My article, “The Israel Lobby, the Grassroots and the Radical Bush-Cheney Regime,” is available at: http://desip.igc.org/radicalbushcheney.html
My article is a revised version of a talk that I gave at a conference on U.S. Policy in the Middle East at LaGuardia Community College on May 10, 2007.
My review of some of the details of the power of the Lobby to force the U.S. to adopt policies at variance with its own interests in peace and stability in the Middle East and elsewhere will be familiar to many readers. In addition, I point to the role of the grassroots supporters of the Lobby who play an all too evident, although as yet minimally analyzed, role in effectively supporting Israel’s largely unrestrained militaristic and expansionist policies.
Here’s an excerpt from my paper on the role of the grassroots
But only a tiny fraction of these grassroots pro-Israeli people, are Lobby activists. It’s the Lobby that “actively work[s] to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israeli direction.” A tiny number of activists directing Lobby policy would matter less if the few reflected the many. But often, on key issues like the war against Iraq, these Lobby activists represent the extreme right wing of the Israeli ruling elite and not the great majority of the rank and file. For example, most of my secular friends and family are passionately opposed to George W. Bush and his policies, especially the Iraq war. At the same time, they are strong supporters of Israel. If you were to ask some of these people, as I have done, if they see a connection between their support for Israel and Bush’s ability to pursue a war against Iraq, they would be confused. They wouldn’t understand such a question. Most express their full and unquestioning support of Israel. They don’t see Israel as an aggressive, oppressive state. They see Israel as beleaguered, attacked on all sides, especially by the media.
For example, even in the case of the entirely unprovoked and horrific Israeli war against Lebanon in 1982, the grassroots typically downplayed Israeli aggression and war crimes if they didn’t take the easier route of total denial. And lesser Israeli atrocities like Prime Minister Shimon Peres’s summer pre-election bombardment of Lebanon in 1994, or Sharon’s 2004 assassination of Hamas leader, wheelchair- bound Sheik Yassin, and a month later his successor, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, generally fly well below their radar. And to the extent Israel’s supporters are confronted with any unpleasant or critical information on Israeli policy toward the Arabs in the news, they tend reflexively to blame the media.
Thus the Lobby is empowered because most Jewish and Christian and other gentile supporters of Israel will fall into line and effectively support even the most oppressive and pitiless Israeli policies. If they are somehow made aware of some of the brutal and shocking details, they view Israeli actions as necessary for its defense. Atrocities against Muslims and Arabs are minimized, because in their worldview, “those people” aren’t humanized, and are often identified as enemies or terrorists. Similarly in any particular congressional or presidential race, supporters of Israel don’t generally see themselves voting to bolster the power of the Lobby. They vote for a politician and/or for the party they prefer. At election time, support for Israel is rarely an issue. Typically the grassroots correctly take for granted that the candidates they vote for also fully support Israel.
Heretofore, in the decades preceding the 90s, the baleful effects of Israel’s brutal polices and its role in destabilizing the international order have been relatively limited, and by and large restricted to the peoples of the Middle East, especially to the Palestinians and other Arabs, with the caveat that in order to successfully pursue its goals, Israel required and acquired sufficient control of the White House and Congress from even before the creation of the State in 1948. The Lobby’s control has become more and more sophisticated and viselike through the decades and the various U.S. administrations. But now that an extraordinarily vicious and reckless U.S. administration is in power, a perfect storm has been created that may be irrevocably moving the U.S. into –who knows? --the final catastrophe that is the logical outgrowth of the iniquitous and improbably successful substitution of the bogus “war on terror” for the previous Communist demon.