Pro-Israel Think Tanks: Send In the Clowns

By William A. Cook

Clowns befuddle a crowd. They appear a pretense of the normal but caricatured to evoke laughter, surprise, at times derision, but always in context where they absorb self-deprecation, become the butt of jokes, become the audiences’ self, a make believe self, receiving the jibes, jests and buffoonery never allowed when alone. Thus do they become vessels of deep seated self- ridicule, inhibited expression, personal inadequacy, a self-conscious parody of the normal.  They are used images, commodities to be bought and sold for the purchaser’s benefit, set amidst their fellows as manikins to be pinched and probed, facsimiles of all, but receivers of ridicule to protect their brethren.

Such is the figure of Patrick Clawson, Director of Research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, as he appeared before his fellows, his scholarly brethren seated silently in respectful adulation at WINEP’s self-proclaimed international conference on near East policy. He appeared as all clowns appear from the side curtains, an Ichabod figure from Irving’s legend’s, lanky, thin, staccato stepping toward the podium, a believer in mystical gods, historical covenants, justifications of actions found encrypted in the yellow stained pages of ancient scrolls, called upon to deliver his sacred yet startling message to his colleagues.

They after all exist as aborted children of the State of Israel, a direct issue of AIPAC, a think-tank of intellectuals created for the sole purpose of extolling the State of Israel while condemning all who would question Israel’s policies or people. They are guardians of G-d’s chosen, paid exorbitant salaries to praise and justify Israel’s actions, a bastion of constant comment to blunt the cries of the world’s communities to bring Israel to justice. They labor hard and long to cloak their owners’ illicit behaviors, their illegal wars, their deception and deceit that it may continue with impunity. They like the clowns garb themselves in costumes to hide their true purpose; they create icons that mask their true intent, lease a suite of offices in prestige towers in the heart of Washington, ride in chauffeur driven limousines, dress in Italian styled pin striped suits, sit at mahogany desks behind sophisticated computers, and rest comfortably in cushioned chairs as the atmosphere is regulated to apt comfort levels. All this splendor belies their reality as the raucous romp of the clowns beneath the big top, surrounded by balloons and cotton candy and parade music, belies their function to become the receptacle of their audiences’ anxiety and frustrations.

Watch Clown Clawson amble to the podium, nonchalantly glancing to his presumed peers who sit at either side of the podium awaiting his intervention and words of wisdom as they face a crisis of apparent calamity, how to force the United States to attack Iran. Obama’s intransigence against an attack, while Netanyahu’s absolute determination to attack necessitates a swift mental solution, a strategy heretofore not considered, one for the unencumbered mental concentration of their Clown. “Send in the Clown” that he may perform before all the fools that incestuously congregate at the Washington Institute for Near Eastern Policy.

As he gathers his wits mumbling at the podium, he notes the dilemma that confronts these masterminds of strategic planning, a stalled action plan against the Iranian people. How to solve it? Clawson acts like the trickster of Native myths, the buffoon brought forth to unveil the truth behind the intellectual drivel that poured from the scholars as they pontificated on the existential threat to Israel of the impending existence of an Iranian atomic bomb, of the unfortunate limits to an Israeli unilateral response and the consequent need for the United States to step into the breach, an act, indeed, of moral significance.

Send in the clown to unmask the hidden agenda that lurked beneath the recorded time of this conference, the unstated purpose of holding forth in discourse for the public’s benefit that the occupant of the White House might hear what his next step on behalf of the American people must be. After all, these intellectual presentations become tomorrow’s news and their presenter tomorrow’s expert guest on countless talk shows that all Americans might understand that they too are under existential threat, that their fear level should be rising to red, that there is no solution but the one afforded by these brilliant minds.

Send in the Clown to utter in fool fashion the obvious, “be nasty,” “after all people, we’re in the game,” it’s time to jump start the war with Iran with a little imagination, follow the examples of prior American Presidents, let Pearl Harbor happen, fix a Gulf of Tonkin attack, do something, anything to “force” an American reaction in support of Israel, and since we know the current President is not disposed to such actions, we need to take matters into our own hands, “after all people, we are in the game,” we are already undertaking clandestine action in Iran, and we do this even though we are not appointed to be representing Americans, even though we do not engage ourselves in real action, no boots for us on the ground, just type away at our computers, comfortable with our Starbucks, a lunch with cocktail, and an opera in the evening, “after all people, we are in the game” and if we don’t make it happen it won’t, and think how grateful the American people will be as they shoulder once more their responsibility to make the world safe for democracy, shield their only friend in the mid-east, and kill and slaughter yet another people that did nothing to them on behalf of Israel. Send in the Clown!

How cute the Clown who raises his eyebrows as his head bobs forward to utter yet again “after all people, we are in the game,” and his shoulders rise jerkily in step with his image of the submarine that just might not rise from the oceans depths, it happens and “who would know why?” And that sophisticated audience, scholars all, titter and clap at the clever solution offered by their clown. So simple, so clever, so monstrous– the diabolicalness is masked in the jovial mannerisms of the Clown.

As he retreats from the podium, the viewer awakes to the inhumanity of this figure, this Scholar, Researcher, this Clown. Perhaps it is his lack of experience, his absenteeism from the battlefield, his life played out in college, in fraternities, in business classes that teach the value of loyalty to the company, in churches that teach devotion to a faith and the comfort it brings in knowing one is on the right side of g-d, even in economics where his expertise would recognize the necessity of success in the form of wealth and the means to acquire it, that without it there is no “standard of living” like that provided in the US, that one’s goal in life is self, self-gratification, self-determination with your peers, self-aggrandizement, an objectivism that drives roughshod over any and all who get in your way—the American way of life that expunges from his mind what is “nasty” and excludes from concern the lives of any not part of one’s personal club, indeed, it is his job not to worry about those kinds of people. “After all people, we are in the game.”

But what of the sailors on that submarine that disappeared, who left port believing their nation was not at war, but who become, at the ravings of a Clown, victims of faceless men who have determined that they must be sacrificed to jump start their war while innocent men and women are blamed for it, the virtues of impunity that attend “false flag” operations.  Here lie the vanquished beneath the never changing sea, lost in the darkness of its depths and the absolute darkness of this soulless Clown who joked his brilliance before his peers oblivious to the consequences of his jollity.  No thought here of the sailor’s mother or father, no thought here of the children of this man or of his future snuffed out because this idiot vomited out of his mouth the way to move forward with his agenda and that of his peers, “after all people, we are in the game.”

But the consequences are far greater than the lost sailors in our Clown’s descriptive false flag; “after all people,” this act will propel the world into a catastrophic war, and we will “not be in a game.” Put this in context; here’s the Clown, an appointed researcher for an exclusive think tank the purpose of which is to push the Israeli agenda in the United States at all costs. These un-appointed individuals draw up strategic plans for the US government, maneuver them into strategic places in the Pentagon, the Congress, the State Department, and into the Executive Branch in order to bring them to action. This action is to force the US to go to war on behalf of Israel. That the people of the US do not favor such a war, that hundreds and thousands of their soldiers, the sons and daughters, the fathers and mothers of American families will be the fodder for WINEP’s war is irrelevant to them since they work for Israel and for AIPAC. The end purpose alone counts—their end purpose. That is what Patrick Clawson told us in that released video, a video I suspect WINEP wishes never saw the light of day. The absolute arrogance of his presentation, the total commitment he uttered in his remarks tell of a man incapable of human sympathy, oblivious to international law, uncaring, bestial.

How does one contend with such affectation, such pedantry, such charlatanism posing as enlightened man? How brutally ugly is this suggestion to recommend slaughter of those who have done nothing illegal, nothing personal to you or your family, who are to be but pawns in the hands of ruthless men, men who hide themselves in the garb of others forcing blame on the  innocent while gaining impunity from dastardly crimes. How lacking in human sympathy the acts designed by a nation willing and capable of carrying out such uncivilized acts while it touts in advertisements across this nation, “In a war of civilized men against savages, support the civilized men, support Israel.” How ironic that the clowns have become the savages beneath their huge floppy feet, their bulging bellies, their bulbous red noses, their rabbit like protruding eyes, and their flopping ears, proclaiming to the world, this is what we really believe, deceive all, destroy all, for the sake of Israel. “After all people, we are in the game.”

– William A. Cook is a Professor of English at the University of La Verne in southern California. His most recent book is Decade of Deceit, 2002-2012: Reflections on Palestine, published in June by Lambert Academic Publishing of Germany. His other works include Tracking Deception: Bush Mid-East Policy, The Rape of Palestine, and The Plight of the Palestinians all dealing with the crisis in Israel/Palestine. He contributed this article to Contact him at: or through his web site:

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