“My fellow Americans, tonight I’m going to talk frankly about a pesky little nation called Israel … “
Hat tip: CounterPunch Diary
March 19 – 21, 2010
By Alexander Cockburn
Don’t get excited. It’ll never happen. Is there really a crisis in US-Israeli relations? Yes and No. Yes, because the world’s premier power doesn’t care to have its vice president publicly humiliated by a midget of a nation whose entire population is smaller than that of Los Angeles county. No, because the elected politicians nominally running the government of the world’s premier power live in mortal fear of the Israel lobby in the United States. This time, as always, No will carry the day. (You can find a detailed narrative by Jeffrey Blankfort on this site today, from which much of this Diary is drawn.)
Consider Biden’s reaction the day after Interior Minister Eli Yishai, probably with Netanyahu’s foreknowledge, announced the scheduled building of 1600 apartments – Jews only – in East Jerusalem, right at the moment Biden was trying to breathe life into the “peace process”
So here’s the vice president of the United States of America,standing with all the injured dignity of a man who has just had a bucket of sewage dumped over his head and who amid his discomfiture, actually did use the word “condemn” and “Israel” in the same paragraph. The next day Biden heads for Tel Aviv university and confides to the audience that he is a Zionist and that, “throughout my career, Israel has not only remained close to my heart but it has been the center of my work as a United States Senator and now as Vice President of the United States.” Get that: “the center of my work.” This mission statement is not quoted in the U.S. press.
They’re way over the top today — I call ‘grotesque libel’!
So, Chas Freeman states the obvious: the ‘Israel lobby’ torpedoed his nomination because he didn’t embrace the ubiquitous pro-Israel bias required of those operating in U.S. foreign policy circles.
I’m sure anonymous fount of conventional wisdom who sat down to pen today’s Washington Post editorial responding to the charge intended to dispel the notion that the discourse around the Israel-Palestine conflict is as narrowly limited as Freeman claims. Unfortunately for him or her — and the rest of us — the product that emerged was such a McCarthyite screed, so far over the top, that it can ultimately only serve as fodder for the exact kind of ‘Jews control the debate’ conspiracism it seeks to condemn. Let’s tune into this bit of apoplexy in progress …
It wasn’t until Mr. Freeman withdrew from consideration for the job, however, that it became clear just how bad a selection Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair had made. Mr. Freeman issued a two-page screed on Tuesday in which he described himself as the victim of a shadowy and sinister “Lobby” whose “tactics plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency” and which is “intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government.” Yes, Mr. Freeman was referring to Americans who support Israel — and his statement was a grotesque libel.
No, Mr. Freeman was not referring to “Americans who support Israel” — as long as we’re indulging in wild hyperbole, I’d say that’s a “grotesque libel” unto itself.
He was referring to a loose, informal network of political operatives and organizations that support Israel’s hawkish government and its policies towards the Palestinians (and its stance towards the rest of the Middle East). Two different animals — there are plenty of “Americans who support Israel” who don’t share those groups’ views (including plenty of American Jews).
But fear not — it’s not like the WaPo didn’t look into the whole thing carefully before weighing in …
For the record, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee says that it took no formal position on Mr. Freeman’s appointment and undertook no lobbying against him. If there was a campaign, its leaders didn’t bother to contact the Post editorial board.
See? They never got a memo saying …
Dear Washington Post,
Just wanted to let you know we’ll be shooting down this guy’s nomination because of his views on Israel.
The Israel Lobby