Thursday, March 23, 2006

From Haaretz (my emphasis), a comment from Akiva Eldar:

“The combination of an initiative aimed against Hamas - a party that is officially defined as a ‘terror organization’ - and a Congressional election year should have insured that for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), passing a law limiting the aid to the Hamas government and associated bodies would be as easy as cutting through butter with a knife. And now, to the great surprise of the heads of the strongest pro-Israel lobby in Washington, nearly two months after they planted the proposal for the law with their obedient servants in both the House and the Senate, and two weeks after they sent out 2,000 activists to assault Capitol Hill, the proposal is still stuck deep in the pipeline.

Thus far about 150 members the House of Representatives have signed the proposal, about 70 short of the required number. On the weekend, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that AIPAC had distributed to its activists a panicked bulletin warning them that if the missing votes are not recruited by next Wednesday, the initiative will be lost.

An aide to a member of Congress told the Jewish weekly Forward that apparently the penny has finally dropped for the elected representatives of the American public. They have started to realize that the constant harassment of Arabs is liable to damage American interests in the Middle East, especially in Iraq.

It is possible that he, like many of his colleagues in the power centers of Washington, has read a new study on the pro-Israel lobby published by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Two professors, John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, dared to put in writing things that are often heard in closed rooms now that the U.S. has sunk into the Iraqi swamp. The group of neo-conservatives that pushed President George W. Bush into this swamp has become the punching bag of U.S. academia and media, and it was only a question of time before it became Israel's turn to pay the price of the battle waged by Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and their colleagues in the pro-Israel lobby and its allies on the Christian right.

The start of the trial of the two AIPAC men accused of handing secret information over to Israel looks like the perfect timing for the publication of one of the most critical documents ever written at a first-rank academic institution about U.S. policy toward Israel (the main points of the article appear on The London Review of Books' Web site). The authors argue that the American support for Israel was one of the main reasons for the Al-Qaida terror attacks on September 11, 2001.

‘There is no question,’ they write, ‘that many Al-Qaida leaders, including Bin Laden, are motivated by Israel's presence in Jerusalem and the plight of the Palestinians.’

They note that American public opinion polls and research institutes show that the one-sided policy toward Israel is attracting fire against the United States on the Arab street and helping fanatics like Bin Laden to recruit activists. The researchers argue that Israel is detrimentally dragging the United States into a struggle against Iran. Moreover, they state that the nuclear weaponry in Israel's hands is one of the reasons that Iran, like other countries in the region, also wants to equip itself with a bomb. In their opinion, the American threat to depose the governments of those states increases nuclear appetites.

The two do not refrain from mentioning that Israel consistently bites the American hand that feeds it - usually, contrary to U.S. interests. With its one hand, Israel is establishing settlements, contrary to the wishes of the Untied States, and with the other it is smiting the Palestinians and tearing up American peace plans one after the other.

Once the pictures of American soldiers dying in Baghdad and of hungry Palestinian children in Gaza schools obliterate the pictures of the Israeli children killed in buses in Jerusalem and the Qassams in Sderot, the new government in Israel may well discover a different America.”

It’s too bad Americans have to read the truth about the United States from an Israeli newspaper.

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