A War for Israel

If there was ever any doubt about the purpose of intervention in Syria, it has been dispelled as hoards of lobbyists from AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, including 250 Jewish leaders, descend upon Capitol Hill.  Their mission is to make sure that each and every member of Congress knows how important it is to vote in favor of American military intervention in Syria.

With apologies to the original quote, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a traitor than to speak and remove all doubt.”  The Israel lobby pushed the U.S. into wars with Iraq and Libya, and the U.S. dutifully complied, removing two of Israel’s enemies at a cost of trillions of taxpayer dollars and thousands of ritually folded U.S. flags.  In those cases, however, important segments of the U.S. public also supported the wars, even if they later came to regret it, and even if deception (about WMDs, for example) was required to obtain their approval.

This time the American public is clearly and overwhelmingly opposed to military involvement and the AIPAC teams are nearly alone on the Hill.  What this demonstrates is that the AIPAC teams are, in fact, not part of the American public at all, but rather loyal and enthusiastic supporters of Israel.  They have done us the service of removing all doubt.

The deference that is shown in Congressional offices to these arrogant exploiters of American blood and toil is proof positive – if any was needed – of the corruption that rules Washington.  It is not that there are not a lot of good people in elected office, only that those good people (and some not so good) are severely compromised in their ability to act on behalf of their constituents.  Instead, they are obliged to squeeze the public good into the increasing smaller spaces between the expanding special interests.

The teams from AIPAC apparently believe that their money and influence will be enough to cause members of Congress to disregard the flood of phone calls, letters, emails, faxes and visits from their constituents.  They may be right.  It’s a question of who really runs Washington.  Members of Congress may decide that they have no choice.

Let us be clear.  Many who support Israel are not Jewish and many who are Jewish do not support Israel.  This is about the inter-relationships between the arms industries, Wall Street, the oil companies and other powerful interests for whom Israel and its regional domination are a money machine, a power machine and means of domination.  Special interests like the Israel Lobby are not of the people and, in fact, care nothing for the will of the people.

This time, however, is special.  Never before have the people and the Israel Lobby been so clearly on opposite sides.  Who will prevail?  Much depends upon the persistence of the people in bombarding Congress with telephone calls, visits and other means of conveying their message.  It’s time to find out who’s boss.

Paul Larudee is a retired academic and current administrator of a nonprofit human rights and humanitarian aid organization. Read other articles by Paul.