• Congress too scared to address 1,000-lb. gorilla in the room
By Victor Thorn
During the January 31 confirmation hearing for defense secretary, former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) was asked by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): “Name one person in your opinion who’s intimidated by the Israeli lobby in the U.S. Senate?” Hagel should have retorted: “Senator Graham, I think you are. Why else would you be asking me this question?” Instead, Hagel stuttered that he could not think of anyone at the time. A leading Washington watchdog group, which has tracked this issue for years, has compiled this information, though, and it shows that powerful special interest groups for Israel have for decades been buying both Republicans and Democrats with billions of dollars in order to shape United States foreign policy.
According to a January 14 report by the Center for Responsive Politics, a group that examines political contributions from pro-Israeli groups to U.S. congressional members, from 2006-2012 the top three recipients in both the Senate—Mark Kirk, John McCain and Mitch McConnell—and the House—Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Eric Cantor and John Boehner—were all Republicans.
On the surface, this information isn’t surprising, as conventional wisdom often links Israeli money to GOP neocons. What does raise eyebrows, however, is that of the top 20 recipients of Israelimoney on both sides of Congress, 85% of those in the Senate and 75% of those in the House are Democrats.
These contributions buy a great deal of influence. One of the primary forces behind Barack Obama’s Iranian economic sanctions was Representative Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who assured Netanyahu in 2010 that the GOP-controlled House would “serve as a check on the administration.” In response, Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraph Agency wrote on November 11, 2010, “I can’t remember an opposition leader telling a foreign leader, in a personal meeting, that he would side, as a policy, with that leader against the president.”
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) betrayed his own party during the Bush era by championing an arch-neocon as U.S. ambassador to the UN. Acting as the mouthpiece for a foreign power rather than looking out for his own country’s best interests, Schumer spouted, “A vote against John Bolton is a vote against Israel.”
It’s abundantly clear why Paul Craig Roberts demanded that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) should be registered as the agent of a foreign government. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) proclaimed at the 2012 AIPAC conference, “Israel’s security is not negotiable,” while advocating an attack on Iran.
Another Israeli puppet can be found in Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who sits on the influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Boxer has long done Israel’s bidding by securing for them military and economic aid, not to mention proposing sanctions against Iran and Syria while pushing for gifts of new high-tech military equipment for Israel.
Two final examples demonstrate how absurd this has all become. Why would Representative Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)—the highest sole recipient of pro-Israeli money—vehemently oppose any suggestion that Israel return to its 1967 borders? And why would Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.), vote to have the U.S. oppose Palestinian statehood in the UN? The answer? In the past two decades, each has received over $1.6 million from pro-Israeli groups, the most in both houses.
GOP Neocons Struggle to Retain Control
To see the face of puppets dangling from strings controlled by the Israeli lobby, one needs look no further than Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Over the past six years, McCain has received $772,327 from pro-Israeli groups, the second most of any U.S. Senator. He’s also been at the forefront of crushing any congressional investigation into Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty, namely because his father spearheaded the cover-up in 1967.
McCain and Graham garnered scores of negative coverage following Senator Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) 13-hour filibuster of Barack Obama’s secretive drone policy directed against U.S. citizens. For the first time in recent memory, disparate groups such as the ACLU, CODE PINK, liberal comedian Jon Stewart, tea party members, Obama’s former green czar Van Jones and New York Times’ columnist Frank Rich all rallied together around a common goal. They protested a desperate grab at unlimited power by the executive branch to kill American citizens without any type of due process.
Yet, even though Obama’s imperial presidency pushes Congress closer to irrelevancy, McCain called Paul’s filibuster “absurd” and “wacko.” Similarly, Graham referred to Paul’s constitutional efforts as “ridiculous.” To illustrate how far to the extreme fringe these dinosaur neocons are, on March 6, libertarian-minded Judge Andrew Napolitano said, “Barack Obama’s drone policy makes Dick Cheney look like Mahatmas Gandhi.”
Graham has unabashedly made a career of slavish devotion to Israel. At the 2010 AIPAC conference he proclaimed to roaring applause that any U.S. attack on Iran must be so full-scale that none of their planes could ever again fly or any of their ships sail.
Like McCain, Graham envisions a Zionist empire wherein the U.S.—to protect Israeli interests—acts as the world’s policeman, wiping out any foe, real or perceived, that threatens the Middle Eastern country.
AIPAC Draws Groveling Pols
• Politicians from both sides of the aisle don’t miss opportunity to worship
When it came to finding the perfect featured speaker for AIPAC’s annual policy conference, organizers only had to be reminded of Vice President Joe Biden’s comment on March 28, 2007, wherein he proudly proclaimed, “I am a Zionist.”
During his March 4 speech, Biden confirmed: “President Obama shares my commitment to Israel,” before reiterating this sentiment in even stronger terms. “From the moment the president took office, he has acted swiftly and decisively to make clear to the whole world and to Israel that even as circumstances have changed, one thing has not: our deep commitment to the security of Israel.”
Biden then illustrated that his words weren’t mere rhetoric by describing how Obama has provided more money to Israel in military aid than any other previous administration, in addition to their investment in the Iron Dome and other high tech defense systems named Arrow and David’s Sling. After vowing that Iran will never obtain nuclear weapons, Biden promised that the Obama administration and Israel have a shared interest in removing Syria’s Pres. Assad from power.
Another Israeli lapdog at this year’s AIPAC conference arrived in Representative Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who ironically touched upon the popular conception of his people. “Before 1948,” he said, “we Jews often had difficulty defining ourselves publicly, and instead we were defined by stereotypes. The craven hook nose man counting money behind closed doors. Secretive. Untrustworthy. The caricatures were ugly, and unfortunately some still linger.”
The two other most notable AIPAC speakers were Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack and, via satellite, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Quite clearly, both men exhibited their fixation with Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
Rabid in his obsessions, Netanyahu none-too-subtly made his demands evident to the Obama administration: The United States must sacrifice its own best and brightest to fight Israel’s wars.
“Words alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions must be coupled with a clear and credible military threat if diplomacy and sanctions fail.”
Netanyahu continued, this time playing the so-called “holocaust” card for full effect.
“The Jewish people know the cost of being defenseless against those who would exterminate us,” he said. “We will never let that happen again.”
Without a doubt, the drumbeats for a military strike against Iran are beating louder than ever.
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and author of over 40 books.