Israel is Our Demise
by Josh Frank
October 4, 2003
It is well known that the pro-Israel lobby has been at the forefront in campaign contributions since the late 1980s. Buying access and influencing policy has been their forte. From Republicans to Democrats, pro-Zionist factions wield much power in Washington. The American Israel Affairs Committee (AIPAC- www.aipac.org) has been the most active of these forces; ranking in at number four on Fortune Magazineís top ten most effectual lobbying groups in the US (www.fortune.com/fortune/power25). Although AIPAC has business partners on both sides of the aisle, Democrats reap the most benefits -- accepting over $20 million dollars more than the Republicans since 1990 (www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?Ind=Q05).
The Clinton Administration was especially notorious for its ties to the Zionist lobby. Acting President of AIPAC during the time, Steven Grossman, spent many nights in the Clinton White House. Grossman was also the Chair of the Democratic National Committee from 1996-99, and now heads the fundraising campaign of Presidential candidate Howard Dean.
So what Middle-East direction shall the US take if progressives decide to unite and dump Bush? It's becoming more and more apparent that Democrats wonít endorse any populist platform like that of Dennis Kucinich or Al Sharpton. Much of the hype about Kucinich is coming from the radical left -- folks who arenít even members of the Democratic Party, and wonít be able to cast votes in the upcoming primaries.
This is a huge disadvantage for Democrats like Kucinich, who wish to change their crippled party from within. If Democratic constituents wonít endorse real progressive candidates, then their party is certainly doomed.
Unfortunately, it may signal the demise of our peace and security as well.
The largest threats to our security stem from fundamentalism bred in the Middle East; with a direct link to the US backing of Israel. This brings us to Steve Grossman and his ilk, as well as the current debate rumbling among Democratic contenders for President.
Similar to the US involvement in Colombia, and the outrageous Plan Colombia, which isnít about halting coca production, but about protecting oil interests -- US support of Israel is not about security. In fact, itís about an archaic alliance that's run amuck. We are bankrolling a brutal occupation grounded in religious fanaticism.
The US involvement will inevitably lead to more severe terrorist strikes here in the United States. Whether its simultaneous suicide bombings on New York subways, or poisoning of water systems in Boise, the likelihood of being attacked has rarely been greater. For that reason alone, opposition Party leaders -- Democratic Presidential candidates in particular Ė should adamantly oppose the funding of Sharonís Zionist government of Israel.
Howard Dean has been attacked for his centrist stance on the issue. Stating that the US must not take sides in the conflict -- never once denouncing our funding of Israel -- with over $134 billion dollars handed over since 1949 (www.hdip.org/Fact%20sheets/us_aid_to_israel.htm).
The Zionist Lobby may have their way with Dean soon enough. They've already secured the loyalty of Joe Lieberman and John Kerry -- two of Deanís harshest pro-Israel critics. What does this say for their Party as a whole? Will Democratic loyalists press their leaders to take a hard line with Sharon? Will they press them to take sides with Jewish dissidents in Israel who denounce their countryís Palestine policy? Not likely.
So where does this leave Americans? Right in the line of fire is where. If anything can be said after three years of Bush, itís that the US role in the Middle East should be altered indefinitely. Peace doesnít run through Baghdad, but Jerusalem. We need leaders that know this. Not leaders whose campaign employs former AIPAC lobbyists, apologetic to Israelís Zionist occupation of Palestine.
However, money buys power. And many Democrats are bought just like Republicans. How much time do we have before desperate Palestinian empathizers, or Bin Laden fundamentalists, sacrifice their lives at our expense? Will we then rethink our codes of conduct in the Middle East?
Just like Bush, no Democratic President will reconsider our support for the terrorist Likud Party. It will continue to be a one-sided critique of misconduct of the Palestinian suicide bombers -- barely mentioning Israelís bloated military budget, and the terrorism it supports. Our tax dollars should not fund religious ventures of any kind-- especially not Sharon's Zionist greed.
We must admire the thousands of Jewish dissidents working for social justice (www.nkusa.org, www.jewsagainstzionism.com) -- the Israelis denouncing Sharon, and refusing to serve in the occupied territories. One can only hope their influence over our politicians could be as great as AIPAC's. Misdirection of US foreign policy canít emote blind patriotism forever. Sooner or later weíll suffer the ramifications.
This means progressives must work harder than ever to bring about the drastic changes that are needed. Regardless if Bush is defeated in 2004, there will still be an enormous amount of work that will need to be done before the Left can claim "victory."
Too bad Dean isnít the great hope and visionary so many want him to be. Too bad American demise has been foreshadowed by a bunch of AIPAC lobbyists who tout their dollars all over Washington. To bad so many of our politicians can be bought and sold, regardless of the outcomes. Too bad indeed.
Josh Frank is a journalist living in New York City. His work appears frequently in Impact Press and online at Counterpunch. He can be reached at frank_joshua