[Marxism] Drums beating for Regime Change in Riyadh? Jeffrey Blankfort explains:

DHE cuibono at rcip.com
Thu Jul 15 16:23:45 MDT 2004


"It's not how much you know, it's what you understand..."  Jeffrey Blankfort
understands a good deal more than most. And has the guts to say it out loud.

 {From a repost on www.indybay.org, July 14 2004; excerpted; cf LeftCurve or
Indybay for full article; quick access from "Antiwar" link}
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"A War for Israel"  by Jeffrey Blankfort
LeftCurve
April 22, 2004
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Introduction

When Malaysian Prime Minister Mathahir Mohammed declared at an international
Islamic Conference in Kuala Lumpur in mid-October, 2003 that "today the Jews
rule the world by proxy [and] They get others to fight and die for them, [1]
the reactions in the U.S. and the West were predictable.

It was "a speech that was taken right out of the Protocols of Zion,"
according to one Israeli commentator[2], and Mathahir would be accused of
imitating Hitler and insuring that "Muslims around the world are similarly
being fed a regular diet of classic big lies about Jewish power."[3]

Big lies? Given Israel's unchecked dominion over the Palestinians and its
Arab neighbors over the past half century, supported in every way possible
by the United States, one can assume that Muslims, not to mention
intelligent non-Muslims, have no need for additional instruction as to the
extent of Jewish power. As further proof of its existence, if such were
needed, there would be no attempt to measure the Malaysian prime minister's
words against the reality of the times to determine if there was anything
accurate in his assessment.

If Mathahir could be accused of anything, it would be of being sloppy
historically and using too broad a brush. The Jews, as such, control
nothing. A segment of American Jewry, however, has been able, with few
exceptions, to shape U.S. Middle East policy since the mid-Sixties. Given
America's position as a major world power, and now its only superpower, that
is not a small achievement.

Over the years, that segment, the organized American Jewish community - in
short, the Israel lobby - has amassed unparalleled political power through
skillfully combining the wealth of its members[4] with its extraordinary
organizational skills to achieve what amounts to a corporate takeover of the
U.S. Congress and virtual veto power over the presidency.

There is virtually no sector of the American body politic that has been
immune to the lobby's penetration. That its primary goal has not been to
improve the security and well-being of the United States or the American
people, but to advance the interests of a foreign country, namely Israel,
may be debated, but it was acknowledged, in part, more than a dozen years
ago by Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio), who complained to an annual
conference of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council that
"There's only one issue members [of Congress] think is important to American
Jews - Israel."[5]

It was no secret that Israel had long been interested in eliminating the
regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and redrawing the map of the Middle East to
enhance its power in the region.[6] Initiating that undertaking became a
task for key individuals in and around the White House with deep roots in
right-wing Israeli politics. The attack on the World Trade Center supplied
the opportunity. That Iraq had nothing to do with it was immaterial. The
lobby's propaganda apparatus would make the American people believe
otherwise.

The first step has been completed. Saddam Hussein has been removed, not by
Israel, but by the U.S. and its "coalition of the willing." From the
perspective of the Israelis and, one must assume, the lobby, it is better
that American and foreign soldiers do the shedding of blood, Iraqi and their
own, rather than those of Israel, the world's fourth ranked military power.
Such an accusation will most assuredly draw cries of "blood libel" from the
likes of the Anti-Defamation League, but it is a conclusion that one can
readily draw from the facts. The degree to which the present Iraq situation,
as well as the first Gulf War, can be attributed to efforts of key
individuals and the major Jewish organizations that constitute the lobby is
what this article will examine.*

*The lobby?s existence and power well predate its alliance with what may be
called its Christian fundamentalist auxiliary, which has given it
unprecedented influence over both Congress and the White House.
------------------------------------------------------------------------ 

On March 13th, 2003, during a House appropriations subcommittee hearing on
foreign aid, of which Israel has long been the dominant recipient [7],
Secretary of State Colin Powell took the extraordinary step of assuring
members of Congress that a "small cabal" of pro-Israeli American Jews was
not orchestrating President George W. Bush's drive toward war.

"The strategy with respect to Iraq has derived from our interest in the
region and our support of U.N. resolutions over time," Powell said, in
response to a question from the subcommittee's Republican chairman, Arizona
Rep. Jim Kolbe.

"It is not driven by any small cabal that is buried away somewhere, that is
telling President Bush or me or Vice President Cheney or [National Security
Adviser Condoleeza] Rice or other members of the administration what our
policies should be."[8]

In fact, there is a cabal that has been driving U.S. foreign policy under
the Bush administration, and some of its members; notably, Elliot Abrams and
Michael Ledeeen, were part of the last cabal that operated in Washington
under the Reagan administration, the one that brought us the Iran-Contra
scandal. This one, however, is not nearly as secretive. Ironically, Powell
has been and remains one of its favorite targets, and his frequent public
humiliations at the cabal's hands have led seasoned observers to wonder why
he hasn't resigned.

On this occasion, as he had on others, Powell played the loyal soldier,
joining in what Ha'aretz's Nathan Guttman described as the Bush
Administration's "Every effort to play down Israel's role in the future
military conflict. to remove any suspicion that the decision to go to war
with Iraq is a pro-Israeli. step. But, as hard as the administration tries,"
he wrote, "the voices linking Israel to the war are getting louder and
louder. It is claimed the desire to help Israel is the major reason for
President George Bush sending American soldiers to a superfluous war in the
Gulf." [9]

The loudest among them may have been the free-swinging, old-line
"conservative," Pat Buchanan, who charged, "That a cabal of polemicists and
public officials seek, to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are
not in America's interests. What these neo-conservatives seek is to
conscript American blood to make the world safe for Israel," Buchanan wrote
in the March 24 issue of the magazine he edits, the American Conservative.
Because of his history of advocating right-wing causes, his comments were
largely ignored by the forces mobilizing against the war.

Another of those voices was syndicated columnist's Robert Novak, who several
months earlier had written that "In private conversation with. members of
Congress, the former general [Sharon] leaves no doubt that the greatest U.S.
assistance to Israel would be to overthrow Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime.
That view is widely shared inside the Bush administration, and is a major
reason why U.S. forces today are assembling for war."[10]

Support for a U.S. attack on Iraq was not limited to Sharon or his Likud
Party: in a September 12 dialogue with Rabbi William Berkowitz at the Center
for Jewish History, former Israeli Labor prime minister and then foreign
minister Shimon Peres was asked what he thought of the administration's
response to Iraq. Peres, likening the situation to the next world war,
replied:

Why speak about an attack when you are defending freedom as you did in World
War I, World War II and now in [World War] III? . I don't think this is a
campaign against Iraq, neither their people nor the land, but against a
terrible killer, a dictator who already initiated two aggressive wars - one
against Muslim Iran for seven years at a cost of 1 million [lives] and
against an Arab Kuwait. Who saved Kuwait? The Arab League? You gave Japan an
improved Japan, and you gave Germany a better Germany and the Marshall Plan.
I believe the strength of freedom is equal to the strength of the United
States. I don't see anybody doing the job.[.] So I justify the American
position fully. The president speaks loud and clear.[11]

One may speculate whether Powell would have raised the issue had he not been
asked, but apparently he felt the need to clear the air following an uproar
that occurred ten days earlier when Virginia Democratic Congressman Jim
Moran claimed that: "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish
community for this war with Iraq, we wouldn't be doing this."[12]

As could be expected, his comment was condemned by the White House and
congressional Democratic leaders, including Senate Minority leader Tom
Daschle and Democratic House Whip Nancy Pelosi, two long-time loyal devotees
of the Israeli cause. Six local rabbis and Washington Post columnist Marc
Fisher called on him to resign, with the latter comparing the congressman's
remarks to a speech Adolf Hitler delivered to the German parliament in 1939,
accusing "Jewish financiers" of plunging Europe into a world war.[13]

"Moran is symptomatic of a problem that we have been watching for several
weeks and months," lamented Abraham Foxman, national director of the
Anti-Defamation League (ADL), "and that is that the charge that the Jews are
instigators and advocators of military action has moved from the extreme
into the mainstream," This shift, he added, is emboldening people such as
Moran to "have the chutzpah to say such things."

"It's out there and therefore we are concerned," Foxman said. "If, God
forbid, the war is not successful and the body bags come back, who's to
blame?"[14]

Fueling such anxieties, the Jewish weekly Forward noted, was "the increasing
media focus on the White House's concern with protecting Israel and the
views of Jewish hawks within theadministration."[15]

While the mainstream press condemned Moran's remarks, columnist Michael
Kinsley[16] pointed out that "The thunderous rush of politicians of all
stripes to denounce Moran's remarks as complete nonsense might suggest to
the suspicious mind that they are not complete nonsense," and that Jewish
organizations were being hypocritical since they were posting comments on
their own web sites lauding the Israel lobby's ability to get things done.
Wrote Kinsley:


.Moran is not the only one publicly exaggerating the power and influence of
the Zionist lobby these days. It is my sad duty to report that this form of
anti-Semitism seems to have infected one of the most prominent and respected
- one might even say influential - organizations in Washington. This
organization claims that "America's pro-Israel lobby" - and we all know what
"pro-Israel" is a euphemism for - has tentacles at every level of government
and society.

On its web site, this organization paints a lurid picture of Zionists
spreading their party line and even indoctrinating children. And yes, this
organization claims that the influence of the Zionist lobby is essential to
explaining the pro-Israel tilt of U.S. policy in the Middle East. It asserts
that the top item on the Zionist "agenda" is curbing the power of Saddam
Hussein. (emphasis added) The Web site also contains a shocking collection
of Moran-type remarks from leading American politicians.[17]


The site he was referring to is that of AIPAC, the American-Israel Public
Affairs Committee, Israel's official Washington lobbying arm, which, in
testament to its power, is generally referred to in the halls of Congress
simply as "the lobby."

>From a one-man office when it was founded 50 years ago, AIPAC has grown into
an organization of 85,000 members, with activists in every Jewish community
in the United States. Each Spring it holds a national three-day conference
in Washington. "It's climatic Congressional Dinner attracts hundreds of
congress members and dozens of foreign ambassadors," writes Forward editor
J.J. Goldberg, "all of them eager to curry good will with AIPAC and the
Jewish community. Lest the point be lost, the dinner chairperson always
reads a 'roll call' naming every senator, every representative, and
ambassador present in the hall. followed by private receptions by lawmakers
courting Jewish campaign support."[18] The organization does not contribute
money to candidates directly but advises numerous Jewish PACs and wealthy
Jewish donors as to the campaigns where their money might be the most useful
to Israel.

AIPAC holds similar conferences, but on a smaller scale, around the country
in the winter, with local officials from the respective regions being
honored as invited guests.

It so happened that AIPAC's annual conference last year followed the Iraq
invasion by a week. Since "AIPAC is wont to support whatever is good for
Israel, and so long as Israel supports the war," wrote Ha'aretz's Guttmann,
"so too do the thousands of the AIPAC lobbyists who convened in the American
capital."[19]

The Washington Post's Dana Milbank did not go quite that far, but noted that
the meeting put a spotlight on the Bush administration's "delicate dance
with Israel and the Jewish state's friends over the attack on Iraq." While,
"officially," he wrote, AIPAC had no position on the merits of a war against
Iraq before it started, as delegates were heading to town the group put a
headline on its web site proclaiming: "Israeli Weapons Utilized By Coalition
Forces Against Iraq." The item featured a photograph of a drone with the
caption saying the "Israeli-made Hunter Unmanned Aerial Vehicle" is being
used "by U.S. soldiers in Iraq."[20]

A parade of Israeli as well as top Bush administration officials - Powell,
national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, political director Kenneth
Mehlman, Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton, one of the rare non-Jewish
neo-cons, and Assistant Secretary of State William Burns - appeared before
the AIPAC audience. The meeting - attended by about 5,000 people, according
to Milbank, including half the Senate and a third of the House - was
reportedly planned long before it became clear it would coincide with
hostilities in Iraq. "This is not about Iraq," AIPAC spokesman Josh Block
insisted. "This is about going to Congress and lobbying for the Israeli aid
package."[21]

House Whip Pelosi, who had reversed her early tepid opposition to the war
and was now on the bandwagon, made a point of condemning anyone who sought
"to place responsibility for this conflict on the American-Jewish
community." In her speech to AIPAC, she expressed America's "unshakable
bond" with Israel in a variety of ways at least a dozen times. Echoing the
neocon agenda, she condemned "Syria's and Iran's bankrolling of terror and
the development of weapons of mass destruction," which she declared to be "a
clear and present danger."[22]

{SNIP}

Senator Charles Mathias, (R-MD) acknowledged that, due to lobbying pressure,
"Seventy-six of us promptly affixed our signatures although no hearings had
been held, no debate conducted, nor had the administration been invited to
present its views. Mathias added that "as a result of the activities of the
[Israel] lobby, congressional conviction has been measurably reinforced by
the knowledge that political sanctions will be applied by any who fail to
deliver."[49]

Despite their victory in this situation, certain Jewish supporters of Israel
in Washington were determined that such a potential crisis in U.S.-Israel
relations would not to be allowed to happen again. Enter Perle and JINSA,
the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

As a staffer for Democratic Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson in 1972, Perle had
been working with others in Washington to draft a law linking U.S.-Soviet
trade relations to the right of Jews to emigrate from the Soviet Union.[50]

Much to the displeasure of President Nixon and Secretary of State
Kissinger[51], who saw the resulting Jackson-Vanik amendment as interference
in the president's ability to determine foreign policy, their effort would
ultimately prove successful. Now, in 1976, it appears that Perle had a
larger goal: to insure that the maintenance of the military power and
security of Israel would become an integral part of U.S. foreign policy.

JINSA's actual origins are as murky as the activities it carries out, but
the organization that Perle established together with Max Kampelman, "an
arms control negotiator whose old law firm is a U.S. agent for Israeli
government military interests,"[52] was the precursor of the more well-known
Project for a New American Century and the well from which has emerged the
collection of Jewish neo-cons and their fellow travelers, whose signatures
and thumb prints are all over America's current adventure in Iraq, as well
as its threats against Syria and Iran.

According to its web site, JINSA has a two-fold mandate:


1. To educate the American public about the importance of an effective
defense capability so that our vital interests as Americans can be
safeguarded and

2. To inform the American defense and foreign affairs community about the
important role Israel can and does play in bolstering democratic interests
in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.


Its activities in behalf of the first mandate it has done out of the
public's view. Other than the Wall Street Journal article in 1992, JINSA's
existence was virtually unknown even to the political left until an article
by Jason Vest appeared in the Nation in September, 2002.[53]

It is JINSA's second mandate that demands our attention. "Under a program
called 'Send a General to Israel,' hundreds of thousands of dollars of
tax-deductible contributions bankroll an annual tour of Israel by retired
U.S. generals and admirals."[54] Judging from a look at JINSA's board of
advisers, at least 25 of these ex-generals and retired admirals have
subsequently been recruited into the organization, as have executives from a
number of the major arms manufacturers. Consequently, it was no surprise
when a JINSA protÈgÈ, former General Jay Garner, was named the first U.S.
pro-consul in Iraq following the fall of the regime.

As Vest noted:


Almost every retired officer who sits on JINSA's board of advisers or has
participated in its Israel trips or signed a JINSA letter works or has
worked with military contractors who do business with the Pentagon and
Israel. While some keep a low profile as self-employed "consultants" and
avoid mention of their clients, others are less shy about their
associations.[55]


In other words, what JINSA represents can best be described as the
Military-Industrial-Israeli complex.

Sitting on its board, in addition, are such public figures as former UN
ambassador Jean Kirkpatrick, former CIA chief James Woolsey, former
Congressman Jack Kemp, Michael Ledeen, an un-indicted co-conspirator in the
Iran-Contra affair, and former Congressman Stephen Solarz, a very important
player whom we will look at later in the article, and, of course, Perle. Of
all those recruited into the ranks of JINSA, none would be prove to be more
important than Dick Cheney, the former congressman who served as Secretary
of Defense in the first Bush administration.

Looking towards the future, JINSA makes sure it is not just generals and
admirals who get the grand tour. It also provides a study program in Israel
for cadets and midshipmen from the Naval Academy, West Point and the Air
Force Academy, from whose ranks will come the next generation of generals
and admirals.

It should be noted that both of these programs are in keeping with the
practice of Jewish organizations and federations across the country that
routinely send public officials, such as mayors, supervisors, city
councilors, police chiefs, etc. - the pool from which future members of
Congress are likely to arise - on all-expense paid trips to Israel, thereby
virtually assuring their support for the Jewish state in the future. No base
is left uncovered.

JINSA has been "industrious and persistent," writes Vest, and has "managed
to weave a number of issues - support for national missile defense,
opposition to arms control treaties, championing of wasteful weapons
systems, arms aid to Turkey and American unilateralism in general - into a
hard line, with support for the Israeli right at its core."

On no issue, he points out, is the organization's "hard line more evident
than in its relentless campaign for war - not just with Iraq, but 'total
war,' as Ledeen, one of the most influential JINSAns in Washington, put it
[in 2001]. For this crew, 'regime change' by any means necessary, in Iraq,
Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority, is an urgent
imperative."[56]

Interviewed for David Horowitz's Front Page web site at the year's end
Ledeen's message had not changed.

When asked about the Israel-Palestine conflict, Ledeen disingenuously
replied:


"I don't follow it, as you know," then added that "I don't think it is
possible for anyone to do anything meaningful about it until we have
defeated the terror masters in Tehran, Damascus and Riyadh, because the
terrorism against Israel gets a lot of support from those evil people. In
other words, you can't solve it in situ, it's part of a regional war. Maybe,
once we have liberated the Middle East and the peoples have a chance to make
their own decisions, it will be easier.[57]
{SNIP}

For Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, PNAC assembled a book, edited by
Kristol and Kagan, which seems to have been adopted as the agenda for the
Bush administration. It as entitled Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity
in American Foreign and Defense Policy, and among its contributors, were the
now familiar names of Perle, Wolfowitz, and Abrams.[79]

In his chapter on the Middle East, Abrams laid out the "peace through
strength" concept and argued that U.S. military strength and its willingness
to sue it will remain "a key factor in our ability to promote peace." He
called for a pre-emptive toppling of Saddam, as did other contributors.

"Strengthening our major ally in the region, Israel, should be the base of
U.S. Middle East policy," wrote Abrams, "and we should not permit the
establishment of a Palestinian state that does not explicitly uphold U.S.
policy in the region." {SNIP}



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