who speaks with some authority about the clout of the Israel lobby.
Since none of you has already sent it to me, perhaps some of you haven't
noticed it yet. It would not be surprising, since this voice of reason
is being all but drowned out by the hubbub of all the Israel lobby
flacks protesting the Mearsheimer-Walt paper.
/Published on Sunday, March 26, 2006 by CommonDreams.org/
*United States Must Address Control of its Middle East Policies by
*by Paul Findley*
Because of the gross, longstanding bias in U.S. policy in the Middle
East, the world teeters on the precipice of widening conflict focused on
religion-- sadly, unnecessarily, dangerously. Christendom versus Islam.
Despite the efforts of many brave people to bring about just reform, the
bias continues—more flagrant and costly each year. America ignores this
injustice because misdirected, religion-based passions at home override
even vital national interests.
Our bias is created and sustained by extreme elements of both
Christianity and Judaism. Both have a deep-seated, passionate attachment
to the State of Israel, no matter how outrageous its behavior becomes.
Both are represented powerfully in Washington. Together, they burden our
country year after year with an Israel-centric foreign policy that has
led America into a deep abyss.
The bias is also sustained unwittingly by suicide bombers, professed
Muslims who engage in frantic violence delivered as protest against
foreign occupation of their land. In doing so, they defy the rules of
Islam by taking their own lives and the lives of innocent people.
Most Americans are blind to reality. They are unaware of the flagrant
bias in our policies and the price we pay for this bias. Despite the
wonders of the Information Age, the public is not informed about how
these harmful policies are established. Among those who know the truth,
almost all remain totally silent, afraid to speak out. This self-imposed
censorship unwittingly has led us into great trouble, even into the
ultimate in wrong deeds-- initiating wars.
The more experienced of the religious lobbies is headed by the American
Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC]. It consists almost exclusively
of Judaic Zionists, activists whose behavior is disapproved-- although
very quietly-- by the majority of those affiliated with Judaism. My
book, They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s
Lobby, details the history and tactics of their lobbying.
Hardcore members of this group are buttressed by political pressure of
ultra-Orthodox followers of Judaism who believe their messiah will not
arrive until Greater Israel-- Biblical Israel-- comes into being. Their
common goal is the take-over of all the West Bank and East Jerusalem
into Israel proper, a vision that excludes even a tiny independent
In both Israel and the United States, such Zionists exert great
political power. They are supported by immense U.S. financing, both
public and private, and are a primary force that establishes, populates
and expands the illegal settlements that now consign Palestinians to
isolated enclaves like those that once existed in apartheid South Africa.
Christian Zionists are not as tightly organized as the Judaic ones, but
they are vastly more numerous. They total 50 million Americans, perhaps
more. Although they constitute a minority of U.S. Christians, they have
attained great political power as prominent supporters of George W.
Bush's presidential campaigns.
The two groups make strange bedfellows. Judaic doctrine makes no mention
of Jesus Christ. Christian Zionists, in a radical interpretation of the
Bible's Book of Revelations, believe that on the Second Coming of
Christ, all people of the Judaic faith will instantly be destroyed or
converted to Christianity. They are bound tightly together by an
immediate interest-- survival of a strong, expanding Israel as an
essential precondition for the arrival on earth of their separate messiahs.
Together, they control U.S. policy in the Middle East. They are so
powerful that Congress dutifully approves massive aid to Israel every
year with no discussion worthy of the term debate. The intimidation they
foster effectively blocks any mention of Israel's its wanton destruction
of Palestinian society through military conquest, assassinations, and
wholesale destruction of lives, homes, and means of livelihood. Aid to
Israel is unconditional. No strings are attached. The only substantial
U.S. aid to Arabs goes to Egypt, a reward for establishing full
diplomatic relations with Israel years ago.
This unconditional aid actually lures Israel into sustained defiance of
international law, UN resolutions, and the provisions of the UN Charter
with impunity. Because of self-imposed bias in major U.S. media
coverage, few Americans are aware of this law-breaking or U.S.
complicity in it. But Muslims follow this bias with mounting
In his campaign against terrorism, President Bush fails to recognize
that 9/11's real Ground Zero was never Manhattan or the Pentagon. It was
always Palestine, and remains so today. Nine-eleven was grisly payback
for America's support for Israel's bloody assault on Arabs over the
years, especially its attack on Palestinians and its slaughter of
innocent Arab civilians in Lebanon in 1982.
In the summer of 1982, using U.S.-donated weapons, Israeli forces killed
more than 18,000 innocent Arabs in Beirut and its suburbs. Although U.S.
media gave the massacre scant attention, it provoked worldwide
anti-American fury that became white hot when Congress immediately voted
funds to restore the inventory of munitions Israeli forces consumed in
the assault. I know. I was a Member of Congress when approval was voted.
In the aftermath of 9/11, Bush scrapped national sovereignty, for
centuries bedrock of the nation state. He proclaimed his right to commit
acts of war any place he alone found a threat to our security. He rammed
through a panicky Congress an unpatriotic Patriot Act. He appointed
himself police chief of the world and pledged to maintain U.S. military
forces and foreign bases at levels sufficient for worldwide policing, a
task no single nation state should attempt. It is the proper job for a
multinational organization which our government should be urgently
helping to create.
President Bush ordered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now hints at an
assault on Iran, followed by Syria. Because all of these targets are
Muslim countries, ominous lines are forming for a worldwide struggle
between Islam and Christendom.
The 9/11 horror, as well as the wars our government has initiated are
the ugly offspring of our longstanding bias in Middle East policy These
calamities can be traced step by step to lobbies preventing free speech.
If free speech and open debate had prevailed on Capitol Hill or even
within non-partisan activities of American society, civilized discussion
would have forced reform.
The religion lobbies contribute generously to candidates who do their
bidding against those who do not. Their most powerful instrument of
intimidation is the reckless charge of anti-Semitism. I know the sting.
It works. Fear of being charged with anti-Semitism makes most people who
know the truth about our complicity in Israeli policy and war-making
cower in silence.
As a consequence, few Americans know that our governmental bureaucracy
is thoroughly penetrated by Zionists. My book reports examples. Our
government is truly Israeli occupied territory.
Today's mess started a half-century ago on Capitol Hill when the lobby
for Israel first promoted a heavy bias in U.S. policy in the Middle
East. By the time I became a Member of Congress in 1961, the lobby's
activities had already thoroughly intimidated our political
institutions. During my 22-year career on Capitol Hill, and since, I
have watched intimidation grow deeper and more pervasive.
Former Ambassador George W. Ball said Congress behaves like trained
poodles, jumping through hoops held by lobbyists for Israel. The lobby
marshals great resources to defeat its critics and reward supporters.
Senators Charles Percy and Adlai Stevenson and Representatives Paul
"Pete" McCloskey, Cynthia McKinney, Earl Hilliard and I are among those
defeated at the polls by candidates heavily financed by pro-Israel
forces. With hardly a murmur of protest, Congress recently approved
resolutions saluting the prime minister of Israel for building high
walls and fences that keep Palestinians penned up on their own land like
Nationally, not just on Capitol Hill, the State of Israel is treated as
sacrosanct. It is rare when a word critical of Israel is expressed even
in private conversation anywhere in America. Silence pervades major
media, academia, social circles, and business communities-- even houses
Israel's interests were a primary reason for Bush's decision to invade
Iraq, as noted recently by U.S. General Anthony Zinni, once Bush's
special emissary to the Middle East.
The raging insurgency against U.S. forces in Iraq is linked directly to
the plight of the nearby Palestinians. We cannot expect Arab Iraqis to
trust our promise of freedom for them when a few miles away we maintain
our abject, decades-long complicity in Israel's denial of freedom for
I believe 9/11 would not have occurred if the U.S. government had
refused to support Israel's humiliation and destruction of Palestinian
society. Any president of the past 38 years could have brought justice
to the Middle East simply by putting firm conditions on all aid to Israel.
Our government must cease unconditional aid to Israel. Instead of
financing Israel's conduct, we must become the agent for justice. Our
president must suspend all U.S. aid until Israel vacates illegal
settlements it has established throughout the West Bank and East
Jerusalem, and withdraws from Arab land it has held illegally since June
In Iraq, our president must immediately order an end to aerial bombing
and all other acts of war against insurgents, most of whom are native
Iraqis who distrust U.S. intentions and want our forces to leave. Most
sensible course is to pledge immediately total withdrawal from Iraq of
U.S. military and contractor personnel by a specified date after the new
government is organized. Only units exempt from withdrawal are those
expressly requested by the new government and approved by the UN
These two presidential announcements will sweep away the dark clouds of
religious war and quickly dampen the Iraqi insurgency. Above all, we
must temper these steps with understanding and good will. We must
recognize that almost everyone is hurting, not just Arabs who bear the
most extensive agony.
Americans are hurting. The toll of war in blood, tears and economic
hardship hits us all. All concerned with the Middle East need justice,
understanding and mercy. Let it fall broadly and gently.
Let us seek justice.
/Paul Findley, Republican Member of Congress 1961-83, is the author of
three books on the Arab-Israeli conflict, including the bestseller
//They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s
He resides in Jacksonville, Illinois./