first and then caving. The White House sometimes puts up a modest and ineffective show of resistance before it follows Israel's lead.

In 2002, President Bush publicly ordered Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to end a bloody, destructive rampage through the Palestinian West Bank. He wilted just as publicly when he received curt word from Sharon that Israeli troops would not withdraw and would continue their military operations. A few days later President Bush invited Sharon to the White House where he saluted him as a "man of peace."

I had similar experiences in the House of Representatives. On several occasions, colleagues told me privately that they admired what I was trying to do in Middle East policy reform but could not risk pro-Israel protest back home by supporting my positions.

The pro-Israel lobby is not one organization orchestrating U.S. Middle East policy from a backroom in Washington. Nor is it entirely Jewish. It consists of scores of groups -- large and small -- that work at various levels. The largest, most professional, and most effective is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Many pro-Israel lobby groups belong to the Christian Right.

The recently released book, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," co-authored by distinguished professors John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, offers hope for constructive change. It details the damage to U.S. national interests caused by the lobby for Israel. These brave professors render a great service to America, but their theme, expressed in a published study paper a year ago, is already under heavy, vitriolic attack.

They are unjustly accused of anti-Semitism, the ultimate instrument of intimidation employed by the lobby. A common problem: Under pressure, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs withdrew an invitation for the authors to speak about their book. Council president Marshall Bouton explained ruefully that the invitation posed "a political problem" and a need "to protect the institution" from those who would be angry if the authors appeared.

I know what it is like to be targeted in this way. In the last years of my long service in Congress, I spoke out, making many of the points now presented in the Mearsheimer- Walt book. In 1980, my opponent charged me with anti-Semitism, and money poured into his campaign fund from every state in the Union. I prevailed that year but two years later lost by a narrow margin. In 1984, Sen. Charles Percy, then chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and an occasional critic of Israel, was defeated. Leaders of the Israel lobby claimed credit for defeating both Percy and me, claims that strengthened lobby influence in the years that followed.

The result is that Members of Congress today loudly reward Israel as it violates international law and peace agreements, lures America into costly wars, and subjects millions of Palestinians under its rule to apartheid-like conditions because they are not Jewish.

It is time to call politicians to account for their undying allegiance to a foreign state. Let the Mearsheimer- Walt book be a clarion that bestirs the American people to political action and finally brings fundamental change to both Capitol Hill and the White House.

Citizen participation in public policy development is a hallmark of our proud democracy. But the pro-Israel groups subvert democracy when they engage in smear campaigns that intimidate and silence critics. America badly needs a civilized discussion of the damaging role of Israel in U.S. policy formulation.

Paul Findley represented Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives for 22 years. He is the author of They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront the Israel Lobby.

The Mearsheimer/Walt paper is also mentioned in the following 'Declaration of Independence from Israel' article by Christopher Hedges:

One can see Christopher Hedges during the Iraq war panel discussion at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA in Los Angeles this past April.. To watch online, simply go to www.booktv.org and do a search for 'LA Times Festival of Books' in the search field there and click on the Iraq (war) panel.. Hedges was excellent. Perhaps the guy who posed the question/comment about the Mearsheimer/Walt paper in the 'Q & A' inspired Hedges to write about Israel like he did below as he included mention of Mearsheimer/Walt as well:

A Declaration of Independence From Israel


Here is a Tinyurl for the above one:


White Man's Burden:



Jewish Neocon Podhoretz Lobbies Bush to Bomb Iran for Israel

Jewish 'war for Israel' Neoconservative Podhoretz Granted Secret Access To Lobby Bush On ĎThe Case For Bombing Iraní


Read more about Podhoretz and Commentary (the Jewish publication that he writes for) via the 'Thinking about Neoconservatism' and 'Neoconservatism as a Jewish Movement' links near the top of the following URL:

Neoconservatism as a Jewish Movement:



alas, to point out
that the same people who beat the drums of war pre-Iraq invasion are
now doing the same over Iran. Norman Podhoretz, in the June issue
of Commentary, said, Please, Mr. President, as a Jew, I beg you bomb Iran."
He now works for Giuliani's campaign. As does Daniel Pipes, who also advocates
bombing. Jim Woolsey, Mike Ledeen, Richard Perle etc. (all associated with JINSA) are all back at
the same stand, all favoring bombing, and reminding Bush of his pledge not to
leave office with an Iranian nuclear capability in place. Sad so few people
understand what's going on behind the world stage.



"The Lobby": AIPAC and US Foreign Policy

A debate James Petras and Norman Finkelstein:

The U.S. allowed Israel to develop nuclear weapons and not to sign the nuclear anti-proliferation treaty and most recently it strongly supported Israel's attack on Lebanon in July of 2006. Support for Israel cuts across party lines and is extremely strong in Congress where criticism of Israel is rarely, if ever, heard. It also characterizes almost all American administrations from Johnson onwards, with George W. Bush being possibly the most pro-Israel ever.


Why is the Peace Movement Silent About AIPAC?


Why is the Wall Street Journal in favor of AIPAC espionage?


The Power of the Israel Lobby: See the Video
by Justin Raimondo
April 18th, 2007

Donít miss this one: A Dutch documentary (in English) on ďPortrait of a Great Taboo: The Power of the Israel Lobby in the United States,Ē featuring John J. Mearsheimer, Tony Judt, Michael Massing, Larry Wilkerson (!), Daniel Levy, and Richard Perle pretending to be a human being for some sinister counterpoint. I particularly liked Wilkerson on the reasons for the Iraq war: no, it wasnít oil, it wasnít those elusive ďweapons of mass destruction,Ē nor was it spreading ďdemocracyĒ (eh, no kidding!): it was all about the neocons. And Judt has a fascinating analysis of the simultaneous rise of the Lobby and identity politics. Plus great production values, and moody, foreboding music that really sets the right tone. Very effective: check it out:

The Israel Lobby. Portrait of a Great Taboo

AIPAC's Push for War with Iran:

Here is a Google video for the English version of that Dutch AIPAC documentary (must watch especially for what Lawrence Wilkerson mentions about WW 3 at the end!):


Prominent Mideast analyst associated with AIPAC espionage (David Satterfield shown in the above Dutch AIPAC documentary sitting behind UN Ambassador as he vetoes resolution critical of Israel):


C-SPAN viewer comments for USA Today correspondent Barbara Slavin (who has the new book out about Iran) are included via the following link from http://neoconzionistthreat.blogspot.com

Re: AIPAC is Pushing US to War with Iran for Israel (see the Scott Ritter youtubes in the comments section for how he mentioned AIPAC and that nukes might be used on Iran as well):


The Power of the Israel Lobby in the United States




BBC: The War Party (if only Americans could see such a program!)


A War for Israel? Colin Powell seems to think so:


More on AIPAC


(Jewish) Groups Fear Public Backlash Over Iran



Weekend Edition
February 24 / 25, 2007
"An American Strike on Iran is Essential for Our Existence"
AIPAC Demands "Action" on Iran


AIPAC and the Neocon (War for Israel) agenda:


Israel's influence of US policy & the Israeli lobby:


Scott Ritter - UN Inspector Scott Ritter: Fools would Bomb Iran:


October 1, 2007
The Lobby on Trial
Upcoming legal battle dramatizes rising concern about the Israel lobby

by Justin Raimondo



The Israel Lobby. Portrait of a Great Taboo

The Power of the Israel Lobby in the United States


John Bolton in Conference Call with AIPAC Members
January 5th, 2007
Transcript & Audio Clip



As'ad Abu Khalil Among the Missing
A Debate on the Israel Lobby



Obama to Convince AIPAC that he is a true friend of Israel:


Stop the Iran War (for Israel) before It Starts:



"AIPAC is pushing us to war with Iran. AIPAC is the reason that no Democrats are coming out strongly against war with Iran. AIPAC's funding is extremely wealthy American Jews and AIPAC is pushing for war with Iran. So, when people go to Democratic politicians and they say "listen, I don't want you gettin' out in front and opposing war with Iran, particularly since you have national aspirations," they don't say it in the New York Times." - Eric Alterman


Jewish 'A Clean Break' Neocons Want US after Iran for Israel:


US Support of Israel's brutal oppression of the Palestinians was the PRIMARY MOTIVATION for the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and on 9/11:


Pentagon (JINSA Israel first Zionist Jew Douglas Feith): Iraq Intel Manipulated To Support White House:

Pentagon: Iraq Intel Manipulated To Support White House


The Lie Factory:


London Review of Books Hosts NYC Debate on ďThe Israel LobbyĒ
By Jane Adas


More Evidence that Mearsheimer and Walt are Right (scroll down to Comments section as well):



If Americans Only Knew How Israel Controls Us


Nader Explains How Jewish Lobby Robs Americans


The Israel Lobby And US Foreign Policy


The US-Israel Empire

Mearsheimer - Israel Lobby Has Warped US Policy - Part 1


Mearsheimer - Israel Lobby Has Warped US Policy - Part 2


Prof John Mearsheimer On The Israel Lobby


Measheimer And Walt On The Israel Lobby


AIPAC hack Hillary Clinton calls Iran a threat to U.S., Israel :


AIPAC hack Obama supports coming attack on Iran as well:


With US officials Gordon England and Nick Burns as the centerpieces, several serious presidential wannabes decorated the podium: Mitt Romney made a personal appearance, with John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and John Edwards addressing the conference by satellite. (all in support of coming attack on Iran for AIPAC/Israel):


Coming War with Iran for Israel:


Israel is the real winner of America's War on Iraq and Iran (If attacked):


How Neoconservatives Conquered Washington and Launched a War for Israel:


Book: Israel, Lobby Pushing Iran War


Thursday, December 21st, 2006
Target Iran: Former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter and Investigative Journalist Seymour Hersh on White House Plans for Regime Change



Financial times
America and Israel
Published: April 1 2006 03:00 | Last updated: April 1 2006 03:00


Freedom of academic debate, political polemic, populist prejudice,
outlandish exaggeration and even mildly slanderous innuendo about
anything from Britney Spears to the president is axiomatic in the United
States of America, is it not? Well, perhaps not altogether.

Reflexes that ordinarily spring automatically to the defence of open
debate and free enquiry shut down - at least among much of America's
political elite - once the subject turns to Israel, and above all the
pro-Israel lobby's role in shaping US foreign policy.

Even though policy towards the Middle East is arguably the single
biggest determinant of America's reputation in the world, any attempt to
rethink this from first principles is politically risky.

Examining the specific role of organisations such as the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee, commonly considered to be the most effective
lobby group in the US apart from the National Rifle Association, is
something to be undertaken with caution.

Doctrinal orthodoxy was flouted last month in a paper on the Israel
lobby by two of America's leading political scientists, Stephen Walt
from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and John Mearsheimer from
the University of Chicago. They argue powerfully that extraordinarily
effective lobbying in Washington has led to a political consensus that
American and Israeli interests are inseparable and identical.

Only a UK publication, the London Review of Books, was prepared to carry
their critique, in the same way that it was Prospect, a British monthly
journal, that four years ago published a path-breaking study of the
Israel lobby by the American analyst, Michael Lind.

Moral blackmail - the fear that any criticism of Israeli policy and US
support for it will lead to charges of anti-Semitism - is a powerful
disincentive to publish dissenting views. It is also leading to the
silencing of policy debate on American university campuses, partly as
the result of targeted campaigns against the dissenters.

Judgment of the precise value of the Walt-Mearscheimer paper has been
swept aside by a wave of condemnation. Their scholarship has been
derided and their motives impugned, while Harvard has energetically
disassociated itself from their views. Mr Walt's position as academic
dean of the Kennedy School is in doubt.

On various counts, this is a shame and a self-inflicted wound no society
built on freedom should allow.

Honest and informed debate is the foundation of freedom and progress and
a precondition of sound policy. It is, to say the least, odd when
dissent in such a central area of policy is forced offshore or reduced
to the status of samizdat. Some of Israel's loudest cheerleaders,
moreover, are often divorced by their extremism from the mainstream of
American Jewish opinion and the vigorous debate that takes place inside
Israel. As Daniel Levy, a former Israeli peace negotiator, remarked in
Haaretz about the Walt-Mearsheimer controversy: "It would in fact serve
Israel if the open and critical debate that takes place over here were
exported over there [the US]."

Nothing, moreover, is more damaging to US interests than the inability
to have a proper debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, how
Washington should use its influence to resolve it, and how best America
can advance freedom and stability in the region as a whole. Bullying
Americans into a consensus on Israeli policy is bad for Israel and makes
it impossible for America to articulate its own national interest.



April 19, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor
A Lobby, Not a Conspiracy


IN its March 23rd issue the London Review of Books, a respected British journal, published an essay titled "The Israel Lobby."
( http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html ) The authors are two distinguished American academics (Stephen Walt of Harvard and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago) who posted a longer (83-page) version of their text on the Web site of Harvard's Kennedy School:


As they must have anticipated, the essay has run into a firestorm of vituperation and refutation. Critics have charged that their scholarship is shoddy and that their claims are, in the words of the columnist Christopher Hitchens, "slightly but unmistakably smelly." The smell in question, of course, is that of anti-Semitism.

This somewhat hysterical response is regrettable. In spite of its provocative title, the essay draws on a wide variety of standard sources and is mostly uncontentious. But it makes two distinct and important claims. The first is that uncritical support for Israel across the decades has not served America's best interests. This is an assertion that can be debated on its merits. The authors' second claim is more controversial: American foreign policy choices, they write, have for years been distorted by one domestic pressure group, the "Israel Lobby."

Some would prefer, when explaining American actions overseas, to point a finger at the domestic "energy lobby." Others might blame the influence of Wilsonian idealism, or imperial practices left over from the cold war. But that a powerful Israel lobby exists could hardly be denied by anyone who knows how Washington works. Its core is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, its penumbra a variety of national Jewish organizations.

Does the Israel Lobby affect our foreign policy choices? Of course ? that is one of its goals. And it has been rather successful: Israel is the largest recipient of American foreign aid and American responses to Israeli behavior have been overwhelmingly uncritical or supportive.

But does pressure to support Israel distort American decisions? That's a matter of judgment. Prominent Israeli leaders and their American supporters pressed very hard for the invasion of Iraq; but the United States would probably be in Iraq today even if there had been no Israel lobby. Is Israel, in Mearsheimer/Walt's words, "a liability in the war on terror and the broader effort to deal with rogue states?" I think it is; but that too is an issue for legitimate debate.

The essay and the issues it raises for American foreign policy have been prominently dissected and discussed overseas. In America, however, it's been another story: virtual silence in the mainstream media. Why? There are several plausible explanations. One is that a relatively obscure academic paper is of little concern to general-interest readers. Another is that claims about disproportionate Jewish public influence are hardly original ? and debate over them inevitably attracts interest from the political extremes. And then there is the view that Washington is anyway awash in "lobbies" of this sort, pressuring policymakers and distorting their choices.

Each of these considerations might reasonably account for the mainstream press's initial indifference to the Mearsheimer-Walt essay. But they don't convincingly explain the continued silence even after the article aroused stormy debate in the academy, within the Jewish community, among the opinion magazines and Web sites, and in the rest of the world. I think there is another element in play: fear. Fear of being thought to legitimize talk of a "Jewish conspiracy"; fear of being thought anti-Israel; and thus, in the end, fear of licensing the expression of anti-Semitism.

The end result ? a failure to consider a major issue in public policy ? is a great pity. So what, you may ask, if Europeans debate this subject with such enthusiasm? Isn't Europe a hotbed of anti-Zionists (read anti-Semites) who will always relish the chance to attack Israel and her American friend? But it was David Aaronovitch, a Times of London columnist who, in the course of criticizing Mearsheimer and Walt, nonetheless conceded that "I sympathize with their desire for redress, since there has been a cock-eyed failure in the U.S. to understand the plight of the Palestinians."

And it was the German writer Christoph Bertram, a longstanding friend of America in a country where every public figure takes extraordinary care to tread carefully in such matters, who wrote in Die Zeit that "it is rare to find scholars with the desire and the courage to break taboos."

How are we to explain the fact that it is in Israel itself that the uncomfortable issues raised by Professors Mearsheimer and Walt have been most thoroughly aired? It was an Israeli columnist in the liberal daily Haaretz who described the American foreign policy advisers Richard Perle and Douglas Feith as "walking a fine line between their loyalty to American governments ...and Israeli interests." It was Israel's impeccably conservative Jerusalem Post that described Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, as "devoutly pro-Israel." Are we to accuse Israelis, too, of "anti-Zionism"?

The damage that is done by America's fear of anti-Semitism when discussing Israel is threefold. It is bad for Jews: anti-Semitism is real enough (I know something about it, growing up Jewish in 1950's Britain), but for just that reason it should not be confused with political criticisms of Israel or its American supporters. It is bad for Israel: by guaranteeing it unconditional support, Americans encourage Israel to act heedless of consequences. The Israeli journalist Tom Segev described the Mearsheimer-Walt essay as "arrogant" but also acknowledged ruefully: "They are right. Had the United States saved Israel from itself, life today would be better ...the Israel Lobby in the United States harms Israel's true interests."

BUT above all, self-censorship is bad for the United States itself. Americans are denying themselves participation in a fast-moving international conversation. Daniel Levy (a former Israeli peace negotiator) wrote in Haaretz that the Mearsheimer-Walt essay should be a wake-up call, a reminder of the damage the Israel lobby is doing to both nations. But I would go further. I think this essay, by two "realist" political scientists with no interest whatsoever in the Palestinians, is a straw in the wind.

Looking back, we shall see the Iraq war and its catastrophic consequences as not the beginning of a new democratic age in the Middle East but rather as the end of an era that began in the wake of the 1967 war, a period during which American alignment with Israel was shaped by two imperatives: cold-war strategic calculations and a new-found domestic sensitivity to the memory of the Holocaust and the debt owed to its victims and survivors.

For the terms of strategic debate are shifting. East Asia grows daily in importance. Meanwhile our clumsy failure to re-cast the Middle East ? and its enduring implications for our standing there ? has come into sharp focus. American influence in that part of the world now rests almost exclusively on our power to make war: which means in the end that it is no influence at all. Above all, perhaps, the Holocaust is passing beyond living memory. In the eyes of a watching world, the fact that an Israeli soldier's great-grandmother died in Treblinka will not excuse his own misbehavior.

Thus it will not be self-evident to future generations of Americans why the imperial might and international reputation of the United States are so closely aligned with one small, controversial Mediterranean client state. It is already not at all self-evident to Europeans, Latin Americans, Africans or Asians. Why, they ask, has America chosen to lose touch with the rest of the international community on this issue? Americans may not like the implications of this question. But it is pressing. It bears directly on our international standing and influence; and it has nothing to do with anti-Semitism. We cannot ignore it.

Tony Judt is the director of the Remarque Institute at New York University and the author of "Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945."


MSNBC's Olbermann Disses Mearsheimer and Walt Critique:


The Cooper Union 'Israel Lobby' Debate :


Israel's Olmert Counting on Jewish Lobby to foil Baker-Hamilton:


Neoconservatism as a Jewish Movement:


Chris Matthews (host of MSNBC's 'Hardball' broadcast) too cowardly to address Mearsheimer/Walt paper on air:


President Jimmy Carter Says Mearsheimer and Walt are Right:


New Book: Power of Israel in the United States:


Iran: The Next War (for Israel):


Esteemed intelligence author/writer James Bamford discusses the 'A Clean Break'/war for Israel agenda of the JINSA/PNAC Israel first Neocons Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser from pages 261-269/321 of his 'A Pretext for War' book:


Feds Probe Neocon Democrat Jane Harman's Relationship with AIPAC:


A War for Israel? Colin Powell seems to think so:


Colin Powell feared the power of the pro-Israel lobby:


Fwd: CAIR-NET: 'Israel Lobby' Authors to Speak at DC Press Club


Olmert Counting on Jewish Lobby to foil Baker-Hamilton:


Jewish Israel first JINSA Neocon says: BOMB IRAN (for Israel!): We Must Do What?


AIPAC Congratulates Itself on the Slaughter in Lebanon:


Judge says "ample cause to believe" AIPAC pair were foreign agents


Jewish 'American' AIPAC diplomat with Iraq after Iran/Syria


US Support of Israel PRIMARY MOTIVATION for Tragic Attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and on 9/11:



----- Original Message -----

From: Stephen Sniegoski
To: Sniegoski, Stephen
Sent: Thursday, April 20, 2006 7:19 PM
Subject: Sniegoski on the Mearsheimer and Walt Essay


Mearsheimer and Walt Essay

I have been dealing with the Mearsheimer/Walt "Israel Lobby" essay lately. On April 6, I gave a presentation on the subject on Hesham Tillawi's Current Issues TV http://www.currentissues.tv . If interested, you can listen to a recording of my presentation by hitting the link at my picture on the left side of the web site. .

I also have a piece on the subject on the The Last Ditch web site
http://www.thornwalker.com/ditch/snieg_mear_walt.htm (as) I am including a portion of my article here and hope that you will go to the site for the remainder.

Israel lobbying:

The attack on Mearsheimer and Walt



The elephant in the room that no one is supposed to mention is the role of the supporters of Israel in shaping American foreign policy in the Middle East. Their role has become especially apparent with the American attack on Iraq and the subsequent American policy toward Iran and Syria, in all of which the Israelocentric neoconservatives provided the fundamental driving force. The neocons have been closely aligned with the Likudniks (the Israeli Right), and the idea of destabilizing and weakening Israel's Middle Eastern enemies through war actually originated among Israeli Likudniks.

To be sure, mainstream media accounts have touched on the role of Israel's supporters, but the media never treat it extensively. To see a more extensive development of the theme the persistent reader has had to find and peruse non-Establishment analysis. (I myself have written extensively on the subject.) Mainstream figures have generally shied away from this undertaking because of the fear of being labeled "anti-Semitic" ? a tag that can inflict severe harm on anyone desirous of an important career, or even a decent livelihood.

However, in mid March 2006, the taboo was punctured when two leading scholars in the field of international relations, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, produced their 82-page bombshell, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy." Mearsheimer is Wendell Harrison Professor of Political Science and co-director of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, and Walt is Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs and the academic dean of Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, though he will now be relinquishing the latter post. The paper was placed in the Faculty Research Working Papers Series on the Kennedy School's Website, which is described as an "electronic database to disseminate works-in-progress reflecting the broad range of research activities of Kennedy School faculty members." [1]

Both Mearsheimer and Walt have impressive Establishment credentials that complement their prestigious positions. Mearsheimer has authored three books: Conventional Deterrence (1983), which won the Edgar S. Furniss, Jr., Book Award; Liddell Hart and the Weight of History (1988); and The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (2001), which won the Joseph Lepgold Book Prize. He has also written many articles appearing in major academic journals, such as International Security, and in leading popular journal

Last edited by Alpha on Tue May 05, 2009 4:14 am; edited 234 times in total
Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:46 pm    Post subject: Jewish Groups to Bush: Drop Iran-Israel

From: "Jeff Blankfort" <jblankfort@earthlink.net>

Date: Tue, 30 May 2006 20:08:35 -0700
Subject: Israel says war on Iraq would benefit the region

There are those like Professors Stephen Zunes and Joel Beinin and Jewish
Voice for Peace's Mitchell Plitnick, all of them based in California,
who have insisted in widely circulated articles that the notion that the
Iraq war might have been orchestrated by the neocons in Israel's behalf
is ludicrous because Iraq was no threat to Israel while ignoring
statements by Israeli officials and military men across the political
spectrum calling for the US to attack Iraq because it would benefit
Israel. This was forwarded to me today and so I am passing it on to you.
It also might cause one to ask, which is the client state, which one is
"the cop on the beat?" Note the date.

Note the date:

New York Times February 27, 2003

Israel says war on Iraq would benefit the region

By James Bennet

Israelis once believed that the Oslo agreement with the Palestinians would
usher in a new Middle East of comfortable Israeli-Arab coexistence.

With Oslo in tatters, the Israelis are now putting similar hopes in an
American war on Iraq.

Other nations may cavil, but many in Israel are so certain of the rightness
of a war on Iraq that officials are already thinking past that conflict to
urge a continued, assertive American role in the Middle East.

Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told members of the Conference of Presidents of
Major American Jewish Organizations last week that after Iraq, the United
States should generate "political, economic, diplomatic pressure" on Iran.
"We have great interest in shaping the Middle East the day after" a war, he

It may seem paradoxical that the country most vulnerable to an Iraqi attack
in case of war is most eager for that war to begin. But Israel's military
intelligence apparatus has concluded that the chances of a successful Iraqi
missile strike here during this war, while ever present, are small.

The Israeli government and military elite believe that Saddam Hussein seeks
devastating weapons but has far less capacity for mayhem than he had during
the Persian Gulf war of 1991, when his forces fired 39 Scud missiles at
Israel. The Israeli Army also believes that its own national defenses are
much improved.

Israel regards Iran and Syria as greater threats and is hoping that once
Saddam Hussein is dispensed with, the dominoes will start to tumble.
According to this hope - or evolving strategy - moderates and reformers
throughout the region would be encouraged to put new pressure on their own
governments, not excepting the Palestine Authority of Yasir Arafat.

"The shock waves emerging from post-Saddam Baghdad could have wide-ranging
effects in Tehran, Damascus, and in Ramallah," Efraim Halevy, Prime Minister
Ariel Sharon's national security adviser, said in a speech in Munich this

Until recently, Mr. Halevy was the chief of the Mossad, Israel's spy agency.
He said, "We have hopes of greater stability, greater enhanced confidence
from the Persian Gulf to the Atlantic shores of Morocco."

Israelis have also suggested that that an Iraq war may salvage their economy
and even prompt the opposition Labor Party to join Mr. Sharon's coalition in
a new government of national unity.

Expressed in its broadest, vaguest terms, that theory has come in for the
sort of mockery that the idealistic vision of Oslo's effects suffered from
the right. The accusation is the same: fuzzy, wishful thinking.

Uzi Benziman, a journalist and author of a biography of Mr. Sharon, wrote in
the newspaper Haaretz, "Israel is looking for Ares, the ancient Greek god of
war, to play the part of the deus ex machina in this drama."

Referring to this "almost pagan faith," he continued, "It's still hard to
shake the feeling that what the fervency of Israeli expectations regarding
the war really attests to is despair." Opinion polls here have shown a
strong though not overwhelming majority in favor of war.

The precise mechanism for converting a war into regional stability has not
been detailed.

Mark Heller, a senior researcher at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies
at Tel Aviv University, said the potential engine for change would be the
example of a transformed Iraq. "It's at least conceivable that Al Jazeera
will end up showing pictures of Iraqis celebrating in the streets, in which
case people in other places - like Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt - are going
to start saying, `If Iraqis deserve decent government, so do we.' " Al
Jazeera is a widely watched Arab broadcast network.

Israeli officials say that only sustained American pressure can turn that
hope into reality. Mr. Mofaz warned that without continued attention to the
rest of the region, an Iraqi collapse could strengthen Iran.

As they look ahead to the aftermath of an Iraq war, Israeli officials are
also considering how the Bush administration's present diplomatic struggle
could help or hurt them. A top Israeli official predicted that after such a
war would come a fork in the road for American policy and "a battle for the
heart and mind" of President Bush.

The official said the Bush administration might try to mend relations with
Arab and European nations by wringing concessions from Israel toward the

But he said it was more likely that rising American frustration with Europe
would benefit Israel. Mr. Sharon has been alarmed by the recent efforts of
the so-called quartet - the United States, the United Nations, the European
Union and Russia - to intervene in the conflict here. Mr. Sharon would much
prefer to deal only with the United States.

The top Israeli official said the quartet might prove a "casualty" of an
Iraqi war. "The idea of using the quartet as the great instrument of
resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - there are people in Washington
who are going to say, `What do we need these people for?' " he said.


From: Jeff Blankfort
Date: Thu May 11, 2006 10:10 pm
Subject: Jewish Groups to Bush: Drop Iran-Israel

This is acknowledged be a fallout from the Mearsheimer-Walt paper which correctly places most of the blame for the Iraq war on the Israel lobby. In fact, having the US confront Iran has been the main issue on the entire lobby's agenda, not just AIPACs for the past year and in December AIPAC publicly criticized Resident Bush for being soft on Iran. Now, with the war on Iraq having been proved a disaster, the collars around the lobby's white shirts are probably feeling a little tighter.


Groups to Bush: Drop Iran-Israel Linkage
By Ori Nir
May 12, 2006

WASHINGTON ó Jewish community leaders have urged the White House to refrain from publicly pledging to defend Israel against possible Iranian hostilities, senior Jewish activists told the Forward.


May 16-31, 2006 VOL. 13, NO. 10

The Rise of the Israel Lobby:

A Measure of Its Power

By Kathleen and Bill Christison


Ten, even five years ago, a fierce public debate over the nature and activities of the Israeli lobby would have been impossible. It was as verboten as the use of the word Empire to describe the global reach of the United States. Through its disdain for the usual proprieties decorously observed by Republican and Democratic administrations in the past, the Bush administration has hauled many realities of our political economy center stage. Open up the New York Times or the Washington Post these days and there may well be another opinion column about the Lobby.

CounterPunch has hosted some of the most vigorous polemics on the Lobby. In May we asked two of our most valued contributors, Kathy and Bill Christison, to offer their evaluation of the debate on the Lobbyís role and power. As our readers know, Bill and Kathy both had significant careers as CIA analysts. Bill was a National Intelligence Officer. In the aftermath of the September, 2001, attacks we published here his trenchant and influential essay on ďthe war on terrorĒ. Kathy has written powerfully both here and on our website on the topic of Palestine. Specifically on the Lobby they contributed an unsparing essay on the topic of ďdual loyaltyĒ which can be found in our CounterPunch collection, The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

In mid May they sent us their measured assessment, rich in historical detail. We are delighted to print it here in its entirety, which means our subscribers get the bonus of an 8-page issue. Which is the tail? Which is the dog? asked Uri Avnery here, a few issues back, apropos the respective roles of the Israel Lobby and the US government in the exercise of US policy in the Middle East. Hereís an answer that will be tough to challenge. A.C./J.S.C.


John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, the University of Chicago and Harvard political scientists who published in March of this year a lengthy, well documented study on the pro-Israel lobby and its influence on U.S. Middle East policy, have already accomplished what they intended. They have successfully called attention to the often pernicious influence of the lobby on policymaking. But, unfortunately, the study has aroused more criticism than debate Ė not only the kind of criticism one would anticipate from the usual suspects among the very lobby groups Mearsheimer and Walt described, but also from a group on the left that might have been expected to support the studyís conclusions.

The criticism has been partly silly, often malicious, and almost entirely off-point. The silly, insubstantial criticisms Ė such as former presidential adviser David Gergenís earnest comment that through four administrations he never observed an Oval Office decision that tilted policy in favor of Israel at the expense of U.S. interests Ė can easily be dismissed as nonsensical . Most of the extensive malicious criticism, coming largely from the hard core of Israeli supporters who make up the very lobby under discussion and led by a hysterical Alan Dershowitz, has been so specious and sophomoric, that it too could be dismissed were it not for precisely the pervasive atmosphere of reflexive support for Israel and silenced debate that Mearsheimer and Walt describe.

Most disturbing and harder to dismiss is the criticism of the study from the left, coming chiefly from Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, and abetted less cogently by Stephen Zunes of Foreign Policy in Focus and Joseph Massad of Columbia University. These critics on the left argue from a assumption that U.S. foreign policy has been monolithic since World War II, a coherent progression of decision-making directed unerringly at the advancement of U.S. imperial interests. All U.S. actions, these critics contend, are part of a clearly laid-out strategy that has rarely deviated no matter what the party in power. They believe that Israel has served throughout as a loyal agent of the U.S., carrying out the U.S. design faithfully and serving as a base from which the U.S. projects its power around the Middle East. Zunes says it most clearly, affirming that Israel ďstill is very much the junior partner in the relationship.Ē These critics do not dispute the existence of a lobby, but they minimize its importance, claiming that rather than leading the U.S. into policies and foreign adventures that stand against true U.S. national interests, as Mearsheimer and Walt assert, the U.S. is actually the controlling power in the relationship with Israel and carries out a consistent policy, using Israel as its agent where possible.

Finkelstein summarized the criticsí position in a recent CounterPunch article (ďThe Israel Lobby,Ē May 1, emphasizing that the issue is not whether U.S. interests or those of the lobby take precedence but rather that there has been such coincidence of U.S. and Israeli interests over the decades that for the most part basic U.S. Middle East policy has not been affected by the lobby. Chomsky maintains that Israel does the U.S. bidding in the Middle East in pursuit of imperial goals that Washington would pursue even without Israel and that it has always pursued in areas outside the Middle East without benefit of any lobby. Those goals have always included advancement of U.S. corporate-military interests and political domination through the suppression of radical nationalisms and the maintenance of stability in resource-rich countries, particularly oil producers, everywhere. In the Middle East, this was accomplished primarily through Israelís 1967 defeat of Egyptís Gamal Abdul Nasser and his radical Arab nationalism, which had threatened U.S. access to the regionís oil resources. Both Chomsky and Finkelstein trace the strong U.S.-Israeli tie to the June 1967 war, which they believe established the close alliance and marked the point at which the U.S. began to regard Israel as a strategic asset and a stable base from which U.S. power could be projected throughout the Middle East.

Joseph Massad (ďBlaming the Israel Lobby,Ē CounterPunch, March 25/26) argues along similar lines, describing developments in the Middle East and around the world that he believes the U.S. engineered for its own benefit and would have carried out even without Israelís assistance. His point, like Chomskyís, is that the U.S. has a long history of overthrowing regimes in Central America, in Chile, in Indonesia, in Africa, where the Israel lobby was not involved and where Israel at most assisted the U.S. but did not benefit directly itself. He goes farther than Chomsky by claiming that with respect to the Middle East Israel has been such an essential tool that its very usefulness is what accounts for the strength of the lobby. ďIt is in fact the very centrality of Israel to U.S. strategy in the Middle East,Ē Massad contends with a kind of backward logic, ďthat accounts, in part, for the strength of the pro-Israel lobby and not the other way around.Ē (One wonders why, if this were the case, there would be any need for a lobby at all. What would be a lobbyís function if the U.S. already regarded Israel as central to its strategy?)

The principal problem with these arguments from the left is that they assume a continuity in U.S. strategy and policymaking over the decades that has never in fact existed. The notion that there is any defined strategy that links Eisenhowerís policy to Johnsonís to Reaganís to Clintonís gives far more credit than is deserved to the extremely ad hoc, hit-or-miss nature of all U.S. foreign policy. Obviously, some level of imperial interest has dictated policy in every administration since World War II and, obviously, the need to guarantee access to vital natural resources around the world, such as oil in the Middle East and elsewhere, has played a critical role in determining policy. But beyond these evident, and not particularly significant, truths, it can accurately be said, at least with regard to the Middle East, that it has been a rare administration that has itself ever had a coherent, clearly defined, and consistent foreign policy and that, except for a broadly defined anti-communism during the Cold War, no administrationís strategy has ever carried over in detail to succeeding administrations.

The ad hoc nature of virtually every administrationís policy planning process cannot be overemphasized. Aside from the strong but amorphous political need felt in both major U.S. parties and nurtured by the Israel lobby that ďsupporting IsraelĒ was vital to each partyís own future, the inconsistent, even short-term randomness in the detailed Middle East policymaking of successive administrations has been remarkable. This lack of clear strategic thinking at the very top levels of several new administrations before they entered office enhanced the power of individuals and groups that did have clear goals and plans already in hand Ė such as, for instance, the pro-Israeli Dennis Ross in both the first Bush and the Clinton administrations, and the strongly pro-Israeli neo-cons in the current Bush administration.

The critics on the left argue that because the U.S. has a history of opposing and frequently undermining or actually overthrowing radical nationalist governments throughout the world without any involvement by Israel, any instance in which Israel acts against radical nationalism in the Arab world is, therefore, proof that Israel is doing the United Statesí work for it . The critics generally believe, for instance, that Israelís political destruction of Egyptís Nasser in 1967 was done for the U.S. Most if not all believe that Israelís 1982 invasion of Lebanon was undertaken at U.S.behest, to destroy the PLO.

This kind of argumentation depends too much on a presumption of policy coherence. Lyndon Johnson most certainly did abhor Nasser and was not sorry to see him and his pan-Arab ambitions defeated, but there is absolutely no evidence that the Johnson administration ever seriously planned to unseat Nasser, formulated any other action plan against Egypt, or pushed Israel in any way to attack. Johnson did apparently give a green light to Israelís attack plans after they had been formulated, but this is quite different from initiating the plans. Already mired in Vietnam, Johnson was very much concerned not to be drawn into a war initiated by Israel and was criticized by some Israeli supporters for not acting forcefully enough on Israelís behalf. In any case, Israel needed no prompting for its pre-emptive attack, which had long been in the works.

Indeed, far from Israel functioning as the junior partner carrying out a U.S. plan, it is clear that the weight of pressure in 1967 was on the U.S. to go along with Israelís designs and that this pressure came from Israel and its agents in the U.S. The lobby in this instance Ė as broadly defined by Mearsheimer and Walt: ďthe loose coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel directionĒ Ė was in fact a part of Johnsonís intimate circle of friends and advisers.

These included the number-two man at the Israeli embassy, a close personal friend; the strongly pro-Israeli Rostow brothers, Walt and Eugene, who were part of the national security bureaucracy in the administration; Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas; U.N. Ambassador Arthur Goldberg; and numerous others who all spent time with Johnson at the LBJ Ranch in Texas and had the personal access and the leisure time in an informal setting to talk with Johnson about their concern for Israel and to influence him heavily in favor of Israel. This circle had already begun to work on Johnson long before Israelís pre-emptive attack in 1967, so they were nicely placed to persuade Johnson to go along with it despite Johnsonís fears of provoking the Soviet Union and becoming involved in a military conflict the U.S. was not prepared for.

In other words, Israel was beyond question the senior partner in this particular policy initiative; Israel made the decision to go to war, would have gone to war with or without the U.S. green light, and used its lobbyists in the U.S. to steer Johnson administration policy in a pro-Israeli direction. Israelís attack on the U.S. naval vessel, the USS Liberty, in the midst of the war Ė an attack conducted in broad daylight that killed 34 American sailors Ė was not the act of a junior partner. Nor was the U.S. cover-up of this atrocity the act of a government that dictated the moves in this relationship.

The evidence is equally clear that Israel was the prime mover in the 1982 invasion of Lebanon and led the U.S. into that morass, rather than the other way around. Although Massad refers to the U.S. as Israelís master, in this instance as in many others including 1967, Israel has clearly been its own master. Chomsky argues in support of his case that Reagan ordered Israel to call off the invasion in August, two months after it was launched. This is true, but in fact Israel did not pay any attention; the invasion continued, and the U.S. got farther and farther embroiled.

When, as occurred in Lebanon, the U.S. has blundered into misguided adventures to support Israel or to rescue Israel or to further Israelís interests, it is a clear denial of reality to say that Israel and its lobby have no significant influence on U.S. Middle East policy. Even were there not an abundance of other examples, Lebanon alone, with its long-term implications, proves the truth of the Mearsheimer-Walt conclusion that the U.S. ďhas set aside its own security in order to advance the interests of another stateĒ and that ďthe overall thrust of U.S. policy in the region is due almost entirely to U.S. domestic politics, and especially to the activities of the ĎIsrael Lobby.íĒ

As a general proposition, the left criticsí argumentation is much too limiting. While there is no question that modern history is replete, as they argue, with examples of the U.S. acting in corporate interests Ė overthrowing nationalist governments perceived to be threatening U.S. business and economic interests, as in Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Chile in 1973, and elsewhere Ė this frequent convergence of corporate with government interests does not mean that the U.S. never acts in other than corporate interests. The fact of a strong government-corporate alliance does not in any way preclude situations Ė even in the Middle East, where oil is obviously a vital corporate resource Ė in which the U.S. acts primarily to benefit Israel rather than serve any corporate or economic purpose. Because it has a deep emotional aspect and involves political, economic, and military ties unlike those with any other nation, the U.S. relationship with Israel is unique, and there is nothing in the history of U.S. foreign policy, nothing in the governmentís entanglement with the military-industrial complex, to prevent the lobby from exerting heavy influence on policy. Israel and its lobbyists make their own ďcorporationĒ that, like the oil industry (or Chiquita Banana or Anaconda Copper in other areas), is clearly a major factor driving U.S. foreign policy.

There is no denying the intricate interweaving of the U.S. military-industrial complex with Israeli military-industrial interests. Chomsky acknowledges that there is ďplenty of conformityĒ between the lobbyís position and the U.S. government-corporate linkage and that the two are very difficult to disentangle. But, although he tends to emphasize that the U.S. is always the senior partner and suggests that the Israeli side does little more than support whatever the U.S. arms, energy, and financial industries define as U.S. national interests, in actual fact the entanglement is much more one between equals than the raw strengths of the two parties would suggest. ďConformityĒ hardly captures the magnitude of the relationship. Particularly in the defense arena, Israel and its lobby and the U.S. arms industry work hand in glove to advance their combined, very compatible interests. The relatively few very powerful and wealthy families that dominate the Israeli arms industry are just as interested in pressing for aggressively militaristic U.S. and Israeli foreign policies as are the CEOs of U.S. arms corporations and, as globalization has progressed, so have the ties of joint ownership and close financial and technological cooperation among the arms corporations of the two nations grown ever closer. In every way, the two nationsí military industries work together very easily and very quietly, to a common end. The relationship is symbiotic, and the lobby cooperates intimately to keep it alive; lobbyists can go to many in the U.S. Congress and tell them quite credibly that if aid to Israel is cut off, thousands of arms-industry jobs in their own districts will be lost. Thatís power. The lobby is not simply passively supporting whatever the U.S. military-industrial complex wants. It is actively twisting arms Ė very successfully Ė in both Congress and the administration to perpetuate acceptance of a definition of U.S. ďnational interestsĒ that many Americans believe is wrong, as does Chomsky himself.

Clearly, the advantages in the relationship go in both directions: Israel serves U.S. corporate interests by using, and often helping develop, the arms that U.S. manufacturers produce, and the U.S. serves Israeli interests by providing a constant stream of high-tech equipment that maintains Israelís vast military superiority in the region.

But simply because the U.S. benefits from this relationship, it cannot be said that the U.S. is Israelís master, or that Israel always does the U.S. bidding, or that the lobby, which helps keep this arms alliance alive, has no significant power. Itís in the nature of a symbiosis that both sides benefit, and the lobby has played a huge role in maintaining the interdependence.

The leftís arguments also tend to be much too conspiratorial. Finkelstein, for instance, describes a supposed strategy in which the U.S. perpetually undermines Israeli-Arab reconciliation because it does not want an Israel at peace with its neighbors, since Israel would then loosen its dependence on the U.S. and become a less reliable proxy. ďWhat use,Ē he asks, ďwould a Paul Wolfowitz have of an Israel living peacefully with its Arab neighbors and less willing to do the U.S. bidding?Ē

Not only does this give the U.S. far more credit than it has ever deserved for long-term strategic scheming and the ability to carry out such a conspiracy, but it begs a very important question that neither Finkelstein nor the other left critics, in their dogged effort to mold all developments to their thesis, never examine: just what U.S.ís bidding is Israel doing nowadays?

Although the leftist critics speak of Israel as a base from which U.S. power is projected throughout the Middle East, they do not clearly explain how this works. Any strategic value Israel had for the U.S. diminished drastically with the collapse of the Soviet Union. They may believe that Israel keeps Saudi Arabiaís oil resources safe from Arab nationalists or Muslim fundamentalists or Russia, but this is highly questionable.

Israel clearly did us no good in Lebanon, but rather the U.S. did Israelís bidding and fumbled badly, so this cannot be how the U.S. uses Israeli to project its power. In Palestine, Finkelstein himself acknowledges that the U.S. gains nothing from the occupation and Israeli settlements, so this canít be where Israel is doing the U.S.ís bidding. (With this acknowledgement, Finkelstein, perhaps unconsciously, seriously undermines his case against the importance of the lobby, unless he somehow believes the occupation is only of incidental significance, in which case he undermines the thesis of much of his own body of writing.)

Owning the Policymakers

In the clamor over the Mearsheimer-Walt study, critics on both the left and the right have tended to ignore the slow evolutionary history of U.S. Middle East policymaking and of the U.S. relationship with Israel. The ties to Israel and earlier to Zionism go back more than a century, predating the formation of a lobby, and they have remained firm even at periods when the lobby has waned. But it is also true that the lobby has sustained and formalized a relationship that otherwise rests on emotions and moral commitment. Because the bond with Israel has been a steadily evolving continuum, dating back to well before Israelís formal establishment, it is important to emphasize that there is no single point at which it is possible to say, this is when Israel won the affections of America, or this is when Israel came to be regarded as a strategic asset, or this is when the lobby became an integral part of U.S. policymaking.

The left critics of the lobby study mark the Johnson administration as the beginning of the U.S.-Israeli alliance, but almost every administration before Johnsonís, going back to Woodrow Wilson, ratcheted up the relationship in some significant way and could justifiably claim to have been the progenitor of the bond. Significantly, in almost all cases, policymakers acted as they did because of the influence of pro-Zionist or pro-Israeli lobbyists: Wilson would not have supported the Zionist enterprise to the extent he did had it not been for the influence of Zionist colleagues like Louis Brandeis; nor would Roosevelt; Truman would probably not have been as supportive of establishing a Jewish state without the heavy influence of his very pro-Zionist advisers.

After the Johnson administration as well, the relationship has continued to grow in remarkable leaps. The Nixon-Kissinger regime could claim that they were the administration that cemented the alliance by exponentially increasing military aid Ė from an annual average of under $50 million in military credits to Israel in the late 1960s to an average of almost $400 million and, in the year following the 1973 war, to $2.2 billion. It is not for nothing that Israelis have informally dubbed almost every president since Johnson Ė with the notable exceptions of Jimmy Carter and the senior George Bush Ė as ďthe most pro-Israeli president everĒ; each one has achieved some landmark in the effort to please Israel.

The U.S.-Israeli bond has always had its grounding more in soft emotions than in the hard realities of geopolitical strategy. Scholars have always described the tie in almost spiritual terms never applied to ties with other nations. A Palestinian-French scholar has described the United Statesí pro-Israeli tilt as a ďpredisposition,Ē a natural inclination that precedes any consideration of interest or of cost. Israel, he said, takes part in the very ďbeingĒ of American society and therefore participates in its integrity and its defense.

This is not simply the biased perspective of a Palestinian. Other scholars of varying political inclinations have described a similar spiritual and cultural identity: the U.S. identifies with Israelís ďnational styleĒ; Israel is essential to the ďideological prosperingĒ of the U.S.; each country has ďgraftedĒ the heritage of the other onto itself. This applies even to the worst aspects of each nationís heritage. Consciously or unconsciously, many Israelis even today see the U.S. conquest of the American Indians as something ďgood,Ē something to emulate and, which is worse, many Americans even today are happy to accept the ďcomplimentĒ inherent in Israelís effort to copy us.

This is no ordinary state-to-state relationship, and the lobby does not function like any ordinary lobby. It is not a great exaggeration to say that the lobby could not thrive without a very willing host Ė that is, a series of U.S. policymaking establishments that have always been locked in to a mindset singularly focused on Israel and its interests Ė and, at the same time, that U.S. policy in the Middle East would not possibly have remained so singularly focused on and so tilted toward Israel were it not for the lobby. One thing is certain: with the possible exceptions of the Carter and the first Bush administrations, the relationship has grown noticeably closer and more solid with each administration, in almost exact correlation with the growth in size and budget and political clout of the pro-Israel lobby.

All critics of the lobby study have failed to note a critical point during the Reagan administration, surrounding the debacle in Lebanon, when it can reasonably be said that policymaking tipped over from a situation in which the U.S. was more often the controlling agent in the relationship to one in which Israel and its advocates in the U.S. have increasingly determined the course and the pace of developments. The organized lobby, meaning AIPAC and the several formal Jewish American organizations, truly came into its own during the Reagan years with a massive expansion of memberships, budgets, propaganda activities, and contacts within Congress and government, and it has been consolidating power and influence for the last quarter century, so that today the broadly defined lobby, including all those who work for Israel, has become an integral part of U.S. society and U.S. policymaking.

The situation during the Reagan administration demonstrates very clearly the closeness of the bond. The events of these years illustrate how an already very Israel-centered mindset in the U.S., which had been developing for decades, was transformed into a concrete, institutionalized relationship with Israel via the offices of Israeli supporters and agents in the U.S.

The seminal event in the growth of AIPAC and the organized lobby was the battle over the administrationís proposed sale of AWACS aircraft to Saudi Arabia in 1981, Reaganís first year in office. Paradoxically, although AIPAC lost this battle in a head-on struggle with Reagan and the administration, and the sale to the Saudis went forward, AIPAC and the lobby ultimately won the war for influence. Reagan was determined that the sale go through; he regarded the deal as an important part of an ill-conceived attempt to build an Arab-Israeli consensus in the Middle East to oppose the Soviet Union and, perhaps even more important, saw the battle in Congress as a test of his own prestige. By winning the battle, he demonstrated that any administration, at least up to that point, could exert enough pressure to push an issue opposed by Israel through Congress, but the struggle also demonstrated how exhausting and politically costly such a battle can be, and no one around Reagan was willing to go to the mat in this way again. In a real sense, despite AIPACís loss, the fight showed just how much the lobby limited policymaker freedom, even more than 20 years ago, in any transaction that concerned Israel.

The AWACS imbroglio galvanized AIPAC into action, at precisely the time the administration was subsiding in exhaustion, and under an aggressive and energetic leader, former congressional aide Thomas Dine, AIPAC quadrupled its budget, increased its grassroots support immensely, and vastly expanded its propaganda effort. This last and perhaps most significant accomplishment was achieved when Dine established an analytical unit inside AIPAC that published in-depth analyses and position papers for congressmen and policymakers. Dine believed that anyone who could provide policymakers with books and papers focusing on Israelís strategic value to the U.S. would effectively ďownĒ the policymakers.

With the rising power and influence of the lobby, and following the U.S. debacle in Lebanon Ė which began with Israelís 1982 invasion and ended for the U.S. with the withdrawal of its Marine contingent in early 1984, after the Marines had become involved in fighting to protect Israelís invasion force and 241 U.S. military had been killed in a truck bombing Ė the Reagan administration effectively handed over the policy initiative in the Middle East to Israel and its American advocates.

Israel and its agents began, with amazing effrontery, to complain that the U.S. failure to clean up in Lebanon was interfering with Israelís own designs there Ė from which arrogance Reagan and company concluded, in an astounding twist of logic, that the only way to restore stability was through closer alliance with Israel. As a result, in the fall of 1983 Reagan sent a delegation to ask the Israelis for closer strategic ties, and shortly thereafter forged a formal strategic alliance with Israel with the signing of a ďmemorandum of understanding on strategic cooperation.Ē In 1987, the U.S. designated Israel a ďmajor non-NATO ally,Ē thus giving it access to military technology not available otherwise. The notion of demanding concessions from Israel in return for this favored status Ė such as, for instance, some restraint in its settlement-construction in the West Bank Ė was specifically rejected. The U.S. simply very deliberately and abjectly retreated into policy inaction, leaving Israel with a free hand to proceed as it wished wherever it wished in the Middle East and particularly in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Even Israel, by all accounts, was surprised by this demonstration of the United Statesí inability to see beyond Israelís interests. Prime Minister Menachem Begin had attempted from early in the Carter administration to push the notion that Israel was a strategic Cold War asset to the U.S. but, because Israel did not in fact perform a significant strategic role for the U.S. and was in many ways more a liability than an asset, Carter never paid serious attention to the Israeli overtures. Begin feared that the United Statesí moral and emotional commitment to Israel might ultimately not be enough to sustain the relationship through possible hard times, and so he attempted to put Israel forward as a strategically indispensable ally and a good investment for U.S. security, a move that would essentially reverse the two nationsí roles, altering the relationship from one of Israeli indebtedness to the U.S. to one in which the United States was in Israelís debt for its vital strategic role.

Carter was having none of this, but the notion of strategic cooperation germinated in Israel and among its U.S. supporters until the moment became ripe during the Reagan administration. By the end of the Lebanon mess, the notion that the U.S. needed Israelís friendship had so taken hold among the Reaganites that, as one former national security aide observed in a stunning upending of logic, they began to view closer strategic ties as a necessary means of ďrestor[ing] Israeli confidence in American reliability.Ē Secretary of State George Shultz wrote in his memoirs years later of the U.S. need ďto lift the albatross of Lebanon from Israelís neck.Ē Recall, as Shultz must not have been able to do, that the debt here was rightly Israelís: Israel put the albatross around its own neck, and the U.S. stumbled into Lebanon after Israel, not the other way around.

AIPAC and the neo-conservatives who rose to prominence during the Reagan years played a major role in building the strategic alliance. AIPAC in particular became in every sense of the word a partner of the U.S. in forging Middle East policy from the mid-1980s on. Thomas Dineís vision of ďowningĒ policymakers by providing them with position papers geared to Israelís interests went into full swing. In 1984, AIPAC spun off a think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, that remains one of the pre-eminent think tanks in Washington and that has sent its analysts into policymaking jobs in several administrations. Dennis Ross, the senior Middle East policymaker in the administrations of George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, came from the Washington Institute and returned there after leaving the government. Martin Indyk, the Instituteís first director, entered a top policymaking position in the Clinton administration from there.

Today, John Hannah, who has served on Vice President Cheneyís national security staff since 2001 and succeeded Lewis Libby last year as Cheneyís leading national security adviser, comes from the Institute. AIPAC also continues to do its own analyses in addition to the Washington Instituteís. A recent Washington Post profile of Steven Rosen, the former senior AIPAC foreign policy analyst who is about to stand trial with a colleague for receiving and passing on classified information to Israel, noted that two decades ago Rosen began a practice of lobbying the executive branch, rather than simply concentrating on Congress, as a way, in the words of the Post article, ďto alter American foreign policyĒ by ďinfluencing government from the inside.Ē Over the years, he ďhad a hand in writing several policies favored by Israel.Ē

In the Reagan years, AIPACís position papers were particularly welcomed by an administration already more or less convinced of Israelís strategic value and obsessed with impeding Soviet advances. Policymakers began negotiating with AIPAC before presenting legislation in order to help assure passage, and Congress consulted the lobby on pending legislation. Congress eagerly embraced almost every legislative initiative proposed by the lobby and came to rely on AIPAC for information on all issues related to the Middle East. The close cooperation between the administration and AIPAC soon began to stifle discourse inside the bureaucracy. Middle East experts in the State Department and other agencies were almost completely cut out of decision-making, and officials throughout government became increasingly unwilling to propose policies or put forth analysis likely to arouse opposition from AIPAC or Congress. One unnamed official complained that ďa lot of real analysis is not even getting off peopleís desks for fear of what the lobby will doĒ; he was speaking to a New York Times correspondent, but otherwise his complaints fell on deaf ears.

This kind of pervasive influence, a chill on discourse inside as well as outside policymaking councils, does not require the sort of clear-cut, concrete pro-Israeli decisions in the Oval Office that David Gergen naively thought he should have witnessed if the lobby had any real influence. This kind of influence, which uses friendly persuasion, along with just enough direct pressure, on a broad range of policymakers, legislators, media commentators, and grassroots activists to make an impression across the spectrum, cannot be defined in terms of narrow, concrete policy commands, but becomes an unchanging, unchallengeable mindset, a sentimental environment that restricts debate, restricts thinking, and determines actions and policies as surely as any command from on high. When Israelís advocates, its lobbyists, in the U.S. become an integral part of the policymaking apparatus, as they have particularly since the Reagan years Ė and as they clearly have been during the current Bush administration Ė there is no way to separate the lobbyís interests from U.S. policies. Moreover, because Israelís strategic goals in the region are more clearly defined and more urgent than those of the United States, Israelís interests most often dominate.

Chomsky himself acknowledges that the lobby plays a significant part in shaping the political environment in which support for Israel becomes automatic and unquestioned. Even Chomsky believes that what he calls the intellectual political class is a critical, and perhaps the most influential, component of the lobby because these elites determine the shaping of news and information in the media and academia. On the other hand, he contends that, because the lobby already includes most of this intellectual political class, the thesis of lobby power ďloses much of its contentĒ. But, on the contrary, this very fact would seem to prove the point, not undermine it. The fact of the lobbyís pervasiveness, far from rendering it less powerful, magnifies its importance tremendously.

Indeed, this is the crux of the entire debate. It is the very power of the lobby to continue shaping the public mindset, to mold thinking and, perhaps most important, to instill fear of deviation that brings this intellectual political class together in an unswerving determination to work for Israel. Is there not a heavy impact on Middle East policymaking when, for instance, a lobby has the power to force the electoral defeat of long-serving congressmen, as occurred to Representative Paul Findley in 1982 and Senator Charles Percy in 1984 after both had deviated from political correctness by speaking out in favor of negotiating with the PLO? AIPAC openly crowed about the defeat of both men Ė both Republicans serving during the Republican Reagan administration, who had been in Congress for 22 and 18 years respectively. Similarly, does not the mediaís silence on Israelís oppressive measures in the occupied territories, as well as the concerted, and openly acknowledged, efforts of virtually every pro-Israeli organization in the U.S. to suppress information and quash debate on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, have an immense impact on policy? Today, even the most outspoken of leftist radio hosts and other commentators, such as Randi Rhodes, Mike Malloy, and now Cindy Sheehan, almost always avoid talking and writing about this issue.

Does not the massive effort by AIPAC, the Washington Institute, and myriad ther similar organizations to spoon-feed policymakers and congressmen selective information and analysis written only from Israelís perspective have a huge impact on policy? In the end, even Chomsky and Finkelstein acknowledge the power of the lobby in suppressing discussion and debate about Middle East policy. The mobilization of public opinion, Finkelstein writes, ďcan have a real impact on policy-making Ė which is why the Lobby invests so much energy in suppressing discussion.Ē It is difficult to read this statement except as a ringing acknowledgement of the massive and very central power of the lobby to control discourse and to control policymaking on the most critical Middle East policy issues.

Interchangeable Interests

The principal problem with the left criticsí analysis is that it is too rigid. There is no question that Israel has served the interests of the U.S. government and the military-industrial complex in many areas of the world by, for instance, aiding some of the rightist regimes of Central America, by skirting arms and trade embargoes against apartheid South Africa and China (until the neo-conservatives turned off the tap to China and, in a rare disagreement with Israel, forced it to halt), and during the Cold War by helping, at least indirectly, to hold down Arab radicalism. There is also no question that, no matter which party has been in power, the U.S. has over the decades advanced an essentially conservative global political and pro-business agenda in areas far afield of the Middle East, without reference to Israel or the lobby. The U.S. unseated Mossadegh in Iran and Arbenz in Guatemala and Allende in Chile, along with many others, for its own corporate and political purposes, as the left critics note, and did not use Israel.

But these facts do not minimize the power the lobby has exerted in countless instances over the course of decades, and particularly in recent years, to lead the U.S. into situations that Israel initiated, that the U.S. did not plan, and that have done harm, both singly and cumulatively, to U.S. interests. One need only ask whether particular policies would have been adopted in the absence of pressure from some influential persons and organizations working on Israelís behalf in order to see just how often Israel or its advocates in the U.S., rather than the United States or even U.S. corporations, have been the policy initiators. The answers give clear evidence that a lobby, as broadly defined by Mearsheimer and Walt, has played a critical and, as the decades have gone on, increasingly influential role in policymaking.

For instance, would Harry Truman have been as supportive of establishing Israel as a Jewish state if it had not been for heavy pressure from what was then a very loose grouping of strong Zionists with considerable influence in policymaking circles? It can reasonably be argued that he might not in fact have supported Jewish statehood at all, and it is even more likely that his own White House advisers Ė all strong Zionist proponents themselves Ė would not have twisted arms at the United Nations to secure the 1947 vote in favor of partitioning Palestine if these lobbyists had not been a part of Trumanís policymaking circle. Truman himself did not initially support the notion of founding a state based on religion, and every national security agency of government, civilian and military, strongly opposed the partition of Palestine out of fear that this would lead to warfare in which the U.S. might have to intervene, would enhance the Soviet position in the Middle East, and would endanger U.S. oil interests in the area. But even in the face of this united opposition from within his own government, Truman found the pressures of the Zionists among his close advisers and among influential friends of the administration and of the Democratic Party too overwhelmingly strong to resist.

Questions like this arise for virtually every presidential administration. Would Jimmy Carter, for instance, have dropped his pursuit of a resolution of the Palestinian problem if the Israel lobby had not exerted intense pressure on him? Carter was the first president to recognize the Palestinian need for some kind of ďhomeland,Ē as he termed it, and he made numerous efforts to bring Palestinians into a negotiating process and to stop Israeli settlement-building, but opposition from Israel and pressures from the lobby were so heavy that he was ultimately worn down and defeated.

It is also all but impossible to imagine the U.S. supporting Israelís actions in the occupied Palestinian territories without pressure from the lobby. No conceivable U.S. national interest is served Ė even in the United Statesí own myopic view Ė by its support for Israelís harshly oppressive policy in the West Bank and Gaza, and furthermore this support is a dangerous liability. As Mearsheimer and Walt note, most foreign elites view the U.S. tolerance of Israeli repression as ďmorally obtuse and a handicap in the war on terrorism,Ē and this tolerance is a major cause of terrorism against the U.S. and the West. The impetus for oppressing the Palestinians clearly comes and has always come from Israel, not the United States, and the impetus for supporting Israel and facilitating this oppression has come, very clearly and directly, from the lobby, which goes to great lengths to justify the occupation and to advocate on behalf of Israeli policies.

It is tempting, and not at all out of the realm of possibility, to imagine Bill Clinton having forged a final Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement were it not for the influence of his notably pro-Israeli advisers. By the time Clinton came to office, the lobby had become a part of the policymaking apparatus, in the persons of Israeli advocates Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk, both of whom entered government service from lobby organizations. Both also returned at the end of the Clinton administration to organizations that advocate for Israel: Ross to the Washington Institute and Indyk to the Brookings Institutionís Saban Center for Middle East Policy, which is financed by and named for a notably pro-Israeli benefactor. The scope of the lobbyís infiltration of government policymaking councils has been unprecedented during the current Bush administration. Some of the left critics dismiss the neo-cons as not having any allegiance to Israel; Finkelstein thinks it is naÔve to credit them with any ideological conviction, and Zunes claims they are uninterested in benefiting Israel because they are not religious Jews (as if only religious Jews care about Israel). But it simply ignores reality to deny the neo-consí very close ties, both ideological and pragmatic, to Israelís right wing.

Both Finkelstein and Zunes glaringly fail to mention the strategy paper that several neo-cons wrote in the mid-1990s for an Israeli prime minister, laying out a plan for attacking Iraq these same neo-cons later carried out upon entering the Bush administration. The strategy was designed both to assure Israelís regional dominance in the Middle East and to enhance U.S. global hegemony. One of these authors, David Wurmser, remains in government as Cheneyís Middle East adviser Ė one of several lobbyists inside the henhouse. The openly trumpeted plan, crafted by the neo-cons, to ďtransformĒ the Middle East by unseating Saddam Hussein, and the notion, also openly touted, that the path to peace in Palestine-Israel ran through Baghdad grew out of the neo-consí overriding concern for Israel. Both Finkelstein and Zunes also fail to take note of the long record of advocacy on behalf of Israel that almost all the neo-cons (Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, Elliott Abrams, John Bolton, and their cheerleaders on the sidelines such as William Kristol, Robert Kagan, Norman Podhoretz, Jeane Kirkpatrick, and numerous right-wing, pro-Israeli think tanks in Washington) have compiled over the years. The fact that these individuals and organizations are all also advocates of U.S. global hegemony does not diminish their allegiance to Israel or their desire to assure Israelís regional hegemony in alliance with the U.S.

The claimed interchangeability of U.S. and Israeli interests Ė and the fact that certain individuals for whom a primary objective is to advance Israelís interests now reside inside the councils of government Ė proves the truth of Mearsheimerís andWaltís principal conclusion that the lobby has been able to convince most Americans, contrary to reality, that there is an essential identity of U.S. and Israeli interests and that the lobby has succeeded for this reason in forging a relationship of unmatched intimacy. The ďoverall thrust of policyĒ in the Middle East, they observe quite accurately, is ďalmost entirelyĒ attributable to the lobbyís activities. The fact that the U.S. occasionally acts without reference to Israel in areas outside the Middle East, and that Israel does occasionally serve U.S. interests rather than the other way around, takes nothing away from the significance of this conclusion.

The tragedy of the present situation is that it has become impossible to separate Israeli from alleged U.S. interests Ė that is, not what should be real U.S. national interests, but the selfish and self-defined ďnational interestsĒ of the political-corporate-military complex that dominates the Bush administration, Congress, and both major political parties. The specific groups that now dominate the U.S. government are the globalized arms, energy, and financial industries, and the entire military establishments, of the U.S. and of Israel Ė groups that have quite literally hijacked the government and stripped it of most vestiges of democracy.

This convergence of manipulated ďinterestsĒ has a profound effect on U.S. policy choices in the Middle East. When a government is unable to distinguish its own real needs from those of another state, it can no longer be said that it always acts in its own interests or that it does not frequently do grave damage to those interests. Until the system of sovereign nation-states no longer exists Ė and that day may never come Ė no nationís choices should ever be defined according to the demands of another nation. Accepting a convergence of U.S. and Israeli interests means that the U.S. can never act entirely as its own agent, will never examine its policies and actions entirely from the vantage point of its own long-term self interest, and can, therefore, never know why it is devising and implementing a particular policy. The failure to recognize this reality is where the left criticsí belittling of the lobbyís power and their acceptance of U.S. Middle East policy as simply an unchangeable part of a longstanding strategy is particularly dangerous. CP

Kathleen Christison is the author of Perceptions of Palestine, which analyzes the evolution of U.S. policy on the Palestine issue over the last century and in the process traces the exponential growth since World War I in the influence on policymakers of Israelís powerful American advocates.

Bill Christison was a senior official of the CIA. He served as a National Intelligence Officer and as Director of the CIAís Office of Regional and Political Analysis. He is a contributor to Imperial Crusades, CounterPunchís history of the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan.

They can be reached at kathy.bill@christison-santafe.com.

All rights reserved.


From: "Ronald" <rbleier@igc.org>

To: "rbleier" <rbleier@igc.org>
Subject: W. Pfaff: M-W on America's Israeli Lobby & others
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2006 22:18:12 -0400

Many list members will have read plenty by now regarding the W-M (as Chomsky likes to call it) paper on the Israeli lobby. Pfaff makes the obvious point that the silence of the media when they don't publish op eds execrating it (forget about meaningful reactions from politicians) is more than proof of the paper's validity. The Pfaff paper does an excellent job in few words of summarizing the situation. . See also the very important Jim Petras article rebutting Chomsky on the Lobby which Alexander Cockburn refused to publish. http://www-personal.umich.edu/~hfc/mideast/PetrasNC.htm Thanks to Jeff, DS, hfc, others, for their tireless work on this topic. See Jeff's response to Massad: link below.--Ronald

----- Original Message -----

From: Jeff Blankfort
Sent: Thursday, April 06, 2006 8:43 PM
Subject: William PFAFF-The Mearsheimer-Walt Paper on America's Israeli Lobby -

"The note of panic in some of the attacks on Mearsheimer and Walt contrasts with the fact that what they say is no secret in American foreign policy circles. People have for years taken for granted the informal censorship, or self-censorship, exercised in the government and the press on this issue."



William Pfaff is the author of eight books on American foreign policy, international relations, and contemporary history, including books on utopian thought, romanticism and violence, nationalism, and the impact of the West on the non-Western world. His newspaper column, featured in The International Herald Tribune for more than a quarter-century, and his globally syndicated articles, have given him the widest international readership of any American commentator. [Read more...]

Columns : The Mearsheimer-Walt Paper on America's Israeli Lobby
on 2006/4/5 11:20:00 (160 reads)

Paris, April 4, 2006 Ė Londonís Financial Times performed an American public service in its weekend edition, calling editorially for open and honest discussion of the influence of Israel on American foreign policy.
The call came amidst the resounding silence in ďresponsibleĒ American circles concerning the paper recently issued by two highly-regarded political scholars, Stephen Walt of Harvard and John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, discussing the ďIsrael lobbyĒ in Washington and its effect on American foreign relations.
So far as one can make out from the internet, in the mainstream American press, only United Press International, The International Herald Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post have carried articles on the paper.

The Herald Tribuneís was an opinion piece by Daniel Levy, a former advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, calling for open discussion of the lobby. The UPI and the Monitor provided professionally detached news reports.
The other two papers carried attacks -- in the case of The Washington Post, two of them, both featuring the news that the totally insignificant David Duke, a former head of the Klu Klux Klan, applauds the Merscheimer-Walt paper. Duke is not a figure whose views are ordinarily treated as of national interest by The Washington Post, and the newspaperís linking of him to the Merscheimer-Wall document was an act of character assassination by association just like those which won Senator Joseph McCarthy infamy in the 1950s.
The document has not otherwise lacked attention. The blogosphere is full of it, with both attacks on it and defenses and praise. The authors themselves predicted that the mainstream media would ignore or attack their argument, which is essentially that the influence of Israel on American policy has distorted it to Israelís advantage, and sometimes to American disadvantage.
They say that Israelís friends in the United States have succeeded in convincing Americans that Israeli and American national interests are inseparable, which they are not, and have tried and often succeeded in suppressing or punishing critical discussion of the relationship.
What are very striking are the virulence as well as the volume of the attacks being made on the authors. The Klu Klux Klan smear has been the least of it. Their paper has been compared to Nazi propaganda of the 1930s and to the czarist-era forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (which still circulates in the Arab world).
In fact, Mearsheimer and Walt are recognized and respected political scholars in the so-called realist tradition, which regards the defense and promotion of the national interest of states as the chief purpose of foreign policy. Their paper is a responsible document of public importance.
The venom in the attacks made on it risks the opposite of its intended effect by tending to validate the claim that intense pressures are exercised on publishers, editors, writers, and on American universities to block criticism, intimidate critics, and prevent serious discussion of the American-Israeli relationship.
In Israel itself there has for many years been frank, cool and reasoned discussion of the subject. Leading figures, including retired officers and intelligence officials as well as peace activists, have in the past warned that the actions of Israelís friends in America could eventually rebound against Israel itself, with harm to Jews elsewhere.
Some also have noted that the leading U.S. lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, is farther to the right in its views than Israeli public opinion, and has interfered in Israeli politics through support for the Likud party and by undermining Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
The note of panic in some of the attacks on Mearsheimer and Walt contrasts with the fact that what they say is no secret in American foreign policy circles. People have for years taken for granted the informal censorship, or self-censorship, exercised in the government and the press on this issue.
It is a fact of democratic life in the United States that determined interest groups annex their own spheres of federal policy. Energy policy is run by the oil companies, and trade policy by manufacturers, exporters and importers, with an input from Wall Street.
U.S. Cuba policy is decided by the Cuban lobby in Florida, and policy on Armenia by Americans of Armenian descent. The Middle East, or at least its part of it, belongs to Israel.
However in the Israeli case the lobbying effort is linked to a foreign government, even if the lobbyists sometimes take a policy line not that of the government. Moreover, the lobbying involves war and peace issues.
President George W. Bush said a few days ago that in connection with the supposed threat of Iran, his concern is to protect Israel. Critics ask why Israel should not protect itself. The same has been asked about Iraq.
In this respect the controversy over the Israeli lobby is potentially explosive. This is why denials, secrecy, and efforts at intimidation are dangerous. Daniel Levy is right when he says that Israel itself would be served ďif the open and critical debate that takes place over here [in Israel] were exported over there,Ē meaning the United States.

[The full Mearsheimer-Walt paper is available on the Harvard John F. Kennedy School website, and a shortened version, published in March in the London Review of Books, is easily found on the internet.]


Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2006 17:01:56 +0900
Subject: Blankfort on Alterman

Jeff Blankfort <jblankfort@earthlink.net> wrote:

Eric Alterman's take on the Mearsheimer-Walt article on The Israel Lobby seems to be the way that liberals and some on the left have chosen to respond to its damning evidence of the the lobby's pernicious influence on US Middle East policy. They begin by praising the authors for raising the issue and then attempt to discredit key elements of M-W's thesis by creating straw men and arguments that don't stand up to scrutiny. What is important is that the discussion about the role of the Israel Lobby is now a subject of a long-overdue public debate, and more important, exposure, and can no longer be bottled up.

Last edited by Alpha on Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:28 pm; edited 12 times in total
Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 5:49 pm    Post subject: AIPAC Threatens to Defeat Minnesota Democrat: The Storm over

The serving Israel first US press/media won't cover what Harvard is saying above just like it hasn't covered the following for the most part either

Treason at a high level: Pentagon Zionists, AIPAC and Israel:



AIPAC Threatens to Defeat Minnesota Democrat: The Storm over the Israel Lobby

May. 19th, 2006 @ 09:26 am
Congresswoman cuts off AIPAC
Volume 53, Number 10 ∑ June 8, 2006
By Betty McCollum
The letter below was sent by Representative Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, to the executive director of AIPAC. The bill mentioned, H.R. 4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, would place so many restraints on aid to the Palestinian people, and so many restrictions on the administration's ability to deal with the Palestinians, that even the State Department has opposed it. AIPAC has strongly backed it. The Senate version of the bill, S. 2237, would allow the administration far more flexibility. On April 6, the House International Relations Committee passed H.R. 4681 by a vote of 36 to 2; McCollum was one of the two nays. As of May 11, AIPAC has yet to respond to her demand for an apology.
óMichael Massing
April 10, 2006
Mr. Howard Kohr
Executive Director
American Israel Public Affairs Committee
440 First Street, NW; Suite 600
Washington, D.C. 20001
Dear Mr. Kohr:
During my nineteen years serving in elected office, including the past five years as a Member of Congress, never has my name and reputation been maligned or smeared as it was last week by a representative of AIPAC. Last Friday, during a call with my chief of staff, an AIPAC representative from Minnesota who has frequently lobbied me on behalf of your organization stated, "on behalf of herself, the Jewish community, AIPAC, and the voters of the Fourth District, Congresswoman McCollum's support for terrorists will not be tolerated." Ironically, this individual, who does not even live in my congressional district, feels free to speak for my constituents.
This response may have been the result of extreme emotion or irrational passion, but regardless, it is a hateful attack that is vile and offensive to me and the families I represent. I call on AIPAC to immediately condemn this un-American attack and disavow any attempt to use this type of threat and intimidation to stifle legitimate policy differences. I will not stand to be labeled or threatened in a manner that questions my patriotism or my oath of office.
Last week, I did vote against H.R. 4681 during mark-up of the bill in the House International Relations Committee. As a Member of Congress sworn to uphold the Constitution, and ensure the security of the US and represent the values and beliefs of the constituents who I serve, it was my view that H.R. 4681 goes beyond the State Department's current policies toward Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and potentially undermines the US position vis-√ -vis the coordinated international pressure on Hamas. The language contained in S. 2237 accurately reflects my position.
Keeping diplomatic pressure on Hamas to renounce terrorism, recognize the State of Israel, dismantle terrorist infrastructure, and honor past agreements and treaty obligations, while preventing a humanitarian crisis among the Palestinian people, are all policy goals already strongly supported by myself, the Bush administration, Congress and the American people. But, if the purpose of H.R. 4681 was to send another strong message to Hamas and the Palestinian people, as Congress already has sent with the passage of S. Con. Res. 79, then I disagree with the vehicle for that message. In my opinion, Congress should be articulating clear support for the Secretary of State's present course of action; not creating a new law which likely diminishes the diplomatic tools needed to advance US policy goals with regard to the Palestinian people, potentially cuts US funding to the United Nations, and largely restates current law while creating on-going and burdensome unfunded reporting requirements.
As you well know, in Congress we do not shy away from condemning the vile words of despots and dictators who use anti-Semitism as a weapon to incite hatred, fear and violence. AIPAC should not have a lower standard for persons affiliated and representing its organization when they label a Member of Congress who thinks for herself and always puts the interest of our nation and people first a supporter of terrorists.
You and your colleagues at AIPAC have the right to disagree with my position on any piece of legislation, but for an AIPAC representative to say that I would ever vote to support Middle East terrorists over the interests of my country will never be tolerated by me or the families I serve. This incident rises to a level in which a formal, written apology is required.
Mr. Kohr, I am a supporter of a strong USĖIsraeli relationship and my voting record speaks for itself. This will not change. But until I receive a formal, written apology from your organization I must inform you that AIPAC representatives are not welcome in my offices or for meetings with my staff.
Betty McCollum
Member of Congress
4th District, Minnesota
Washington, D.C.


Date: Fri, 19 May 2006 17:50:22 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Council for the National Interest Foundation" <inform@cnionline.org>

Subject: TAKE ACTION: Rep. McCollum (MN-4) Dares to Speak Out Against AIPAC

TAKE ACTION: AIPAC Banned by Rep. McCollum (MN-4)

TAKE ACTION: Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN-4th district) has banned the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) from her office until she receives a formal, written apology from AIPAC for equating her vote in the House International Relations Committee against HR 4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, with "support for terrorists."

The following "Letter to AIPAC" from Rep. McCollum will be published in the June 8th edition of the New York Review of Books with a long piece by Michael Massing ("The Storm over the Israel Lobby"). Massing includes the letter as evidence to support his thesis that the tactics of the Israel lobby are harsh, and often extremely effective, in pursuing its objectives: "to keep Israel strong, the Palestinians weak, and the United States from exerting pressure on Israel." Both items are essential reading.

Please take a moment to thank Rep. McCollum for her stance against HR 4681 and for her courage to stand up to AIPAC's attempts to smear her and stifle debate. You can call her office directly at 202-225-6631 or call the Capitol switchboard toll-free at 1-888-355-3588 and ask to be transferred to her office.

If no one is able to take your call, please leave a brief message of thanks along with your name and address so that Rep. McCollum can get in touch with you. Please call today!

New York Review of Books

Volume 53, Number 10 June 8, 2006

By Betty McCollum
The letter below was sent by Representative Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, to the executive director of AIPAC. The bill mentioned, H.R. 4681, the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006, would place so many restraints on aid to the Palestinian people, and so many restrictions on the administration's ability to deal with the Palestinians, that even the State Department has opposed it. AIPAC has strongly backed it. The Senate version of the bill, S. 2237, would allow the administration far more flexibility. On April 6, the House International Relations Committee passed H.R. 4681 by a vote of 36 to 2; McCollum was one of the two nays. As of May 11, AIPAC has yet to respond to her demand for an apology.

-Michael Massing

April 10, 2006

Mr. Howard Kohr
Executive Director
American Israel Public Affairs Committee
440 First Street, NW; Suite 600
Washington, D.C. 20001

Dear Mr. Kohr:

During my nineteen years serving in elected office, including the past five years as a Member of Congress, never has my name and reputation been maligned or smeared as it was last week by a representative of AIPAC. Last Friday, during a call with my chief of staff, an AIPAC representative from Minnesota who has frequently lobbied me on behalf of your organization stated, "on behalf of herself, the Jewish community, AIPAC, and the voters of the Fourth District, Congresswoman McCollum's support for terrorists will not be tolerated." Ironically, this individual, who does not even live in my congressional district, feels free to speak for my constituents.

This response may have been the result of extreme emotion or irrational passion, but regardless, it is a hateful attack that is vile and offensive to me and the families I represent. I call on AIPAC to immediately condemn this un-American attack and disavow any attempt to use this type of threat and intimidation to stifle legitimate policy differences. I will not stand to be labeled or threatened in a manner that questions my patriotism or my oath of office.

Last week, I did vote against H.R. 4681 during mark-up of the bill in the House International Relations Committee. As a Member of Congress sworn to uphold the Constitution, and ensure the security of the US and represent the values and beliefs of the constituents who I serve, it was my view that H.R. 4681 goes beyond the State Department's current policies toward Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and potentially undermines the US position vis-ŗ-vis the coordinated international pressure on Hamas. The language contained in S. 2237 accurately reflects my position.

Keeping diplomatic pressure on Hamas to renounce terrorism, recognize the State of Israel, dismantle terrorist infrastructure, and honor past agreements and treaty obligations, while preventing a humanitarian crisis among the Palestinian people, are all policy goals already strongly supported by myself, the Bush administration, Congress and the American people. But, if the purpose of H.R. 4681 was to send another strong message to Hamas and the Palestinian people, as Congress already has sent with the passage of S. Con. Res. 79, then I disagree with the vehicle for that message. In my opinion, Congress should be articulating clear support for the Secretary of State's present course of action; not creating a new law which likely diminishes the diplomatic tools needed to advance US policy goals with regard to the Palestinian people, potentially cuts US funding to the United Nations, and largely restates current law while creating on-going and burdensome unfunded reporting requirements.

As you well know, in Congress we do not shy away from condemning the vile words of despots and dictators who use anti-Semitism as a weapon to incite hatred, fear and violence. AIPAC should not have a lower standard for persons affiliated and representing its organization when they label a Member of Congress who thinks for herself and always puts the interest of our nation and people first a supporter of terrorists.

You and your colleagues at AIPAC have the right to disagree with my position on any piece of legislation, but for an AIPAC representative to say that I would ever vote to support Middle East terrorists over the interests of my country will never be tolerated by me or the families I serve. This incident rises to a level in which a formal, written apology is required.

Mr. Kohr, I am a supporter of a strong US-Israeli relationship and my voting record speaks for itself. This will not change. But until I receive a formal, written apology from your organization I must inform you that AIPAC representatives are not welcome in my offices or for meetings with my staff.

Betty McCollum
Member of Congress
4th District, Minnesota
Washington, D.C.


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Last edited by Alpha on Thu Jun 08, 2006 4:48 am; edited 3 times in total
Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 6:07 pm    Post subject: 'Smoking Gun' of more war for Israel to come..

'Smoking Gun' of more war for Israel to come..:

Posted: Fri Mar 17, 2006 6:17 pm    Post subject:

Stephen Sniegoski was interviewed on the 'Current Issues' program about his 'Iraq War Conceived in Israel' article:



"Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the U.S. decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was a critical element. Some Americans believe that this was a "war for oil," but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this claim. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure. According to Philip Zelikow, a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (2001‚Äź2003), executive director of the 9/11 Commission, and now Counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the "real threat" from Iraq was not a threat to the United States.139 The "unstated threat" was the "threat against Israel," Zelikow told a University of Virginia audience in September 2002, noting further that "the American government doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is nota popular sell."" P. 29

"Within the United States, the main driving force behind the Iraq war was a small band of neoconservatives, many with close ties to Israel’s Likud Party." [I couldn't say it better myself--except I did with the same "driving force."}

The neoconservatives were already determined to topple Saddam before Bush became President.155 Theycaused a stir in early 1998 by publishing two open letters to President Clinton calling for Saddam’s removal from powr.156 The signatories, many of whom had close ties to pro‚ÄźIsrael groups like JINSA or WINEP, and whose ranks included Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Bernard Lewis, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, had little trouble convincing the Clinton Administrationto adopt the general goal of ousting Saddam.157 But the neoconservatives were unable to sell a war to achieve that objective. Nor were they able to generate much enthusiasm for invading Iraq in the early monthsof the Bush Administration.158 As important as the neoconservatives were for making the Iraq war happen, they needed help to achieve their aim. That help arrived with 9/11. Specifically, the events of that fateful day led Bush and Cheney to reverse course and become strong proponents of a preventive war to toppl Saddam. Neoconservatives in the Lobby—most notably Scooter Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, and Princeton historian Bernard Lewis—played especially critical roles in persuading the President and Vice‚ÄźPresident to favor war. For the neoconservatives, 9/11 was a golden opportunity to make the case for war with Iraq. At a key meeting with Bush at Camp David on September 15, Wolfowitz advocated attacking Iraq before Afghanistan, even though there was no evidence that Saddam was involved in the attacks on the United States and bin Laden was known to be i Afghanistan.159 Bush rejected this advice and chose to go after Afghanistan instead, but war with Iraq was now regarded as a serious possibility and the President tasked U.S. military planners on November21, 2001 with developing concrete plans for an invasion.160 Meanwhile, other neoconservatives were at work within the corridors of power.

We do not have the full story yet, but scholars like Lewis and Fouad Ajami of John Hopkins University reportedly played key roles in convincing Vice President Chney to favor the war.161 Cheney’s views were also heavily influenced by the neoconservatives on his staff, especially Eric Edelman, John Hannah, and chief of staff Libby, one of the most powerful individuals in the Administration.162 The Vice President’s influence helped convince President Bush by early 2002. With Bush and Cheney on board, the die for war was cast.

These salvoes were the beginning of an unrelenting public relations campaign to win support for invading Iraq.165 A key part of this campaign was the manipulation of intelligence information, so as to make Saddam look like an imminent threat. For example, Libby visited the CIA several times to pressure analysts to find evidence that would make the case for war, and he helped prepare a detailed briefing on the Iraq threat in early 2003 that was pushed on Colin Powell, then preparing his infamous briefing to the U.N. Security Council on the Iraqi threat p. 30
Posted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 10:03 am    Post subject: From the Dept. of Famous Last Words (Iraq War Division)

From the Dept. of Famous Last Words (Iraq War Division) :

Posted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 11:28 am    Post subject: A hot paper muzzles Harvard - Los Angeles Times

From: Jeff Blankfort <jblankfort@...>
Date: Sun May 14, 2006 3:34 pm
Subject: A hot paper muzzles Harvard - Los Angeles Times

"But make a list of how professors have come out on this divide and you'll find it is an awfully neat proxy for deeper ideological divisions. Those who dislike the U.S. relationship with Israel suddenly find themselves champions of free speech; those supportive of Israel are recast as defenders of high standards of scholarship. It's just that nobody can talk about that schism."

An interesting way to take a knock at the Mearsheimer-Walt paper which is extensively documented and footnoted which one would not know from any of the paper's critics or this article. It should be clear that those who support the paper are afraid to speak out because they are aware, as Mearsheimer and Walt, indicated, that they would be smeared with the brush of anti-semitism. This writer, of course, ignores that, and smears Juan Cole, the only US based academic who has supported the paper as a "a media-hungry professor-blogger."


A hot paper muzzles Harvard
Controversial "Jewish lobby" paper raises nary a peep on the cowed campus.
By Eve Fairbanks, Eve Fairbanks works at the New Republic as a reporter-researcher.
May 14, 2006

DID YOU THINK there was a controversy in academia over "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," the paper by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer contending that a shadowy "Israel Lobby" ó including everyone from the New York Times and Hillary Clinton to Pat Robertson and Paul Wolfowitz ó has seized control of American foreign affairs? I did too, but let me tell you: We were wrong.

When professors Walt and Mearsheimer (of Harvard and the University of Chicago, respectively) went public with their paper in the London Review of Books on March 23, it seemed the whole world started screaming. From columnists Richard Cohen and Max Boot to historian Tony Judt and Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, public figures battled in the pages of the major papers. Accusations of anti-Semitism and divided loyalties flew. The magazine I work for published three articles on the paper in a single week.

Of course, if the paper caused such uproar in the public sphere, you'd think academia (and particularly the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, where Walt is the academic dean) would be, as the Harvard Crimson put it, the ultimate "field of battle." And as far as conspiratorial rumors and unexplained reversals go, it has been.

The Kennedy School pulled its name off the article, nervous to be associated with the argument that an expansive lobby is undermining American interests on behalf of the Jewish state. Bob Belfer, the fabulously wealthy (and Jewish) oil baron who endowed Walt's chair at the Kennedy School, was hopping mad. Angry donors reportedly threatened to retract gifts. Whispers began that faculty relationships were fraying, and gossip circulated that campus forces were plotting to oust Walt from panels and boards. Harvard had to deny that his decision to step down as dean had anything to do with the paper.

But something else happened at Harvard, something strange. Instead of a roiling debate, most professors not only agreed to disagree but agreed to pretend publicly that there was no disagreement at all. At Harvard and other schools, the Mearsheimer-Walt paper proved simply too hot to handle ó and it revealed an academia deeply split yet lamentably afraid to engage itself on one of the hottest political issues of our time. Call it the academic Cold War: distrustful factions rendered timid by the prospect of mutually assured career destruction.

A couple of weeks ago, keeping in mind Henry Kissinger's famous aphorism that academic quarrels are so vicious because the stakes are so small, I began calling around Harvard, expecting to find a major fight flourishing. Spirited exchanges! A divided faculty! Parties canceled! Walt egged!

Instead, most people I spoke to assured me that, at Harvard, there is no controversy. Most everyone, they said, agreed about the paper. But what they all "agreed" on, hilariously, depended on whom I was talking to.

One anecdote illuminated the puzzle. At a faculty meeting, the paper came up, and the department head remarked that she was sure everyone had the same reaction when they read it ó approval. One professor piped up: "No, this article is rubbish!" The room became very quiet. Finally, someone changed the subject. Through moments like these, a de facto consensus developed not to discuss the paper at all.

Most professors I reached wouldn't speak on the record about the flap because they didn't want their feelings to become known on campus. Walt ignored my requests for comment. Harvard's Alan Dershowitz, one of just a few professors who have conspicuously denounced the paper, says that when he was scheduled for a BBC face-off with Mearsheimer, the author mysteriously canceled moments before airtime.

Most fishily, one Kennedy School professor who had previously gone public with his opinions clammed up completely, explaining cryptically to me that even chatting off the record about the paper isn't "the right thing for me to do at this time." Another senior Kennedy School professor admitted that he was baffled by the dearth of discussion of the paper. "We debate everything else here," he said.

The closest we've gotten to open academic argument over the paper is an online petition circulated by Juan Cole, a media-hungry professor-blogger at the University of Michigan, condemning the paper's critics for "McCarthyite race-baiting." It has garnered nearly 1,000 professors' signatures.

But even Cole's petition ó many signers of which haven't read the paper ó exemplifies how, instead of knocking heads over the paper's core argument, it's become acceptable merely to debate drier questions of academic standards. Critics condemn the paper as shoddy scholarship; supporters, such as Cole, insist that the academic world's primary ethic is the right to say whatever you believe.

But make a list of how professors have come out on this divide and you'll find it is an awfully neat proxy for deeper ideological divisions. Those who dislike the U.S. relationship with Israel suddenly find themselves champions of free speech; those supportive of Israel are recast as defenders of high standards of scholarship. It's just that nobody can talk about that schism.

So is this collective campus lip-sealing evidence that Mearsheimer and Walt are right that the Israel Lobby squelches criticism? No, because professors fear taking a stand on either side.

Professors I spoke to offered various reasons they must tiptoe around the paper: That its style was too provocative. That they're skittish after witnessing Harvard President Larry Summers' ouster for making fractious comments. That the long-running PC wars have made them tired of controversy. That it's too "personal."

Most interestingly, they explained that topics related to the Middle East, though they provoke some of the deepest divisions in opinion between faculty members, are just too strewn with ideological landmines for them because academics are supposed to be above dogma ó an explanation that also sheds light on why most Middle East studies departments languish in mediocrity and lack influential senior faculty.

And most sadly, professors admitted that academia's notorious office politics ó in uniquely volatile combination with all these other reasons ó interfere with natural reactions to the paper, resulting in a collective response that one described as "nervous laughter."

"A lot of [my colleagues] were more concerned about the academic politics of it, and where they should come down, in that sense," another Ivy League professor told me, ruefully.

But isn't this all a little bit ironic? Mearsheimer and Walt clearly wrote their paper to be provocative. They took pleasure in breaking a taboo ó only to see another one erected around their work. And universities ought to be the centers of debate about ideas, right? "It's perhaps not a great reflection on academia ó perhaps we should be more out there," mused Princeton's Andrew Moravcsik, who calls himself an "idealist" about his profession.


But it seems more likely that academic tempers will continue to boil on the inside, without any release valve.

One observer close to the debate was profusely sorry to request anonymity, explaining that he had opinions concerning the paper but feared professional retaliation no matter what he might say.

"People might debate it if you gave everyone a get-out-of-jail-free card," he said, "and promised that afterward everyone would be friends."

Last edited by Alpha on Tue May 16, 2006 5:52 pm; edited 2 times in total
Posted: Sat Mar 18, 2006 7:05 pm    Post subject: Britain breaks with the US over Iran


Britain breaks with the US over Iran

By Patrick Seale

DUBAI: Britain has told the United States that it will not take part in any armed action against Iran’s nuclear sites, according to diplomatic sources in London. Already facing huge public criticism for his participation in the Iraq war, Prime Minister Tony Blair is seeking to distance himself from America’s belligerent rhetoric towards Iran.

Blair knows he would probably not survive the political storm if Britain joined in an attack on Iran. The concern in Whitehall, however, is that the Bush administration, egged on by Israel and its powerful friends in the United States, risks developing an unstoppable momentum towards war a war in which Britain clearly wants no part.

There is a real fear that if Iran refuses to yield to pressure either by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or by the UN Security Council to which Iran was formally referred on March 8 then the US would be left with no other option than to strike. The US may indeed have boxed itself into a corner by its threats, which Iran has scornfully rejected.

The view in Whitehall is that if America attacks Iran, it will have to do so alone or with Israel. In private discussions, British officials have made clear that any sort of military campaign against Iran would be "madness".

Despite its close alliance with the US, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has departed publicly from aggressive statements by senior US officials. He has ruled out military action by Britain against Iran as "inconceivable".

Last week, Britain announced it was pulling 800 men out of Iraq one tenth of its force there. This is seen as a signal that Britain is seeking to limit its involvement in America’s wars, rather than take on additional commitments.

Carefully monitoring opinion in Washington, British officials have noted with alarm that the advocates of confrontation with Iran, both inside and outside the administration, have triumphed over the few brave souls who dared argue in favour of dialogue and engagement.

Analysts in London are now convinced that Washington’s real aim is "regime change" in Tehran, an ambition which goes far beyond merely delaying or halting Iran’s nuclear programme.

The Washington Post reported this week that Iran had moved to the top of America’s national security agenda. Quite apart from the large teams devoted to the Iran problem in the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies, 10 people are now working full time on the Iran desk at the State Department, and an American outpost of Tehran-watchers has been established in the Gulf.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared: "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran whose policies are directed at developing a Middle East that would be 180 degrees different from the Middle East that we would like to see develop." In a bid to undermine the mullahs, she is planning to spend $85 million expanding American radio and TV broadcasts to Iran and promote internal opposition.

In a widely reported speech on March 7 to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the main pro-Israeli lobby, Vice-President Dick Cheney declared: "The United States is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the [Iranian] regime? We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."

On the same day, General Moshe Ya’alon, a former Israeli chief of staff, told a Washington audience that Israel could launch an attack on Iran in several different ways, not just from the air. This was seen as a reference to Israel’s Dolphin class submarines, armed with American Harpoon nuclear missiles, which are thought to be targeted at Iran.

As with the invasion of Iraq, the campaign against Iran seems to be driven by neocons and other pro-Israeli activists. Richard Perle one of the most eager advocates of the Iraq war has been beating the drums of war against Iran, as has the pro-Israeli Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Even Ze’ev Schiff, a usually sober Israeli defence analyst, wrote last week in Haaretz that intelligence services in the West were convinced that Iran was covertly developing nuclear weapons. "There is a secondary, smaller covert channel that is making steady progress towards creating a nuclear weapon," he claimed.

The Israeli daily Haaretz reported on March 10 that "in recent months, IDF officers have visited Washington to offer their support for a military strike should the diplomatic channels fail to bring Iran to heel".

American war fever against Iran seem largely to do with Israel. It includes Iran’s support for anti-Israeli militant groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s remarks about "wiping Israel off the map", which most independent observers dismiss as an angry response to Israel’s brutal oppression of the Palestinians and not in any sense a realistic threat.

President George W. Bush and his Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have accused Iran of smuggling sophisticated road-side bombs and military personnel into Iraq, but General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, admitted this week that the US had no proof of such activity.

In claiming that Iran is developing nuclear weapons the US seems in danger of repeating the mistake it made in Iraq. The evidence against Iran is as flimsy and as unproven as was the charge that Iraq’s WMD posed an "imminent threat" to America and the world.

There is no sign, however, that Washington is ready to heed the advice of IAEA chief Mohammad Al Baradei, who urged the US to end the "war of words" with Tehran and "engage in a dialogue".

Russia, too, is anxious to avert the danger of war not least to protect its substantial interests in Iran.

Russia is supplying Iran with an advanced air defence system and has almost finished building Iran’s first nuclear power station at Bushehr on the Arabian Gulf at a reported cost of $800 million. Moscow is keen to win more nuclear power contracts in Iran where Energy Minister Parviz Fattah this week announced plans to start building a second nuclear power station within six months.

Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, described Iran’s referral to the Security Council as "too hasty".

"This move is detrimental," he said on Russian state TV. "Not one real problem can be decided with such a move? We don’t want to be the ones to remind [everyone] who was right and who was not in Iraq, although the answer is obvious."

A Russian compromise proposal to produce nuclear fuel for Iranian power stations in Russia, while allowing Iran to enrich a small amount of uranium on its own soil, was shot down by the US. "Enrichment and reprocessing on Iranian soil is not acceptable," US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said.

In confronting Iran, the US may not have fully weighed the possible consequences: the extreme danger to US forces in Iraq; soaring oil prices; and encouragement for the world-wide jihadi movement which is bound to result in terror attacks against US and Israeli interests. It looks as if the US has no coherent policy towards Iran only bluster.

Iran has an "inalienable right" under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to acquire atomic knowledge for peaceful purposes. It has the ability to hit back hard against any aggressor. And, even were it to acquire nuclear weapons a remote possibility several years in the future it could surely be contained and deterred by the immensely greater nuclear arsenals of the US and Israel.

The inescapable conclusion would seem to be that the US should start direct talks with Iran as soon as possible. It may be the only way to defuse the threat of war, to provide the US with an exit strategy from Iraq and to build bridges to an inflamed Muslim public opinion.

(Patrick Seale is a commentator and author of several books on Middle East affairs)

Posted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 6:22 am    Post subject: Power/influence of AIPAC on the US political system

Both articles below are from the Jewish weekly, The Forward, from New
York city.

Editorial - The Forward, New York
Speak for Yourself
March 17, 2006, http://www.forward.com/articles/7494

It's undoubtedly a measure of the Jews' progress in
American society that the biggest yearly gathering of
Jewish political activists, the Aipac policy
conference, has become the most sought-after
Washington platform for politicians looking to launch
or advance - or, on occasion, salvage - a career.
There was a time when the world's movers and shakers
didn't much want to be seen around our kind. Now
there's nothing they want more than to curry our favor
and bask in our reflected glory. That's probably a
good thing.

That said, we're on murkier ground when a failed
administration decides it would be a good idea to send
its least popular figure to appear before this august
assembly. It means they've sized up our crowd to be a
safe haven, an audience they can count on to give them
a warm reception even when nobody else will. That's
not an indication of clout. It's a mark of fealty. It
means they know they've got us in their pocket.

That's the message that was broadcast to the world
last week when Vice President Cheney appeared before
Aipac, properly known as the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee. If nobody else wants Dick Cheney,
he can always count on the Jews.

Cheney was never much for crowds, but in the past
month, with his approval rating down in the 18% range
and his unfortunate Texas hunting accident still fresh
in the public's mind, he's been more selective than
ever. According to the White House, he's delivered
just five major addresses, not counting Republican
fund-raisers, in the four weeks since the shooting.
His audiences included the Wyoming state legislature,
the American Legion, a Labor Department retirees'
summit and a White House ceremony belatedly honoring
an aging World War II hero. The Aipac conference was
his fifth appearance, and by all accounts, his most
enthusiastically received. It was also the most
intensely covered in the world media.

For the record, here are a few of the vice president's
biggest Aipac applause lines, as transcribed and
reported by the White House itself:

On legitimate tactics in fighting terror: "By whatever
means are necessary - whether diplomatic or military -
we will act to protect the liberty and lives of our
people. (Applause.)"

On Iraq: "Our strategy in Iraq is clear, our tactics
will remain flexible, and we'll keep at the work until
we finish the job. (Applause.)"

On Iran: "For our part, the United States is keeping
all options on the table in addressing the
irresponsible conduct of the regime. (Applause.)"

On the administration's record: "Consider for a moment
where we were five years ago, when President Bush and
I took office. The secret planning for the attacks of
9/11 was already well underway... In Afghanistan, the
Taliban were in power... In Iraq, Saddam Hussein was
in power... Today the picture is very different. The
Taliban regime is now history, and 25 million Afghans
are free. (Applause.) We have captured or killed
hundreds of al Qaeda; put its leaders on the run; and
closed the camps that had trained the killers.
(Applause.) Saddam Hussein wakes up every day in a
jail cell, his sons are dead - (applause) - and Iraqis
by the millions have embraced democracy. (Applause.)
Iraq's leaders reflect the decency of the Iraqi
people, and no dictator is taking their money and
giving it to the families of suicide bombers.

Aipac's defenders note, correctly, that the lobby is
always careful to invite a bipartisan roster of
speakers, including top Democratic as well Republican
congressional leaders. As for administration
officials, it's natural for an organization that's in
the business of cultivating influence to want the
biggest names it can trot out. If the administration
happens to send over a vice president who can't show
his face in most crowds, hoping he'll feel at home by
us, who are we to say no? And if the crowd we've
assembled happens to give him a lion-sized hero's
welcome, what's the harm in that? So what if the world
media chooses to take images of Jewish lobbyists
cheering as the vice president threatens Iran with
"all options" and beam them into living rooms from
Jakarta to Tehran to the suburbs of Paris? Who could
have anticipated that? Anyway, whose business is it?

Aipac defenders also argue that it's unfair to hold
them to account as if they were somehow
representatives of the Jewish people. They are, they
say, a private corporation answerable only to its
members. Other Jewish organizations are free to
convene their own members and invite the speakers they
prefer. Why should Aipac be judged differently?

Here, though, they're on shakier ground. Like it or
not, Aipac is seen in Washington and around the world
as the voice of the American Jewish community. And, in
fact, that role is built into its legal structure. Its
executive committee includes representatives from each
of the 50-odd organizations that make up the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish
Organizations, from B'nai B'rith and Hadassah to the
major synagogue unions. Aipac is their - our - voice
to Washington and to the world. It's time somebody
started taking that role seriously.
Lessons From the Front- editorial

March 3, 2006
Later this month, America and the world will mark the third anniversary
of our nation's invasion of Iraq. It is a sobering moment, and an
appropriate time to take stock.

If things had gone according to plan, Islamist terrorism would now be
on the wane, the Middle East would be a more stable place, the specter
of nuclear terror would be gone from our daily nightmares, and Americans
would feel safer and more at peace with the world than they did three
years ago. The Bush administration would be able to look back on a
record of promises fulfilled and expect to reap the rewards of gratitude at
home and abroad for its audacious strategy.

Of course, things did not go as planned. They went staggeringly,
spectacularly wrong. Instead of feeling safer, Americans have experienced a
precipitous decline in their sense of security and global stability
under the stewardship of President Bush, beggaring the worst predictions of
even the harshest of Bush critics. Iraq, which was supposed to be the
proving ground for our newer, safer world, appears to be spinning into
chaos. Our television screens show almost daily scenes of angry Muslim
mobs calling for mayhem. Our government seems clueless to handle even
the most elementary procedures of port security or emergency
preparedness. Its audacious strategy seems merely reckless.

Back in the optimistic Clinton years, conservative scolds insisted on
reminding us that the world is "a dangerous place," as Newt Gingrich,
then speaker of the House, told a cheering crowd of pro-Israel activists
at the 1997 conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
The warning seemed necessary then, because the world didn't look that
Well, it sure looks dangerous now. The question is, are we worse off
than we were before? Or do we just see things more clearly?

This week, as if in preparation for the upcoming anniversary, America
and the world were treated to no fewer than three important new reports
on the results of the Iraq War and its impact on the security and
stability of Iraq, the Middle East and the global community. The reports -
an assessment for the Senate by America's top intelligence chiefs, a
global opinion survey conducted by BBC and an Iraqi government status
report - add up to a deeply alarming picture, and they go a long way toward
answering our question. We are worse off.

America's two top intelligence officials, the national intelligence
director, John Negroponte, and the head of the Defense Intelligence
Agency, Lieutenant General Michael Maples, making a joint appearance before a
Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on global threats, put it
bluntly, that things are as bad as they look.

Iraq, Negroponte told the senators, is not under control. Iraq runs a
very significant risk of sliding into chaos and civil war, he said. If
it does, it could have "catastrophic" consequences, becoming a regional
conflagration that brings in Saudi Arabia and Jordan on the Sunni side
and Iran on the Shi'ite side.

Following Negroponte, Maples gave an equally downbeat report on
conditions in Afghanistan. He said that violence by the Taliban and other
insurgent groups had increased 20% in the past year. "Insurgents now
represent a greater threat to the expansion of Afghan government authority
than at any point since late 2001," he said, and things will continue
heating up at least through the spring. It's going to get worse before it
gets better.

How did all this happen? Historians may argue the point for
generations, but the world community appears to have made up its mind. A global
survey released this week by the British Broadcasting Corporation found
that three-fifths of those questioned - a stunning 42,000 respondents in
35 countries - believe that the terrorist threat has increased around
the world as a result of the Iraq War. Only 12% believe the threat has
decreased. A solid majority in 21 of the 35 countries (and a 45%-to-36%
plurality worldwide) now believe it was a mistake to remove Saddam
Hussein from power.

Why would we not want to remove Saddam? We knew he was a tyrant who
brutalized his people and wanted to menace his neighbors. But that was not
why we invaded. We invaded because America had been attacked by
terrorists in September 2001, because Saddam supported terrorists, because we
feared that his attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction
escalated the threat intolerably, and because we believed that toppling the
worst tyrant in the Middle East might push the region toward democracy
and away from extremism. Sound reasoning, so it seemed.

Now we know differently. We know that Saddam's regime did not
constitute a direct threat to the United States, did not possess weapons of mass
destruction or the capacity to develop them, and had no meaningful
contact with the Islamist terrorist network that attacked us on September
11. We also know that much of that information was available to our
leaders before they decided to invade Iraq, but that they chose to overlook
it because they wanted to believe something else. We know - as this
newspaper warned just before the invasion - that toppling Saddam could and
did turn the Islamic Republic of Iran into an unchallenged regional
superpower and uncorked a genuine nuclear threat, for which we have no

We also know, or we should know, that audacity and bluster do not
constitute a foreign policy. Calling an enemy names will not necessarily
prevent him from opening fire. Yelling about a problem is not the same
thing as solving it. Starting a war is not the same thing as winning it.
Posted: Sun Mar 19, 2006 6:29 am    Post subject: Neocon advocates civil war in Iraq (for Israel, of course!)

Neocon advocates civil war in Iraq (for Israel, of course!):


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