Sunday, March 19, 2006

The mechanics of a conspiracy

A criticism of the thesis of the importance of the Israel Lobby is that it looks too much like the Czarist ‘Learned Elders of Zion’ fable, or too much like the world Jewish conspiracy thesis believed by crazy people like Jack London, H. G. Wells, Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, or Céline (no, not Dion!).  Of course, the difference between the old conspiracy theories and the new Israel Lobby theory is that we actually have hard evidence of the mechanics of the current conspiracy.  We know about AIPAC and its remarkable financial control over American politicians, we know about the espionage scandal, we know about JINSA, we know about the neocons and the lies that led to the attack on Iraq, we know about the Christian evangelist control over the White House and its connections to Israeli colonialism, we know about the hard lobbying going on now with respect to Syria and Iran. This isn’t anybody’s conspiracy theory.  This is conspiracy fact.

I mentioned the recent telephone lobbying to the Canadian Prime Minister made with respect to Hamas.  The result was absolutely remarkable.  The Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister - who happens to be the second most important man in the party and the probable eventual leader once Harper wears out his welcome - who went to a lot of trouble to fashion a reasonable compromise, was publicly humiliated and the hardest of hard-line stances with respect to Hamas and the Palestinians – the Israeli ‘diet’ plan – was put in place.  All on the basis of one documented telephone call!  This isn’t a conspiracy; this is a fact.  Not only that, but the call put such a fear in Harper that he essentially banned his Ministers from talking to the press.  Canada now has only one Minister, the Prime Minister.  The Prime Minister’s Office was always too powerful, but this is getting ridiculous.  All on the basis of the fear induced by one telephone call!

The Lobby and its apologists will put up a lot of smoke and mirrors in an attempt to hide the truth, so it is important to document the actual mechanics of the world-wide conspiracy for Israeli colonialism.  It is not just political, but covers every aspect of human culture that could possibly harm the Project for Greater Israel.  From an article by Philip Weiss, “Rachel Corrie: Too Hot for New York”, on the mothballing of the play My Name Is Rachel Corrie by the New York Theater Workshop:

“Just whom was the Workshop consulting in its deliberations? It has steadfastly refused to say. In the New York Observer, Nicola mentioned ‘Jewish friends.’ Dodgson says that in discussions with the Royal Court, Workshop staffers brought up the Anti-Defamation League and the mayor's office as entities they were concerned about. (Abe Foxman of the ADL visited London in 2005 and denounced the play in the New York Sun as offensive to Jewish ‘sensitivities.’) By one account, the fatal blow was dealt when the global PR firm Ruder Finn (which has an office in Israel) said it couldn't represent the play.”


“Questions about pressure from Jewish leaders morph quickly into questions about funding. Ellen Stewart, the legendary director of the theatrical group La MaMa E.T.C., which is across East 4th Street from the Workshop, speculates that the trouble began with its ‘very affluent’ board. Rachel's father, Craig Corrie, echoes her. ‘Do an investigation, follow the money.’ I called six board members and got no response. (About a third appear to be Jewish, as am I.) This is of course a charged issue. The writer Alisa Solomon, who was appalled by the postponement, nonetheless warns, ‘There's something a little too familiar about the image of Jews pulling the puppet strings behind the scenes.’

Perhaps. But Nicola's statement about a back channel to Jewish leaders suggests the presence of a cultural lobby that parallels the vaunted pro-Israel lobby in think tanks and Congress. I doubt we will find out whether the Workshop's decision was ‘internally generated,’ as Kushner contends, or more orchestrated, as I suspect. What the episode has demonstrated is a climate of fear. Not of physical harm, but of loss of opportunities. ‘The silence results from fear and intimidation,’ says Cindy Corrie. ‘I don't see what else. And it harms not only Palestinians. I believe, from the bottom of my heart, it harms Israelis and it harms us.’”

I’ll have more to say about the international political and cultural conspiracy.  The Israel Lobby in the United States is just one part, albeit the most important part.  We need to fully document the extent and mechanics of the conspiracy in order to rebut the usual attack that this is all just another anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.  A small group with a lot of money that devotes itself completely to one cause can do a lot of harm.