Israel Curious, Part 3 of 3: State & Local Support

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Read part one of this series about Israeli espionage and part two about UN colonialism.

MEDIA ROOTS – When making decisions about Middle East policy, the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch frequently bow to the whims of a foreign nation in order to remain in AIPAC’s good graces. Billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are up for grabs if AIPAC can properly manipulate U.S. foreign policy, at which it excels with unparalleled fluency through intimidation and legalized bribes.

As the Salon explains, “the sight of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu who, having defied and insulted the American president, addressing a joint session of Congress with congressmen and senators of both parties jumping to their feet like jack-in-the-boxes to show their support, was all anyone needed to understand Israel’s power in the American Congress.”

U.S. Senators and Representatives prioritize Israel

Almost all U.S. Senators and Representatives prioritize Israel’s interests over the United States’ when bowing to AIPAC’s persistent circulation of many harmful resolutions throughout the U.S. Congress. It is incumbent upon Republicans and Democrats, as self-proclaimed patriots, to shun the lobby of any foreign nation in favor of true U.S. interest. Yet the status quo, under which the Israeli Prime Minister receives 29 bi-partisan standing ovations compared to the U.S. President’s 25 partisan standing ovations, remains woefully askew. Former Senator Charles Mathias (R – MD) cautions us to draw distinction “between ethnicity, which enshrines American life and culture, and organized ethnic interest groups, which sometimes causes that derogate from the national interest” (Blitzer: 134).

Wolf Blitzer also counsels, “those American Jewish political activists who are the most successful in supporting AIPAC are those who are Zionists first, Democrats or Republicans second” (Blitzer: 132). This describes Eric Cantor (R – VA) perfectly. When President Obama offered Tel Aviv lucrative incentives in order for them to temporarily halt colonization of the West Bank, Cantor pledged to support the Israeli Prime Minister over the U.S. President. Cantor effectively vowed to protect Israeli interests against U.S. interests. One can think of no other historical example of a Congressional representative pledging loyalty to a foreign leader on an issue of such international significance, in direct opposition to his own President. Even Ronald Reagan, the mythical idol of all Republicans, had told Israeli proxies to mind their own business and stop interfering with the United States’ own self-interest (Blitzer: 135-136).

American gifts to Israel remains top priority, despite own financial crisis

Lately, Cantor has attempted to hide the United States’ annual $3 billion gift to Israel within the Department of Defense budget, in an effort to safeguard it from fiscal oversight. Wolf Blitzer explains that this move is unlikely to happen because the State Department counts on the gift to Israel in order to finagle the State Department’s foreign aid bill through U.S. Congress each year; foreign aid is not a strong issue in many lawmakers’ eyes, but giving money to Israel is (Blitzer: 7). Throughout such twisted maneuvering, no elected U.S. official possesses the temerity to even question the illogic of aiding Israel at all.

Another AIPAC Congressman has assured Israel that the United States’ worst financial crisis since the Great Depression will have no impact on aid to Israel. The United States is rife with unemployment, attempting to recover from a mortgage crisis, struggling with decrepit infrastructure, and waging global war, yet subsidizing the Israeli military remains a top priority with the U.S. Congress. The historical record has taken note.

The U.S. Senate operates in lockstep with the Israeli political right. In June 2011, a resolution promising to halt aid to the Palestinian Authority if it seeks statehood in the UN General Assembly passed unanimously in the U.S. Senate. Senator Ben Cardin (D – MD) summarized the Senate’s position: “The Senate has delivered a clear message to the international community that the United Nations recognition of a Palestinian state at this time does not further the peace process… A permanent and peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.” AIPAC issued a statement “applauding the resolution.” On the bright side, Israel finally allowed a shipment of cars into Gaza for the first time since 2007. As Wolf Blitzer reminds, Israeli residents “of course, have a well-earned reputation for being charitable” (Blitzer: 125).

What happens to Palestine?

Prior to the U.S. Senate’s ugly display, half of U.S. Democratic Senators urged President Obama to suspend assistance to the Palestinian Authority if Fatah continued to participate in a unity government with Hamas. One week later, the House Republican Majority Leader and Democratic Minority Whip circulated a resolution calling for sanctions against the Palestinian Authority if it pursued statehood recognition in concert with the unity government. AIPAC’s efforts paid off. In July 2011, the House of Representatives passed Resolution 268, urging President Obama to suspend financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority if it proceeded with efforts to achieve statehood at the United Nations. Professor Zunes, of the University of San Francisco, puts Congress’ actions in perspective:

“Congress went on record reiterating their ‘strong opposition to any attempt to establish or seek recognition of a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians.’ It called on Palestinian leaders to ‘cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process, including through a unilateral declaration of statehood or by seeking recognition of a Palestinian state from other nations or the United Nations.’ It called upon President Obama to ‘announce that the United States will veto any resolution on Palestinian statehood that comes before the United Nations Security Council which is not a result of agreements reached between the Government of Israel and the Palestinians’ and to ‘lead a diplomatic effort to oppose a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and to oppose recognition of a Palestinian state by other nations, within the United Nations and in other international forums prior to achievement of a final agreement between the Government of Israel and the Palestinians.’

“Reread the above paragraph and replace ‘Palestinians’ with ‘Namibians’ or ‘East Timorese’ or ‘Kenyans’ or ‘Algerians,’ or any other people under foreign occupation in recent decades, and replace ‘Israel’ with the respective occupying power, and the implication of this resolution becomes clear: Both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are still trapped in an early 20th century colonialist mindset which believes that colonized people should only be allowed independence under the terms and conditions granted them by their occupiers. Not a single member of the U.S. Senate and only a handful in the House were willing to consider the idea that, as a territory under foreign belligerent occupation, the Palestinians of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and the Gaza Strip have a legal right to self-determination under international law, and that not Israel, the United States or any other government can legally deny that to them. Yet, both major parties are still blinded by a pre-Wilsonian belief in the right of conquest, whereby political freedom can only be allowed to the extent of what may be voluntarily granted by the conqueror (which both Republicans and Democrats have repeatedly referred to as potential ‘painful concessions’ by Israel).”

Even a majority of Israelis think the Israeli government should accept a UN resolution recognizing an independent Palestinian state. Despite this reality, AIPAC’s hard-right stance forces the corrupt U.S. Congress and the Executive branch to facilitate colonialism. Even a former Israeli Defense Minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, acknowledges it is in Israel’s best interest to recognize a Palestinian state. In sum, AIPAC has pulled U.S. policymakers farther right than most Israelis.

Consider HR 4133, which demands: the U.S. veto any UN resolutions that are remotely critical of Israel; give Israel all “necessary” military support; throw even more money at Israel’s military occupation; give the Israeli government greater access to U.S. intelligence, including classified satellite imagery; allow Israel to participate more in NATO activities; tie Israel and the U.S. so closely together that the Pentagon is forced to back Israel regardless of U.S. strategic interests; allow the Israeli Air Force to train with greater frequency on United States soil; and supply Israel with more sensitive weaponry [read: bunker-busting bombs and cluster munitions]. Israel already possesses nuclear weapons, some of the world’s finest special operations forces, the most ruthless intelligence service, disciplined infantry units, and a top-notch Air Force. So why pepper them with more gifts?

AIPAC flies U.S. Congress to Tel Aviv for their summer vacations

Vociferous advocacy for hard-right Israeli policies extends to state and local legislatures

The Colorado Senate and House of Representatives recently passed Senate Joint Resolution 27, recognizing Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people, inaccurately commending Israel as the lone democracy in the Middle East, and affirming a “close affinity” between Colorado residents and the Israeli people.  

Florida’s House Federal Affairs Subcommittee passed HR 1447 unanimously, which commends Israel on the “cordial and mutually beneficial relationship with the United States and with the state of Florida and supports Israel in its legal, historical, moral, and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon the entirety of its own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others, and that peace can be afforded the region only through a whole and united Israel governed under one law for all people.”

The state of Florida recognizes Israel’s inherent right to Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem and unanimously commends Israel as “the greatest friend and ally of the United States in the Middle East.” Embracing ignorance, Florida legislature affirms “haters of Israel also hate, and seek to destroy, the United States of America.”

According to the Executive Director of Florida’s Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) branch, “the strong and honest language used in the [Florida] resolution recognizes the rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, and that Jerusalem and the so-called West Bank must remain united under Israeli sovereignty for the sake of peace and security.” Hundreds of Christian Zionists joined ZOA in lobbying for Resolution 1447. The ZOA national president stated:

“It is imperative to note the particularly important role played by Israel’s Christian friends who joined with the Jewish community to urge the passage of this resolution… The Land of Israel is the rightful homeland of the Jewish People, and the enemies who seek Israel’s destruction are also self-avowed enemies of America.”

The South Carolina General Assembly recently passed Resolution 4339, which commended “the nation of Israel for its relations with the United States of America and with the state of South Carolina.” Resolution 4399 clings tightly to religious fervor:

“The roots of Israel and the roots of the United States are so intertwined that it is difficult to separate one from the other under the word and protection of almighty God; Those same haters of Israel also hate, and seek to destroy, the United States of America; Recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others, and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.”

The Utah legislature unanimously affirmed “cultural, economic, military and security bonds to Israel” and encouraged the Governor to visit Israel on a trade mission.

The flagrant falsehoods, which are perpetuated by the Centennial State, the Sunshine State, the Palmetto State, and the Beehive State in pseudo-solidarity with Israel, are contrary to humanity’s common decency. However, they’re quite rational expressions when one considers how AIPAC “has sought out younger Jewish political activists in local city councils, state legislatures, and the better law firms.” “Whenever they cooperate with AIPAC,” “both the Jewish Lobby on Capitol Hill and the local Jewish organizations benefit.” As a result, Jewish communities around the country “are constantly approaching their representatives and senators. They stay on top of the issues. By doing so, they become politically persuasive” (Blitzer: 133).

On the municipal level, the Philadelphia City Council, which should be tackling issues of poverty, education, and budgetary woes, voted to oppose Palestinian efforts of independence at the United Nations. The City Council, which has passed three other resolutions relating to Israel since 2000, neglected to see the irony in their symbolic suppression of Palestinian self-determination: Philadelphia was the birthplace of the United States’ unilateral independence.

Colorado, Florida, South Carolina, Utah, and Philadelphia are just a few examples of an invasive phenomenon. AIPAC is increasingly targeting state and local legislatures, with the explicit intent of spreading disinformation and dragging U.S. communities into the bellicose side of a distant fight.

The U.S. Legislative and Executive branches treat Israel like the fifty-first state.


Christian Sorensen for Media Roots

Photo by Flickr user IsraelinUSA.

2 thoughts on “Israel Curious, Part 3 of 3: State & Local Support

  1. Pinch me….am I dreaming? Is some news agency now actually reporting on the gigantic control of America by Israel and Zionism?
    Full credit to Abby Martin and RT, for taking on this dangerous issue, that has slain people like Helen Thomas, Rick Sanchez and others For this bravery alone, you deserve to widen your audience to the millions. The cowardly and self serving corporate media wouldn’t touch this topic, if our lives depended on it — which actually they do. Thank-you Abby, for your courage and heart, your energy for the cause, your intelligence and last and certainly not least, your sexiness.

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