There is no sharper analyst on American Jews and their influence through AIPAC in the Congress than Phil Weiss of Mondoweiss and today he dealt with a major issue of massive self-censorship: wealthy Jewish influence on American politics.
Weiss’s point is that Jewish writers point to the role of Christian evangelicals Don’t blame the Jewish establishment; it’s Christian evangelicals who drive U.S. policy.
He then quotes Ido Aharoni, a former Israeli ambassador, who said last November that Christians are no rival to Jews politically when it comes to Middle East policy.
“The number of evangelical Christians who are deeply involved and interested in the geopolitics of the middle east is very small. Very small. Believe me, I know this community well….
Weiss puts his finger on the problem: I know why writers shy away from blaming the Jewish establishment for the Israel lobby. They are afraid that any acknowledgment of Jewish influence will lead to more anti-Semitism and persecution of Jews But a journalist’s job description is to tell the truth about important events, and the truth is that the Jewish portion of the Israel lobby, AIPAC and the big Zionist donors, play an essential role in our politics.
“More significantly, evangelical Christians have no influence over the Democrats who have supported the Israeli occupation and the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza; Jewish groups do. If evangelical Christians did have such influence, then Democrats would be for Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, against gay rights and abortion rights, and against stem-cell research. But Dems are oppositional to evangelicals on those questions.
Consider these examples of the Democrats and the Jewish Israel lobby:
–AIPAC reaches out to Democratic candidates; and it scripts the Middle East policy of congressional campaigns before they have campaign managers, just so they can get money from the “Jewish community,” says the head of Emily’s List.
–The 29 standing ovations for Netanyahu in the Congress in 2011 — when he was lecturing Obama on settlements — were led by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who was then head of fundraising for the Democratic Congress as the party chair and who shares a large donor with Netanyahu.
–At that time, Obama, facing reelection, went back on his vow to stop the settlements and vetoed the United Nations Security Council resolution against settlements. His former aide Ben Rhodes says that Obama felt pressure from “Jewish donors.”
–Haim Saban– (“I have one issue-Israel”) one of President Obama’s biggest donors, and one of the biggest supporters of Birthright and the Israeli army right alongside Sheldon Adelson on the right– was one of Hillary Clinton’s advisers during the 2016 campaign and pressed her to issue a statement against Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) and to say publicly that she would take the Israel relationship to a whole new level with Netanyahu, and put the Obama friction behind.
Do you think that has anything to do with Chelsea Clinton landing on Ilhan Omar the other night?
–Last year Stu Eizenstat wrote a book about Jimmy Carter saying that leading American Jewish organizations, working alongside Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Dayan, got Jimmy Carter to yield on settlements. Still, Carter never dropped the issue entirely, even as his political guru typed out a long memo to him saying that 60 percent of campaign funds on the Democratic side come from Jews and that money is pro-Israel.
The Jewish portion of the Israel lobby surely has influence among Republicans too. Trump moved the embassy and tore up the Iran Deal at least as much for the sake of his biggest funder, Sheldon Adelson, who is Jewish and proudly attended the unveiling in Jerusalem, as he did for Christian Zionists. Senator Lindsey Graham said when he ran in the Republican presidential primaries in 2016: “I may have the first all-Jewish cabinet in America because of the pro-Israel funding. Bottom line is, I’ve got a lot of support from the pro-Israel funding.”
Of course you are never allowed to adduce these facts in the mainstream media, especially not now in the wake of the public shaming of Rep. Ilhan Omar as an anti-Semite for stating a plain truth: AIPAC and financial considerations sway the Congress on Middle East policy.
“Can you explain to me why people are so upset about the Muslim congresswoman’s comments about Israel?” a friend who is married to a Jew writes to me from overseas. “As far as I can tell, she said that the US supports Israel because the Jewish lobby spends a lot of money in Congress. Isn’t that a factually accurate statement?”
Weiss threw up his hands.
It’s been 13 years since the publication of the Israel lobby paper by Walt and Mearsheimer, and we all seem to have gone backwards. Everyone is denying plain truths.
Jewish writers go along with the denial because they don’t want Jews to be held responsible for the occupation, or for Israel’s slaughters. But that’s intellectually dishonest. And spiritually desolate too. You will notice that Palestinian rights and lives count for absolutely nothing in this discussion. Palestinians are supposed to live under subhuman conditions forever, and wait for the peace process rather than push for their rights. Ali Abunimah and Glenn Greenwald, two writers who have done as much as anyone to move the American left on BDS, have both been insistent on talking about the lobby because they wish to address power.
What does it say about American Jewish life that four Jewish Zionist writers for the New lately justified the massacre of unarmed Palestinian protesters? It says to me that Jews are facing a great reckoning. Our collective memory is one of powerlessness and victimization. But it has kept us from coming to terms with the reality, our own privilege. Everyone sees it. We don’t.
Weiss is very brave. Christians less so. Catholic leaders terribly conflicted and self censorious. They have allowed the obvious fear of pro-Israel tribal reprisals to mute their prophetic voice on behalf of the victims here—those that Weiss names and timorous Christians are afraid to, those who bear the disfigured face of the Jewish Christ for far too long, the indigenous Palestinians.
Thx to Adam Horowitz, James North and Donald Johnson.