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Standing up to AIPAC means supporting Israeli dissidents

The voice of ‘pro-Israel’ militarism has been ringing through the halls of Washington D.C. since the 1970s. Now, to end the occupation, American citizens must couple their opposition to AIPAC with support for anti-occupation groups in Israel.

By Philip Farah

In the 1970s, Israeli TV had a great program, Nikui Rosh, that was something like the country’s version of Saturday Night Live. Its most famous skit was one in which Israeli leaders would start beating the drums of war, warning against threats from across the Lebanese or Syrian borders, whenever the Israeli economy was in crisis. This is an old trick everywhere: when your leadership is being questioned, rally the nation to unite against the enemy. Today, Israeli leaders don’t need an economic crisis in order to rattle their sabers because they have a chronic political crisis: what to do with the Palestinians under their control, a population whose numbers may have already exceeded those of Jews in Israel. The leaders’ answer is, again, to point the finger elsewhere: Iran is the Boogie Man, with its (Muslim) bomb that threatens not only Israel, but all of the West’s Judeo-Christian civilization.

Is there a war that Israeli leaders or their Washington friends, especially the neocons, do not love? Was there a voice cheering more loudly for the U.S. to launch a war on Iraq in 2002 than theirs? Was there a greater disappointment than theirs when the Syrian chemical weapons crisis did not result in U.S. military strikes against Syria?

President Barack Obama at the AIPAC Policy Conference 2011. (photo: AIPAC)

President Barack Obama at the AIPAC Policy Conference 2011. (photo: AIPAC)

This week, at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, prominent politicians raced to the podium to declare their hawkish foreign policy credentials in order to curry favor with the powerful lobby group. Some leaders complained that the current crisis in Crimea, for example, is the result of the U.S. losing its reputation as a tough international policeman, and that the “mullahs” in Iran ought not to be trusted and that Israel and its friends in the U.S. ought to keep up the pressure. Prime Minister Netanyahu (whose speech in Congress last year received more standing ovations than President Obama’s), declared at the Conference that the stifling economic sanctions weren’t working and that a “credible military threat is needed.” The voice of “pro-Israel” militarism has been heard in Washington at least as far back as the early 1970s, when it was eloquently articulated by Nathan Perlmutter of the Anti-Defamation League. He expressed concern that “nowadays war is getting a bad name and peace too favorable a press;” that “peacemakers of Vietnam vintage– transmuters of swords into plowshares,” condemn U.S. policies in Vietnam and Central America while “sniping at American defense budgets.”

Israeli militarism pre-dates the establishment of Israel in 1948. Vladimir Jabotinsky, the spiritual father of the current ruling party, said that force was absolutely necessary for the creation of the Jewish State because it was foolhardy to expect the Palestinians, who constituted the overwhelming majority at the time, to give up their country voluntarily. Ben Gurion, the first leader of the new state, continued the tradition by brilliantly parlaying Israel’s military capabilities as an asset for “Western interests” in the region and beyond. Israel’s military establishment and its military industries have played a prominent role in many countries, including El SalvadorGuatemala, IranSouth AfricaZaire, and Sri Lanka. In this role, Israel often played the role that the U.S. was too embarrassed to play because of abysmal human rights records in these countries.

Female Israeli anti-occupation activists protest the siege on Gaza at the Erez Crossing on International Women's Day. (photo: Activestills)

Female Israeli anti-occupation activists protest the siege on Gaza at the Erez Crossing on International Women’s Day. (photo: Activestills)

I may be a wild-eyed optimist, but I do see a glimmer of hope in Israel. Just read Israel’s leading English language online publication, Haaretz, to see that there are more and more Israelis — albeit still a minority — telling their leaders that their hubris is driving the country towards the edge of a cliff. However, the Israeli peace group closest to my heart consists of a number of feisty mothers and grandmothers who are fighting militarism in their country, including helping some of their children and grandchildren who refuse conscription in the army. They call themselves New Profile and their website has graphic presentations of how militarism is increasingly dominating every aspect of Israelis life. The more we in the U.S. encourage groups like these, the greater the chance of a just peace in Israel/Palestine.

Philip Farah, born and raised in Jerusalem, is co-founder of the Washington Alliance for Middle East Peace in Washington, D.C. This piece first appeared on The Huffington Post

Does Kerry need to convince AIPAC to support peace?
Speaking truth to AIPAC’s power

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    1. Danny

      Israel’s military is pretty much the last sacred cow in the land. It’s generals are revered as heroes (they are actually called Alufim, which is the Hebrew word for ‘champion’); in reality, most of the generals are simple-minded ignoramuses with an ego the size of the Middle East.

      For example, the former IDF chief – Ashkenazi – is a man who, if he wasn’t an IDF general, would most likely have a career as a cab driver or an auto garage worker. He is the perfect example of the low standards in the IDF.

      To compound this problem, most of these generals go on to political careers and become high-powered ministers or even more, which partially explains why Israel’s leadership is of such low quality.

      Reply to Comment
    2. george smiley

      Did you hear the one about the Israeli anarchists who were going to stage a revolution? They had to cancel it because they couldn’t get permission from the police.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Kolumn9

      You know and I know that your ‘glimmer of hope’ in the English-language Haaretz is produced almost entirely for an audience outside of Israel. It features a group of writers who for the most part hate Israel and despise the vast majority of Israelis. No Israeli can read that newspaper for any sustained period of time since it is basically editorially driven to make people hate the country. The Hebrew version of Haaretz is not much better in that regard. Both are failing newspapers that are forced on an annual basis to cut staff and salaries because their readership is either dying off, switching to alternatives or leaving the country.

      Likewise, you know and I know, that New Profile and all its sister ‘dissident’ organizations are funded almost exclusively by European governments and their associated charities. These are foreign funded groups that act as agents of foreign bodies and are almost universally despised in Israel as traitors. Nor are they ‘peace groups’. They are groups designed and designated to undermine Israeli social solidarity while supporting the rejectionist positions of the Palestinians which consist of rejecting the ‘two states for two peoples’ framework which is the only possible peaceful resolution of this conflict.

      The more these groups are funded and supported the more remote the possibility of peace becomes.

      Reply to Comment
      • sh

        The more freebie Yisrael Hayom is privately funded by Bibi’s moneyed friends abroad and distributed ever more widely by the unemployed benefiting from the much-vaunted trickle-down (only from the USA, not Israel), the less newspapers there’ll be in this country, whether left or right-wing. By now it’s down to Yediot and Haaretz, but the whittling down continues.

        Meanwhile, in the Knesset… http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=16255

        Reply to Comment
        • shachalnur

          Both Ha’aretz and Yediot are fake “left wing” papers.

          Their sponsors belong to the ultra-rich ,mostly foreigners.

          The aim of these papers is to be controlled opposition,a “reliable” source of opposition to the right.

          Making Fascism and 1897 Zionism “salonfähig”.

          A bit like Socialist,so-called leftwing parties in Europe ,that turn out to be more right wing than the right wing once they get in power.

          Giving lipservice to a peaceful solution ,while pushing Oral Polio Vaccines for the children,fluoride in drinkingwater and gaypride in Jerusalem.

          They are Crypto Fascists,pushing the eternal war- and Eugenics agenda of their sponsors.

          There is no open opposition in the Israeli press,besides Kikar Ha’Shabbat.

          Reply to Comment
    4. Tomer

      I agree that the “haaretz” is a propaganda rag supported by 1% of the population. Its editors and opinion-writers are a strange collection of communists, anarchists and self-haters. If that is your only “glimmer of hope” then your cause is lost!!

      Reply to Comment
    5. Philos

      Haha, Ha’aretz gives this guy a glimmer of hope? It should be a damning indictment of WTF happened to the Israeli left. It’s like telling people that they will get a glimmer of hope about American progressivism from the NYT (bomb Iraq! Oops, we’re sorry; bomb Libya! Oops, let’s not report that anymore; bomb Syria! Hey! Bomb Syria!)

      On the latter example I take my glimmer of hope about America from that the NYT is considered just another establishment stooge paper by many Americans, as well as the huge growth in interest in Marxism and socialism. Workers in McDonald’s are organising! That’s awesome news you won’t read in Ha’aretz or NYT.

      Reply to Comment
      • directrob

        The “glimmer of hope” maybe sounds naive, but I read his other texts and this one again. We do not need to tell him.

        Reply to Comment
    6. Bar

      How do I get a gig like this guy’s? I can found a center, call it “The Center for Peace and Justice of My Corner of the Planet” and have an entirely new way of making a living.

      Reply to Comment
    7. george smiley

      “Vladimir Jabotinsky, the spiritual father of the current ruling party, said that force was absolutely necessary for the creation of the Jewish State because it was foolhardy to expect the Palestinians, who constituted the overwhelming majority at the time, to give up their country voluntarily.”
      A sentence which will need to be thoroughly revised before admittance to the archives of The Ministry of Truth, comrade.

      Reply to Comment
    8. shachalnur

      I was predictable that AIPAC,ADL and other “Israel-Lobbies” would be split right through the midddle .

      These Lobbies owe their power and money to very rich Bankers,the same Bankers that created the State of Israel,after sponsoring and politically enabling 1897 Zionism.

      But what happens if the Bankers decide that Israel doesn’t serve their imperialistic purpose anymore?

      For a century the interests of 1897 Zionist Jews ,Israel and the Bankers coincided(oil interests in the Middle East,and a home for paranoid,traumatized Jews),but now that has changed.

      In the big chessgame Israel has become a liability for the Bankers.

      Now you will see what part of the Lobby is Banker-first,Israel-first or Judaism-first.

      I can assure you 90% is Banker-first,and will drop Israel and Judaism when ordered,and that includes helping the US/Europe to blow up the Middle East and the world..

      Israel knows this by now,so what you’re watching is a very dangerous ,hypocritical dance of rich powerfull Jews in the US acting as if they are watching Israel’s interest,while throwing Israel under the bus ,under Banker orders.

      The Israeli public,and Judaism in general are not aware that there is a price to pay for accepting Bankers as Master and Creator of your Utopia.

      These Bankers don’t care about Jews,Cristians,or Muslims,for them we are all “useless eaters”(Kissinger dixit)and Jews are disposable for them ,like they showed in WW2.

      Never mind what religion/culture/tribe they claim to belong to.

      This year Jews are unknowingly celebrating 211 years of Banker-slavery,luxury slaves and now the Pharao doesn’t need them anymore.

      211 years ago the Pharao changed his name from “Me’ir”(Bright,illuminated) to “Mayer”(Leadsman,Major or Farmer).

      But as long as you are rich,powerfull and are given your own country ,who cares?

      There is a price pay though,and the Pharao has decided to it’s time to pay.

      Reply to Comment
      • shachalnur

        Read Arutz Sheva today very carefully,because the gloves are coming off.

        Yuval Diskin,former Shabak(is not Mossad,is not Banker-controlled)giving chapter and verse:

        “Frustrated”Former Shabak launches rant against coalition.”

        On Bennett.”…the secret insider of the dubious oligarchs…”

        On coalition government;”..abandoning the country…”

        On centrists;”…that see how the country is being stolen from under their hands –and stay silent…”

        I expect ex-Shabak chiefs(Gatekeepers) to become more verbal and at a certain point they will have to give openness to what’s really going on.

        It’s about time,but it’s gonna be a mess.

        Still much better than what’s going on now,and it will give some chance of survival to the inhabitants of Israel/Palestine.

        The furniture salesman and his maffia are run by foreigners and too stupid and megalomaniac to understand they will be reponsable for millions of dead Jews,if not stopped.

        Israel will have no other choice at a certain point, than to stop them from within,so keep reading ex-Shabak and ex-IDF chiefs,they’ll be the ones doing what’s neccessary.

        Reply to Comment
    9. Bar

      By the way, the author uses the term “dissident” incorrectly. The term isn’t applicable to a country such as Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Average American

      These are very interesting posts to read. My responses: A) Americans see their polititians grovelling at AIPAC’s boots, everyone has to say how much they love Israel, and once you say that you have to prove it by doing certain things for them, so anyone who appears on AIPAC’s stage including our puppet president is an admission of being a dog on a leash. B) New York Times is definitely considered by most Americans to be a propaganda rag, especially with Abe Foxman telling them what they can and can’t print. C) Force was definitely anticipated by Zionism and the intention was always to drive out non-Jews for a race-pure lebensraum. D) Zionism was and is definitely financed by bankers who are more powerful than nations because they can and will stop any opposing nation’s access to credit, and lord knows USA lives on credit. Well that’s all I had to say.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Tzutzik

      Hey Average,

      Then how come YOU are not scared? How come you are not grovelling to them dreadful Jews?

      What is so special about YOU that you are not afraid? You must be a specially and exceptionally brave person not to be concerned for your own safety. Be careful though, their tentacles are going to reach for you soon and then there will be hell to pay for you.

      Muhuhahahaha …

      Reply to Comment
      • Average American

        I think the most interesting thing to find out about is the interaction and boundaries between being Jewish and being Zionist. Are Jews a smokescreen for the advantage of Zionists. Or are Jews Zionists, since Zionism created the Jewish State. Do Jews claim the right to control the territory Zionism defines as “The Land Of Israel” which includes Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, half of Iraq, and Sinai.

        Reply to Comment
    12. Rick Chertoff

      The colonial Settler State is an oft repeated phenomena that is always relatively short lived. Being deputized to steal indigenous’land and make them subservient creates a monster state based on violence. After understandably reacting with violence the truth about the Palestinian’s plight has escaped the controlled media and since the 1st intifada made itself known to the world. BDS is at the top of the settler state agenda because it speaks to the world’s conscience and the world is finally taking action. As a Jew, I will not allow Israel to continue to misrepresent me and my tradition.

      Reply to Comment
      • shachalnur

        Good point,Rick.

        Reply to Comment