Exceptionalism Rules in Tel Aviv and Washington

Philip Giraldi

So Israel is building 2,610 new housing units in East Jerusalem and in contiguous areas on the West Bank at a time when international sentiment against its unending occupation of Palestine is growing, particularly among Europeans if one goes by recent developments in Sweden, Britain and in Ireland. The administration of President Barack Obama is reported to be “deeply concerned” and even seriously annoyed by the latest Israeli thumb inserted squarely in the American eye, but has not taken any action to pressure Tel Aviv into reversing course.

Pardon me while I yawn. In the absence of any serious consequences coming from Washington Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will do whatever he wants in the firm belief that there is no one who can force him to do otherwise. Israel owns Congress and the mainstream media while its proliferating think tanks and promoters in a score of major Jewish organizations continue to spew out self-serving nonsense. So who is going to say nay?

Obama’s mistake lies ultimately in his apparent belief that Israel is somehow a nation guided by tangible interests much like any other, which is particularly ironic as he shares the same type of delusion as the Israeli leadership. Both he and Netanyahu somehow believe that their respective countries are not bound by any internationally accepted standards that determine how one should behave, Washington somehow having designated itself as “leader of the free world” while Tel Aviv defines itself as a chosen people living in a land granted by covenant from Yahweh himself.

Targeting Iran

Philip Giraldi

Gareth Porter’s New Book Tells All

I am going to explain why Gareth Porter’s new book Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare is possibly the most important expose of political corruption and government malfeasance to appear in the past ten years. Investigative reporter Porter’s meticulously documented account tells the tale of how the government lied again and again to make a fabricated from full cloth case, which he describes as a "false narrative," against Iran. While the tale was being spun, the US and Israeli governments both knew that the entire process was completely bogus and that Iran had no nuclear weapons program but they continued to engage in the deception in spite of the fact that it created a crisis where none existed and generated an international confrontation that could have easily been avoided.

Shockingly, Washington participated in the fraud in spite of there being no compelling national interest to do so and in the latter stages of the grand deception it colluded with Israel to disseminate false documents and blatantly misleading assessments made by Mossad, while also feeding inaccurate information and other fabricated intelligence to both US allies and the media.

It also aggressively pressured international bodies to force them to lend credibility to the lies in support of a US agenda that was both fraudulent and that made no sense then just as it makes no sense now. Along the way the United States ignored its obligations in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to which it is a signatory, a clear violation of Article Six of the Constitution, and eventually brought itself perilously close to an unnecessary war, a trap engineered by Israel and its powerful friends which it is currently trying to disengage from.

Money and Power Equal Access: Ordinary Citizens Need Not Apply

Philip Giraldi

I read in the newspaper last week now the US Chief Negotiator on the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Martin Indyk, met with a group of Jewish leaders to brief them on the "tightly held" details of what was being proposed by Secretary of State John Kerry. A few days before, New York’s new mayor Bill de Blasio, who had run for office pledging a new openness and transparency for the city government spoke privately at a dinner hosted by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The gathering was not on the mayor’s public schedule, received no advanced publicity, and was closed to outsiders. A journalist who succeeded in entering was forcibly removed from the premises. At the meeting de Blasio went way over the top even for a New York politician, saying that it is "part of [his] job description to be a defender of Israel" and that AIPAC "would always have a friend and ally at City Hall." He went on to assert that defending Israel is "elemental to being an American because there is no greater ally on earth."

How de Blasio, a lifelong progressive, squares his commitment to undying fealty to AIPAC with his undoubted knowledge that the group is possibly the most virulent advocate of war with Iran this side of the Israeli government itself might best be left to his conscience, if he has one. And if there was any doubt that there is something rotten in New York, the State Senate meanwhile passed a bill by a vote of 56 to 4 rejecting the use of state funds to support any institution that boycotts "certain countries or their higher education institutions." Senator Jeffrey Klein, the bill’s co-sponsor boasted that he would "not allow the enemies of Israel or the Jewish people to gain an inch in New York." The bill is directed against attempts to divest from or boycott Israeli institutions but it clearly in Klein’s view does not apply to those who are taking every possible step to cripple Iran prior to attacking it.

Putting a Christian Zionist in Charge

Philip Giraldi

Even though there were few good reasons to vote for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, the Republicans provided plenty of better reasons not to vote for their candidates, allowing Obama to benefit from the political vacuum. I was particularly concerned in both election cycles regarding the in-your-face religiosity of several of the GOP candidates. I assessed Sarah Palin as being basically a Christian Zionist, though admittedly a particularly ignorant version thereof who hardly understood what she was promoting, while Romney’s Mormonism with its affinities to evangelical Christianity and strong ties to Israel was equally disturbing.

I care little for what one chooses to believe but when the beliefs are such that they will likely be translated into policy that impacts on all the rest of us it is difficult to pretend that a candidate’s religion doesn’t matter. Be that as it may, the United States has recently benefited from having heads of state that either are believers in a casual way or engaging in a form of piety that is essentially phony, as Bill Clinton did when he paraded around Bible in hand pretending penitence after having had a White House intern perform oral sex on him.

The Canadians have not been so lucky, however. Canada, multicultural to a fault and home to more than a million Muslims, ironically has possibly the world’s most pro-Israeli government, its Prime Minister Stephen Harper having described Israel as a light that "…burns bright, upheld by the universal principles of all civilized nations – freedom, democracy justice." He has also said "I will defend Israel whatever the cost" to Canada, an interesting proposition for those who might have believed that his duty was to protect his own country and advance its interests. Harper also supports the currently active Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism’s seeking to define the "new anti-Semitism," which will include any criticism of the State of Israel, and hopes to introduce legislation that will make it a hate crime and prosecutable. Critics have noted that it might soon be possible for Canadians to criticize their own government but not that of Israel.

Palestine’s Quislings

Philip Giraldi

As usual official Washington is lining up on the side of the Israelis while pretending to be an "honest broker".

A picture is indeed sometimes worth a thousand words. A photo of Secretary of State John Kerry disembarking from his plane in Tel Aviv showed chief US negotiator Martin Indyk walking along at his side with a grin on his face as if he had just heard a new Palestinian joke in the plane on the way over. It looked like Israel’s American legal team had arrived and just couldn’t wait for the first photo op with a glowering Benjamin Netanyahu. They may even have been chuckling over what might be the funniest line ever uttered by an Israeli prime minister, Netanyahu greeting their arrival by claiming that "There’s growing doubt in Israel that the Palestinians are committed to peace. In the six months since the start of peace negotiations, the Palestinian authority continues its unabated incitement against the State of Israel."

Netanyahu, who insists that the Palestinians declare Israel to be a Jewish State as a precondition for further talks and that Israel be able to maintain a permanent military occupation of the Jordan River valley, certainly knows all about "unabated incitement." And he has plenty of friends hanging on his every pronouncement. US Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham were already in Israel when Kerry arrived, consulting with the Israeli government and coming to the conclusion that there are serious concerns about any possible peace agreement with the Palestinians, nearly all relating to "Israel’s security." More fool I to think that Graham and McCain were elected to represent the people of South Carolina and Arizona, but as some have observed politics is the art of the impossible.

Congress Scares the People

Philip Giraldi

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid, of Fearmongering Fake Terror Alerts, Fear is the Empire's Fence Terrorism has become as all-American as apple pie. It is ingrained in our civic DNA, it fills our newspapers and is the backstory for every foreign policy discussion on talk radio and television. One might reasonably expect that American mothers might now cajole their children into turning out the light and going to sleep not because the bogeyman would otherwise be coming but rather because al-Qaeda might be lurking somewhere up the street.

Warning one’s children about bin Laden would be an astonishing consequence of national paranoia but for the fact that American mothers do no such thing. For something of a national obsession, Americans largely deal with the terrorism problem in an absent minded fashion by allowing the Federal government to help itself to their tax money to make the terrorists go away. Hardly anyone actually knows a victim of terrorism and I have yet to meet anyone who spends his life in fear of a terrorist attack. The disparity between an imagined threat and the actual public response would tend to indicate that the terrorist menace is phony, meant to produce a certain mind set that feeds willingness to fund big government which is promoting itself as essential to protect the country. The reality of American life post 9/11 suggests that fear of terrorism is in reality a largely contrived inside the Beltway phenomenon.

The Lobby Is International

Philip Giraldi

Israel is a light that "...burns bright, upheld by the universal
principles of all civilized nations–freedom, democracy justice.
- Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

It is hard to believe that even though 64% of the American public favors a negotiated settlement with Iran over its nuclear program fully 37% of those polled also believe that the United States actually needs Israel’s permission before coming to any kind of agreement. To paraphrase the late great Mitt Romney, is that a percentage that we will never be able to reach no matter how good the arguments are for "taking responsibility" and restoring American sovereignty in the area of foreign affairs? One has to suspect that the percentage consists mostly of the Christian-Zionists, who lately have been conducting a large scale "action alert" email campaign directed at Congress and the White House to force the cancellation of talks. They are perhaps heeding the demand of Harvard Professor and professional Israel apologist Alan Dershowitz that the "entire pro-Israel community must unite" to stop any agreement.

Tea Party Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas provided his own explanation for why "a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do" to the House of Representatives last Wednesday saying "There are many who have been aware of Scripture, and it has often been a guide in our relations with Israel. Some of us believe that the Bible is accurate. Certainly, so many prophesies have been fulfilled, and if that is true, this administration, unless they can find a verse that accurately says that those who betray Israel will be blessed, then this country is being dug in a deeper hole by this administration, and its betrayals of Israel’s trust and Israel’s friendship."

Gohmert, for all his sublime ignorance, is unfortunately not alone. By virtue of the evangelism and fine example set by the likes of Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin the scripture thumpers have escaped from the Bible Belt and are now to be found everywhere.

A Government Answerable to No One

Philip Giraldi

The Edward Snowden March 2009 memo which reveals that the National Security Agency (NSA) is illegally spying on American citizens and then passing the raw information it obtains on to Israel is particularly shocking because it demonstrates with documentary evidence just how Washington’s inside the beltway crowd places its relationship with Israel above its responsibility to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States. But equally interesting is the tale of the dog that did not bark in the night. The crowds of angry Americans concerned about their loss of privacy gathering in front of the White House failed to materialize because the story, unreported in most of the media, quickly disappeared down the memory hole. The Washington Post placed it on a back page while The New York Times did not report it at all, Managing Editor Dean Baquet calling it a story that was neither "significant" nor "surprising" as determined by his "news judgment." The Times' own Public Editor Margaret Sullivan disagreed, however, as did most of the readers’ comments on the failure to include it in the paper. Some commenters noted that the Times is frequently inclined to avoid stories that are critical of Israel.

The Lobby Never Sleeps

Philip Giraldi

The pandering to the Israel Lobby à la Samantha Power is incessant and, quite frankly, should be seen as humiliating by every American.

Developments in Syria and Egypt have been a godsend for Israel. The bloodshed and political turmoil have meant that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can continue with business as usual, with no one paying much attention to what is going on as he dismembers Palestine. Amidst all the fun and games, Israel launched a new air attack on Syria, the fourth such incident this year and an act of war, which was scarcely reported in the media while Netanyahu characteristically signaled his contempt for the Obama Administration by announcing a new settlement expansion just as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived to jump start a new round of pointless peace talks with the Palestinians. Israel’s government is also simultaneously moving ahead with the Prawer Plan, which will remove as many as 70,000 Palestinian Bedouin from their ancestral homes in the Negev Desert, the latest phase in the ethnic cleansing of Arabs which has been going on since 1947.

But even when Israel is not featured in the headline, it somehow finds its way into the story. Here in Washington last Wednesday Samantha Power was questioned by Senators to determine her worthiness to become US Ambassador to the United Nations. Power was confronted by the redoubtable Senator Marco Rubio for having suggested on a book tour in 2002 that if the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were moving toward genocide America should be prepared to alienate a powerful "domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import" – meaning the American-Jewish community – to send in a "mammoth protection force" to prevent another Rwanda. The proposal itself might well be considered idiotic, just what one might expect from a Harvard professor, but Power’s comment was also construed as being both anti-Israeli and borderline anti-Semitic because it implies that Jews have a lot of money and political clout while at the same time combining in one sentence "Israel" and "genocide" with the clear presumption that the Palestinians would be on the receiving end.

John McCain: War Hero or Something Less?

Philip Giraldi

Two time Medal of Honor recipient Marine Major General Smedley Butler once said “war is a racket.” He might have added that while enriching the few it victimizes and degrades everyone else who is caught up in the meat grinder, soldiers as well as civilians.

Consider how accounts of soldiers who are captured and subsequently turn on their own country are as old as warfare. American soldiers taken prisoner are only supposed to provide their names, ranks, and serial numbers to their captors though in practice many find themselves agreeing with their interrogators or even signing confessions to avoid abuse or obtain better conditions in their prisons. A number of American prisoners were described as having been “brainwashed” during the Korean War, the expression initially suggesting that they had been subject to psychological conditioning and indoctrination that made them question their loyalties and which subsequently produced episodes of aberrant behavior. In some cases the psychological conditioning was combined with physical torture, but in most cases not. In nearly all cases the victims later recanted the confessions they provided to their captors, were despondent over what they had done and said while under North Korean and Chinese control, and sometimes had difficulty in readjusting to life in the United States.

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