By Mikail Jubran
A concerted united front of mainstream American pro-Zionist, Jewish and pro-Israeli organizations has begun to assert itself in an all-out campaign to “sabotage” any and all Palestinian efforts to declare a state this fall. Many of these organizations, who in the past literally held contempt for each other, have set aside their animosities to band together to facilitate a series of objectives that include hijacking the U.S. media, effecting a concerted social media campaign, dispatching individuals to speak to various local chapters of Jewish councils, applying pressure upon members of the U.S. Congress, and lobbying the United Nations Secretary–General, and UN diplomats.
This broad coalition includes AIPAC, B’nai B’rith, American Jewish Committee (AJC), New Israel Fund, The Israel Project, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), national and local chapters of the Jewish Federation, Hillel Jewish Student Organization, CAMERA and the ADL. These groups are coordinating all their efforts to derail the Palestinian Authority and its campaign for statehood. They work hand in hand with special interest groups in Israel and are receiving advice and direction from a special department located inside Israel’s embassy in Washington, DC.
The broad alliance of Jewish organizations covers a wide territory in the U.S. and is working in conjunction with several hard core pro-Israeli U.S. legislators from both the Democratic and Republican parties. In the coming days these groups intend to work feverishly to promote Benjamin Netanyahu’s upcoming U.S. visit and work to attack U.S. government attitudes towards Israel and shift American public opinion more solidly to an Israeli stance.
This all really sounds so familiar to some of us who are aware of the extreme pressures the Zionists applied upon the U.S. administration before and after the United Nation’s vote on partition of Palestine. It all began during the last two years of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt’s term just prior to his death, a time when the American public eagerly embraced Zionist propaganda that appeared in major U.S. newspapers. A campaign that was so ingenious – directly appealing to American sentiments. At this early stage even before the existence of the Jewish state, Jewish access to the White House and U.S. State Department was remarkable thanks to individuals like Chief Presidential Counsel Clark Clifford, and his Zionist associates Rabbis Stephen Wise and Hillel Silver. These individuals ensured that the nascent Israeli lobby and the Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann would have unique access to FDR and use it to remind him of the domestic political arithmetic (the Jewish vote) that could directly affect the presidential elections. FDR knew that Weizmann certainly meant business.
Upon Vice-President Harry Truman’s succession to the Presidency following FDR’s death, the Zionists were directly poised to elevate their pressure upon the U.S. presidency. They implored Truman to openly challenge Britain’s Palestine policies. He gladly did, and moved to undermine England’s tenuous control of the British Mandate. Truman was really worried that any support toward the Arabs would cost him Jewish votes in the 1948 election, thus confirming the fact that U.S. Palestine policy was directly swayed by purely domestic considerations. His relentless support for Zionist aims in Palestine split Truman’s cabinet and divided his State Department, pitting Loy Henderson, the State Department’s resident Middle East expert – who viewed Israel as poison to U.S. interests – against his boss the President.
Truman was protected by an inner circle of devout Zionists in the White House notably Chief WH Counsel Clifford, and other prominent Jewish insiders like David Niles and Max Lowenthal, who served as liaison to the Zionist Organization’s Washington, DC office. Influential Jewish allies Abraham Feinberg and Eddie Jacobson strengthened this triumvirate and used their influence to pressure the State Department. President Truman’s Secretary of State George Marshall, however, deplored the squalid political efforts of this Zionist curtain and openly broke with Truman, denouncing U.S. support for a Zionist state in Palestine as a dangerous misguided policy. Others like U.S. Secretary of Defense James Forrestal echoed Marshal’s sentiments. However, Truman would have nothing of this indifference and ratcheted his support for a Jewish state and its Zionist support network. When the issue of the partition of Palestine was placed into the hands of the United Nations General Assembly, Jewish Congressional leaders moved to exert all available pressure upon Truman who in turn orchestrated an overt campaign of coercion directed against U.N. member states to vote for the U.N. partition resolution. His tactics were successful. As Marshal went on to state, “the great dignity of the office of the U.S. President was seriously diminished when Truman subordinated an international problem to a transparent dodge to win a few votes.”
It was soon after that the state of Israel was born in violence.
Truman’s unilateral actions lead to a swarm of international criticism, especially from United Nation’s and European diplomats, some of who thought that Israelis should be treated as a sick people. The British ambassador to the U.S. at the time remarked about the Israelis: “Scarred by 2,500 years of Jewish history, they were psychologically unstable and not capable of a mature foreign policy.” The Israelis did not always “coolly reckon the odds” and were capable of a “suicidal policy.”
The rest, we know, is history.
Fast forward sixty-three years and we see that the aforementioned scenario enters into play once again.
The recently forged American-Zionist alliance now has access to sizeable financial resources, and is receiving, leadership, direction and advice from the notorious Israeli lobby group AIPAC, as well as support from right-wing extremist and settler groups within Israel and its West Bank Settlements. The crux of their platform is to undermine what they claim are Palestinian attempts to “delegitimize” the Jewish state, and pull all the stops necessary to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state alongside Israel. Its leadership arrogantly advocates the entrenchment and expansion of Israel’s settlements in the Palestinian territories, annexation of Palestinian lands, and the application of further stringent controls over the local Palestinian population, as well as commercial and economic restrictions – creating more facts on the ground!
The recent appearance of several retired IDF Generals, Israeli intelligence officials, and prominent American-Israeli officials, notably Dore Gold in front of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee has buoyed the activities of this broad front. Certain members of the U.S. Congress like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Howard Berman, Gary Ackerman, Nita Lowy, Charles Schumer, and David Cantor, to name a few, are aggressively involved in the efforts of this pro-Israeli Jewish alliance. These individuals are hardline supporters of Israel and maintain staff and legislative assistants who have been indoctrinated and trained by AIPAC workshops, and orientation sessions, as well as receiving various other assistance from local pro-Israeli organizations.
To complement the efforts of this Jewish-Israeli alliance, members of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government and inner circle are aggressively involved in the formation of a well seeded public relations campaign. This concerted effort is utilizing all available public social media access, speaker’s forums, and live appearances at international conferences, local Jewish councils in the U.S., and other media outlets. Media and tech savvy individuals have been recruited within Israel to monitor all Internet coverage of Palestinian statehood efforts and related actions and immediately respond to any anti-Israel or pro-Palestinian state commentary, articles and statements.
This uniquely organized national effort appears to be greater than the level of activity that the Zionists employed to pressure the international community, especially the U.S., to vote for the U.N. Partition Plan of November 1947 and which brought about the establishment of the State of Israel. It also appears that Michael Oren, Israel’s scholarly American born and self-professed historical revisionist Ambassador to the U.S. is coordinating much of this effort.
In the past few weeks, Oren penned a massive piece in the U.S. periodical Foreign Policy, a prestigious magazine that provides deep analysis and commentary on International affairs. In this vanity infested narrative, Oren stated that Israel is America’s “ultimate ally”. In his distorted view of history Oren also claims, “Americans have been Zionists ever since the founding of the U.S.” “Israel and the U.S. share ‘identical democratic values’ and therefore share a ‘special relationship’.” Yet he avoids saying anything about the fundamental differences between the U.S. and Israel – the U.S. being a liberal democracy as opposed to Israel’s religious theocracy with a multi-party system that makes a farce of democratic values in which only Jews are granted full civil and political rights.
This passionate attachment between Israel and the U.S. has served to distort American domestic politics and allowed Israel to interfere with U.S. foreign policy through direct pressure on the U.S. Congress. Assisting Israel in this policy is an extensive network of ‘sayanim’ (volunteers) of Jewish-Americans who provide services that benefit Israel’s political and espionage activity within the U.S. and around the world. This vast network is tantamount to an Israeli “fifth column” in America – clandestinely working to undermine U.S. policy from within, assisting an outside power – in this case Israel – and promote its agenda.
The Palestinian diplomatic offensive is being challenged – both internationally and in the U.S. – by this systematic and close knit front of pro-Israeli groupings. These groups have also shown that they have the power to prevent individuals hostile to Israel from obtaining positions within the U.S. government; can silence, defame or marginalize anyone who questions U.S. support for Israel or criticizes the policies of the Israeli government; and viciously works to promote, instill and manipulate pro-Israeli discourse in America.
American politicians continue their craven subservience to Israel’s lobby. In the U.S., the Palestinian diplomatic campaign for statehood will be sorely affected if Palestinian Authority and PLO representatives in Washington, DC are not pro-active in their efforts to counter Israel’s and its Jewish allies’ blitz to shoot down Palestinian moves to declare statehood. Israel’s Zionist friends in the U.S. just might be able to stymie Palestinian ambitions by harping upon Israel’s external threats. These circumstances make it imperative for all Arab and Palestinian groups in America to coordinate together and learn from their Zionist counterparts. They must act decisively to expose the corrupting process of Zionist organizations in their various Jewish and even Christian manifestations.
Furthermore, Palestinian representatives in the U.S. appear hampered by their inability to directly counter Zionist and Israeli lobby pressure upon members of the U.S. Congress with a parallel strategy of their own. In the past few weeks alone, pro-Israeli organizations have succeeded in pushing certain members of Congress to demand the revocation of the Goldstone Report, and have now called upon President Obama to cut off all financial aid to the PA as a result of the PA-Hamas reconciliation accord, and to refuse any further negotiations with the PA if Hamas is part of any Palestinian government.
It seems that many members of the U.S. Congress cannot figure out who their real constituents are – Americans or Israelis. But how can they when these same pro-Zionist members of Congress keep proposing (and voting) billions of foreign aid for Israel, support the funding of illegal Israeli settlements, and provide political cover for Jewish-Americans accused of spying for Israel, as Congresswoman Jane Harman of California had obviously done when she directly interceded on the behalf of two AIPAC employees indicted for illegally obtaining U.S. military secrets when she lobbied to get their charges dropped. At the same time, these same members of the U.S. Congress continue to be recipients of massive amounts of money from pro-Israeli groups – notably David Cantor of Virginia, who boldly stated that the Republican majority will “serve as a check on the administration’s Middle East policy” – to ensure a strong unequivocal pro-Israeli stance.
Make no mistake, as Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu makes the rounds of European capitals, the heat is really on Israel. The impending PA-Hamas unity agreement has definitely upped the ante for Israel, instilling more urgency onto the Middle East political landscape. Let us not forget that it was Netanyahu who coined the term “international terrorism” – of which he now applies to Hamas specifically, but with an Islamic veneer. With Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress just less than two weeks away, Israel’s embassy in Washington has teamed with AIPAC to ensure that their prime minister’s speech will resonate with the passionate theme of the impending dangers to Israel and comprise more words of hyped external threats.
While in the U.S., Netanyahu will take the lead of the newly formed Zionist alliance to spearhead a media blitz to bash the U.N’s plan to admit a Palestinian state, undermine its recognition by the international community, harp on the dangers of the PA-Hamas unification government, and drill the Obama administration for unqualified support. His real intention may be to undermine, with AIPAC’s connivance, a new American initiative, rumored to be forthcoming from the Obama administration. Netanyahu’s actions will lend credence to the sentiments of Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion who always reminded the Americans that “Israel’s future depends not on what the goyim say, but on what the Jews can do.”
Intense anxiety stalks members of the U.S. Congress as Netanyahu’s visit approaches. They do not want to lose favor with Israel, and it is a given that Israel’s Prime Minister will rub in their faces the fact that Israel has always called them to task. The invitation for Netanyahu to address the U.S. Congress is seen as a power play by Bibi in an attempt to corner the White House into backing Israel’s moves to negate a Palestinian unilateral declaration of statehood in September. Nonetheless, while the Israeli and American governments are making moves behind the scenes, both are trying to discover the other’s ideas without divulging their own. There appears however, little to discover at this juncture.
Furthermore, these same members of Congress are repeating the same mistakes their predecessors made over the past six decades – tying their political fate to the coat-tails of a foreign government – that of Israel. American commentators and U. S. politicians continue, as the Middle East political analyst Rami Khouri noted, “Dealing with the Palestinians out of American domestic political fears of pro-Israeli zealots in Washington who will end the careers of American politicians who stray far from the prevalent Zionist worldview.”
If it is Netanyahu’s intention to battle wits with the U.S. President, then it will boil down to political gamesmanship. However, many enlightened Americans do feel that Netanyahu is meandering on the fringe of irresponsibility and surrealism – that he has no direction, and therefore is lost. His address to Congress may be just another attempt to resurrect his tenuous base, but it will definitely demonstrate that U.S. lawmakers do stand solely with Israel and that the U.S. Congress will prioritize Israel’s security needs even if it undermines peace with the Palestinians.
With the newly formed alliance of pro-Israel groupings coalesced around their pivotal leader and feverishly working on all angles to derail the Palestinian diplomatic offensive, it is about time that the Palestinians shake off their slumber and match wits – and deeds – with Israel’s Jewish and Zionist allies in America.
For the Palestinians that time has arrived – to act effectively and repel their Zionist detractors.
It’s now – or never.
– Mikail Jubran is Palestinian pro-reformist advocate and a specialist on Palestinian political affairs in Ramallah, Palestine. He served as the Director of Communications with the Palestine Liberation Organization’s mission in Washington, DC from 1988-1993, and divides his residence between Ramallah and Washington where he is a consultant in matters of Diplomatic and Consular Law and an advocate of Palestinian national and political issues. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.