The Lobby Represents the Most Dangerous Faction of the US Ruling Class

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Clarifications on "The Lobby"

We have a new voice contributing to the exploration of themes related to evaluating the role, or significance, of the pro-Israel Lobby within the US - a perennial concern among activists within global, regional and local liberation movements and also among readers and contributors to this website.

The new leg of our discussion here comes from Seth Farber, Ph.D. a prominent anti-Zionist author and human rights activist. Dr. Farber is the author of
Radicals, Rabbis and Peacemakers: Conversations with Jewish Critics of Israel (Common Courage Press, 2005),
a book that includes contributions from among the leading American Jewish critics of Zionism and of Israel's policies towards the Palestinians: Noam Chomsky,Norman Finkelstein, Marc Ellis, Adam Shapiro, Phyllis Bennis, Rabbi Weiss; a diverse group of Orthodox Jews, atheists, cultural Jews, a Buberesque theologian, Gandhian activists -
united by their opposition to Zionism and their indignation at fellow Jews (Israel and its American supporters) for the dispossession of the Palestinians that began with the expulsions and ethnic cleansing of 1948.

Seth Farber is also a significant figure in the movement against the authoritarian excesses of Psychiatry (more commonly known as the "anti-Psychiatry movement"). As a Psychologist who is a strong critic of the mental health system, he has much to say about freedom and sanity with strong ramifications on the burning question of who, really, defines "Reality". And how?

In this article Dr. Farber joins our conversation to comment and clarify some of the arguments about the role of the pro-Israel Lobby that were published on other pages here. He makes references to:
"Blaming the lobby", by Prof. Joseph Massad:
http://wtcdemolition.com/blog/node/1246
and,
an article by author Jeff Blankfort, titled
"Yes, Blame the Lobby: A Response to Prof. Joseph Massad"
http://wtcdemolition.com/blog/node/1246#comment-11760

More Comments, and links to Related Reading materials follow below.
Petros Evdokas
petros@cyprus-org.net

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The Lobby Represents the Most Dangerous Faction of the US Ruling Class
July 3, 2008

To: ttetpos@yahoo.com, ActionGreens@yahoogroups.com

Hi Petros,
While you praise Professor Massad's article–a couple yrs old–you fail to acknowledge that Jeff Blankfort's article cogently argues that Massad is demolishing a straw man–not the anti-Lobby argument put forward by the left.

A major problem is that while you include Blankfort's response, the version of Blankfort's article is so poorly formatted that it does not distinguish Massad's argument from Blankfort's responses–making it difficult to understand for those not familiar with the argument.

Let me pick a couple points with the appropriate differentiations.

Massad: Blocking all international and UN support for Palestinian rights, arming and financing Israel in its war against a civilian population, protecting Israel from the wrath of the international community should also be blamed not on the United States,
the studies {wrongly} insist, but on Israel and its lobby.

Blankfort responds: The authors [Walt and Mearsheimer] are essentially correct. Every US president since Richard Nixon, with the Rogers Plan in 1969, has made an effort to get Israel to withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967, not out of any love for the Palestinians, but because Israel’s continuing occupation of those lands, from the Sinai to the Golan Heights, was creating unnecessary problems in a region where maintaining stability of the regions’ oil resources was and remains a necessity. Every one of those plans was undermined by the Lobby.

In rebuttal of the argument that a Palestinian state would be threat to the US, Blankfort writes: “Prof. Massad offers no reason why the US could not support a
truncated Palestinian state and why the US supports Israel’s maintaining the occupied territories despite the efforts of every president from Nixon to Clinton to get Israel to give them up.” Note that Presidents are constrained by the Lobby's control over Congress.

On this point Norman Finkelstein agrees with Blankfort–he otherwise disagrees: US imperialism has no interest in maintaining the Occupation in its current form. But Israel and the Lobby do. I disagree with Blankfort about Bush Jr–he needs no prodding from Israel. (His base consists largely of Christian Zionists.) Blankfort gives copious examples where the US bowed to Lobby pressure.

Massad’s strongest point is as follows: "Additionally, and in line with this logic {the logic of right-wing anti-Lobby argument}, controlling Arab economies and finances, dominating key investments in the Middle East, and imposing structural adjustment policies by the IMF and the World Bank which impoverish the Arab peoples should also be blamed on Israel, and not the United States."

Blankfort and left-wing Lobby critics tend to overlook the devastating impact of US arms industry on Arab economies. However I agree with Blankfort that, specific military policies implemented by Clinton and Bush Jr would not have been possible without the support of the Lobby and its agents.

Blankfort writes “Massad must certainly be familiar with the “Clean Break” paper that Perle, Feith, and Meyrav Wurmser, wrote for Netanyahu in 1996, calling for the overthrow of Iraq, Syria and Iran, which Mearsheimer and Walt mention. Is he not also familiar with the “Project for a New American Century,” another document drawn up by
pro-Israel Jewish neocons? Not familiar with the Office of Special Plans, set up by Feith and run by another Jewish neocon, Abe Shulsky, which was directed to provide the phony intelligence that would justify the invasion when the CIA staff was not prepared to do it. Is he not familiar with the admission by Philip Zelikow, executive director of
the 9-11 commission, who admitted that the war in Iraq was for “the security of Israel” but that would have been a “hard sell” to the American people? And, as for implementing and maintaining the sanctions, the advocacy of the lobby was equally evident.”

As to 9-11, whatever insider factions were involved in this false flag operation obviously were committed to the same strategy for asserting US hegemony as were the authors of the documents on the “new Pearl Harbor.” It is in the light of a split within the US ruling class that the Lobby becomes a decisive factor in preventing the development of a less fanatical policy in the Mideast. It was also a split within
ruling class that led in the past to the assassination of JFK and RFK. Qui bono? Those who believe that US interests are best served by the policy outlined by the neo-cons–and that may lead shortly to an attack on Iran before Bush leaves office, and certainly if McCain wins the election.

It needs to be noted that the invasion of Iraq was opposed by a large segment of US ruling class. The Joint Chiefs of Staff testified in 2002 that it would be disastrous. Bush Sr had given reasons against it in his 1998 book. (We know now that in 1992 Cheney argued against it!!!) It was the neo-con and Cheney faction of ruling class that had seized the reigns of power under Dubya that was intent on invading Iraq and
implementing the entire neo-con strategy laid out in PNAC. In making their argument they of course phrased it in terms of what was in the US interest, not Israel’s. This faction is supported by the Lobby.

The other main faction of the ruling class, according to Jonathan Cutler in Z mag, is the Arabist faction. They favor maintaining US imperial hegemony primarily through military alliance with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. They tend to be “realists,” favor negotiations and maintaining the status quo and are opposed to risky US military
ventures. Baker is a strong spokesman for this faction–as is Gates who recently testified to Congress, according to Hersh–that he had no control over Bush... They argue that US interests are not served by the neo-con strategy of seeking to demolish every "enemy" of Israel.. Obama clearly identifies with this Arabist or realist [faction]–thus his praise for Bush Sr– and because of this he has had to be particularly abject in reassuring AIPAC that he will stand by Israel. Obama has no chance of winning support of the Lobby but had he not done this the Lobby would have politically destroyed him–just as they destroyed
Cynthia McKinney.

Obama’s genuflection to AIPAC is a striking example of how the Lobby is able to draw the entire American political apparatus to the right. If another terrorist attack takes place before the election it will be an effort of the neo-cons to avoid being ousted by an Obama victory.

There are disagreements within each faction–I am here simplifying in an effort to delineate the broad strokes of conflict within US foreign policy elite... But here is a critical point:
What policy is in the interest of US empire is SUBJECT TO INTERPRETATION.

The neo-con faction always interprets augmented power of Israel as being strategically advantageous to US imperial interests. And the Arabist faction claims [that] more realistic policies that do not attempt to effect regime change throughout the Middle East are in US interest.

There is no reason to doubt that the neo-cons and the Lobby think their strategy is in the interest of US capital.

The right-wing argument that the Lobby is guilty of dual loyalty is naive–or at worst anti-Semitic–because it overlooks the ambiguity of any interpretation of what is in the US interests. Thus Massad is absolutely correct when he writes: “But the lobby is powerful in the United States because its major claims are about advancing US interests
and its support for Israel is contextualized in its support for the overall US strategy in the Middle East.” But he is incorrect by implying that what is in the interest of overall US strategy is not a matter of interpretation. Was invading Iraq in the interest of US imperialism? A highly dubious assertion. But the neo-cons still claim
it is–as does McCain.

There is one issue today that more than any other points to the powerful and reactionary influence exerted by the Lobby on US foreign policy: Iran.

There is no doubt in my mind that if not for the pressure of the Lobby the Democrats in Congress would have made an effort to restrain Bush from bombing Iran. Instead, they have facilitated it. Only the US military–not controlled by the Lobby–have opposed bombing Iran. The Lobby has been even more aggressive than Israel itself in ensuring that
every American politician defend Israel’s right to bomb Iran–which Obama has hastened to do. Israel cannot bomb Iran–that is militarily infeasible. That would have to be done by the US.

But the Democratic candidate for President does not even feel free to call for legislation demanding Bush consult Congress before taking any action–an amendment that was killed by Nancy Pelosi. No one in Congress dare oppose AIPAC–Is there any further proof needed that the Lobby is indeed one of the most reactionary and powerful forces on the American political landscape????.

Edward Said wrote “The American Israel Public Affairs Committee – AIPAC – has for years been the most powerful single lobby in Washington.. Who is going to stand up to this Moloch in behalf of the Palestinians [or preventing an attack on Iran], when they can offer nothing, and AIPAC can destroy a professional career at the drop of a checkbook? In the past, one or two members of Congress did resist AIPAC openly, but the many political action committees controlled by AIPAC made sure they were never re-elected.”

Seth Farber, Ph.D.
http://SethHFarber.com/

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Related Resources
:

Many Truthers are familiar with having our sanity questioned on the basis of our investigation and assertions related to September 11 and the significance of that day's events. We know that Psychiatric coercion is sometimes applied to "cure" some of our people - how dare we challenge the assumptions of "consensus reality"? Dr. Farber's title
below is definitely an item of interest for all of us:
Madness, Heresy, and the Rumor of Angels:
The Revolt Against the Mental Health System
http://sethhfarber.com/work1.htm

Radicals, Rabbis and Peacemakers: Conversations with Jewish Critics of Israel (Common Courage Press, 2005)
http://www.commoncouragepress.com/index.cfm?action=book&bookid=326
and here
http://sethhfarber.com/work4.htm

The Most Apocryphal Relationship
"...Certainly, there's something in the relationship between the US and Israel that defies most analyses. It's impossible to classify that relationship in accordance to the views most often found among simplistic "anti-imperialist" analysts. The US does not simply rule over Israel as it does over other colonized states and countries."
http://wtcdemolition.com/blog/node/1140#comment-10973

Some of the articles mentioned above can also be found at these pages:
"Blaming the lobby", by Prof. Joseph Massad:
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2006/787/op35.htm
and,
an article by author Jeff Blankfort, titled
"Yes, Blame the Lobby
A Response to Prof. Joseph Massad
"
http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Apr06/Blankfort11.htm

"The Israel Lobby"
John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n06/mear01_.html

The above is a condensed version of the book titled
"The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" (Hardcover)
by John J. Mearsheimer, and Stephen M. Walt
http://www.amazon.com/Israel-Lobby-U-S-Foreign-Policy/dp/0374177724

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