"The night after: The alliance of extremist Christians and Zionists will
not stop in Iraq"
By Uri Avnery* 10 April 2003
The next war. It is now fashionable to talk about "the day after". Let's
talk about the night after. After the end of hostilities in
Iraq, the world will be faced with two decisive facts:
First, the immense superiority of American arms can beat any people in
the world, valiant as it may be.
Second, the small group that initiated this war - an alliance of
Christian fundamentalists and Jewish neo-conservatives - has
won big, and from now on it will control Washington almost without
The combination of these two facts constitutes a danger to the world,
and especially to the Middle East, the Arab peoples and
the future of Israel. Because this alliance is the enemy of peaceful
solutions, the enemy of the Arab governments, the enemy of
the Palestinian people and especially the enemy of the Israeli peace
It does not dream only about an American empire, in the style of the
Roman one, but also of an Israeli mini-empire, under the
control of the extreme right and the settlers. It wants to change the
regimes in all Arab countries. It will cause permanent chaos
in the region, the consequences of which it is impossible to foresee.
Its mental world consists of a mixture of ideological fervour and crass
material interests, an exaggerated American patriotism
and right-wing Zionism.
That is a dangerous mixture. There is in it something of the spirit of
Ariel Sharon, a man who has always had grandiose plans
for changing the region, consisting of a mixture of creative
imagination, unbridled chauvinism and a primitive faith in brute force.
Who are the winners? They are the so-called neo-cons, or
neo-conservatives. A compact group, almost all of whose members
are Jewish. They hold the key positions in the Bush administration, as
well as in the think-tanks that play an important role in
formulating American policy and the ed-op pages of the influential
For many years, this was a marginal group that fostered a right-wing
agenda in all fields. They fought against abortion,
homosexuality, pornography and drugs. When Binyamin Netanyahu assumed
power in Israel, they offered him advice on how
to fight the Arabs.
Their big moment arrived with the collapse of the Twin Towers. The
American public and politicians were in a state of shock,
completely disoriented, unable to understand a world that had changed
overnight. The neo-cons were the only group with a
ready explanation and a solution. Only nine days after the outrage,
William Kristol (the son of the group's founder, Irving
Kristol) published an Open Letter to President Bush, asserting that it
was not enough to annihilate the network of Osama bin
Laden, but that it was also imperative to "remove Saddam Hussein from
power"and to "retaliate" against Syria and Iran for
Following is a short list of the main characters.
The Open Letter was published in the Weekly Standard, founded by Kristol
with the money of ultra right-wing press mogul
Rupert Murdoch, who donated 10 million US dollars to the cause. It was
signed by 41 leading neo-cons, including Norman
Podhoretz, a Jewish former leftist who has become an extreme right-wing
icon, editor of the prestigious Encounter magazine,
and his wife, Midge Decter, also a writer, Frank Gaffney of the Center
for Security Studies, Robert Kagan, also of the Weekly
Standard, Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post, and, of course,
Perle is a central character in this play. Until recently he was the
chairman of the Defence Policy Board of the US Defence
Department, which also includes Eliot Cohen and Devon Cross. Perle is a
director of the Jerusalem Post, now owned by
extreme right-wing Zionists. In the past he was an aide to Senator Henry
Jackson, who led the fight against the Soviet Union on
behalf of the Jews who wanted to leave. He is a leading member of the
influential right-wing American Enterprise Institute.
Lately he was obliged to resign from his Defence Department position,
when it became known that a private corporation had
promised to pay him almost a million dollars for the benefit of his
influence in the administration.
That Open Letter was, in effect, the beginning of the Iraq war. It was
eagerly received by the Bush administration, with
members of the group already firmly established in some of its leading
positions. Paul Wolfowitz, the father of the war, is No. 2
in the Defence Department, where another friend of Perle's, Douglas
Feith, heads the Pentagon Planning Board. John Bolton is
State Department Undersecretary. Eliot Abrams, responsible for the
Middle East in the National Security Council, was
connected with the Iran-Contra-Israel scandal. The main hero of the
scandal, Oliver North, sits in the Jewish Institute for
National Security Affairs, together with Michael Ledeen, another hero of
the scandal. He advocates total war not only against
Iraq, but also against Israel's other enemies, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia
and the Palestinian Authority. Dov Zakheim is
comptroller for the Defence Department.
Most of these people , together with Vice-President Dick Cheney and
Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, are associated
with the "Project for the New American Century", which published a White
Paper in 2002, with the aim 'to preserve and
enhance this 'American peace'" - meaning American control of the world.
Meyrav Wurmser (Meyrav is a chic new Israeli first name) is director of
the Center for Middle East Policy at the Hudson
Institute. She also writes for the Jerusalem Post and is co-founder of
the Middle East Media Research Institute that is,
according to the London Guardian, connected with Israeli Army
Intelligence. MEMRI feeds the media and politicians with
highly selective quotations from extreme Arab publications. Meyrav's
husband, Davis Wurmser, is at Perle's American
Enterprise Institute, heading Middle East Studies. Mention should also
be made of the Washington Institute for Near East
Policy of our old acquaintance, Dennis Ross, who for years was in charge
of the "peace process" in the Middle East.
In all the important papers there are people close to the group, such as
William Safire, a man hypnotized by Sharon, in the
New York Times and Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post. Another
Perle friend, Robert Bartley, is the editor of the
Wall Street Journal.
If the speeches of Bush and Cheney often sound as if they came from the
lips of Sharon, one of the reasons may be that their
speechwriters, Joseph Shattan, Mathew Scully and John McConnell, are
neo-cons, as is Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby.
The immense influence of this largely Jewish group stems from its close
alliance with the extreme right-wing Christian
fundamentalists, who nowadays control Bush's Republican party. The
founding fathers were Jerry Falwell of the Moral
Majority, who once got a jet plane as a present from Menachem Begin, and
Pat Robertson of the Christian Coalition and the
Christian Broadcasting Network, which help to finance the Christian
Embassy in Jerusalem of J.W. van der Hoeven, an outfit
that supports the settlers and their right-wing allies.
Common to both groups is their adherence to the fanatical ideology of
the extreme right in Israel. They see the Iraq war as a
struggle between the Children of Light (America and Israel) and the
Children of Darkness (the Arabs and Muslims).
By the way, none of these facts are secret. They have been published
lately in dozens of articles, both in American and world
media. The members of the group are proud of them.
The Zionist general. The man who symbolizes this victory is General Jay
Garner, who has just been appointed chief of the
civilian administration in Iraq.
He is no anonymous general who has been picked accidentally. Garner is
the ideological partner of Paul Wolfowitz and the
Two years ago he signed, together with 26 other officers, a petition
organized by the Jewish Institute for National Security
Affairs, lauding the Israeli army for "remarkable restraint in the face
of lethal violence orchestrated by the leadership of the
Palestinian Authority", which is certainly news to the Israeli peace
forces. He also stated that "a strong Israel is an asset that
American military planners and political leaders can rely on".
In the first Gulf War he praised the performance of the Patriot
missiles, which had failed miserably. After leaving the army in
1997, he became, not surprisingly, a defence contractor specializing in
missiles. It was alleged that he landed non-competitive
Pentagon contracts. This year he obtained a defence contract for 1.5
billion US dollars, as well as a contract for building
Patriot systems in Israel.
Therefore, there can be no better candidate for the job of chief of the
civilian administration in Iraq, especially at a time when
contracts for billions of dollars for reconstruction have to be handed
out, to be paid for by Iraqi oil.
A new Balfour declaration. The ideology of this group, that calls for an
American world-empire as well as for a Greater Israel,
reminds one of bygone days.
The Balfour declaration of 1917, that promised the Jews a homeland in
Palestine, had two parents. The mother was Christian
Zionism (among whose adherents were illustrious statesmen like Lord
Palmerston and Lord Shaftesbury, long before the
foundation of the Zionist movement), the father was British imperialism.
The Zionist idea allowed the British to crowd out their
French competitors and take possession of Palestine, which was needed to
safeguard the Suez Canal and the shorter sea route
Now the same thing is happening again. Last year Richard Perle organized
a briefing in which a speaker proposed war not only
on Iraq, but on Saudi Arabia and Egypt as well, in order to secure the
world's oil heartland. Iraq, he asserted, was only the
pivot. One of the justifications for this design is the need to defend
To bet on our life? Seemingly, all this is good for Israel. America
controls the world, we control America. Never before have
Jews exerted such an immense influence on the centre of world power.
But this tendency troubles me. We are like a gambler, who bets all his
money and his future on one horse. A good horse, a
horse with no current competitor, but still one horse.
The neo-cons will cause a long period of chaos in the Arab and Muslim
world. The Iraqi war has already shown that their
understanding of Arab realities is shaky. Their political assumptions
did not stand the test, only brute force saved their
Some day the Americans will go home, but we shall remain here. We have
to live with the Arab peoples. Chaos in the Arab
world endangers our future.
Wolfowitz and Co. may dream about a democratic, liberal, Zionist and
America-loving Middle East, but the result of their
adventures may well turn out to be a fanatical and fundamentalist region
that will threaten our very existence.
The partnership of the neo-cons and the Christian fundamentalists may
engender counter-forces in Washington. And if Bush is
defeated in the next election, like his father after his victory in the
first Gulf War, this whole gang will be thrown out.
The Bible tells us about the kings of Judea, who relied on the then
world power, Egypt. They did not appreciate the rise of
forces in the east, Assyria and Babylon. An Assyrian general told the
king of Judea: "Behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this
bruised reed, upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go into his
hand and pierce it." (II kings 18, 21).
Bush and his gang of neo-cons is not a bruised reed. Far from it, he is
now a very strong reed. But should we bet our whole
future on this?
P.S. Is the "Christian-Zionist Right" any different from "Taliban"?
*Uri Avnery is an Israeli journalist, writer and peace activist.