Is Obama Taking on the Israel Lobby? by Justin Raimondo — Antiwar.com
Is Obama Taking on the Israel Lobby?
Posted By Justin Raimondo On May 7, 2009 @ 9:00 pm In Uncategorized | 1 Comment
The elaborate pretenses that surround any discussion of Israel are fast making it impossible to say a word about that country without uttering a number of increasingly obvious lies.
We are, for example, supposed to believe that Israel is really a part of the West, when demographics – and the country’s radical political shift – point in the opposite direction. It is commonly asserted as incontrovertible fact that Israel is a democracy, just like us, the only one in a region ruled by monarchs, mullahs, and secular nationalist despots – and we aren’t supposed to notice its population of Palestinian helots in the occupied territories.
Defenders of Israeli government policies – the settlements, the repeated invasions of Lebanon, the prolonged agony of the West Bank and Gaza, the Wall of Separation – rationalize these actions by explaining that the country is beleaguered, a tiny island of Western liberal values in a sea of Arabic absolutism, one in constant threat of annihilation. Yet Israel is a military powerhouse, thanks to the US: its armies have beaten the combined Arab forces on several occasions, notably the Six Day War, and Tel Aviv has a trump card they could always play if that “existential threat” to its existence that we keep hearing about should ever materialize: a substantial nuclear arsenal.
The Israeli nuclear program began in 1949, when a special scientific unit was set up by the government for that express purpose, and they made some progress, but the effort couldn’t have succeeded without outside assistance, a technology transfer that would give the Israelis the ability to produce a functioning weapon.
France stepped into the breach, and offered assistance, in exchange for Israel’s invasion of the Sinai during the Suez crisis. French-Israeli cooperation was based on more than geopolitical advantage, however: the French were confronting the Arabs in Algeria, and the Egyptians, and the Israelis were their natural allies, and yet there was also an ideological motive. In solidarity with his fellow socialists in the Israeli Labor party, who dominated Israeli politics in the early years, French Socialist Prime Minister Guy Mollet is reported to have said, in private: “I owe the bomb to them.”
The US offered credible cover for the clandestine within the framework of the “Atoms for Peace” agreement initiated by President Dwight David Eisenhower: the building of a small, “swimming pool” reactor under this initiative effectively camouflaged the construction of the much larger nuclear facility at Dimona, where the Israeli nuclear arsenal was conceived and assembled.
In spite of the fact that the whole world knows, by now, the story of the Israeli nukes and how they came to be, thanks to the sacrifice of one man – Mordecai Vanunu – both the US and the government of Israel have kept up an elaborate pretense, ever since the Eisehower era, never alluding to Israel’s nukes, although the Israelis have indirectly alluded to their power to annihilate any city in the Middle East at will. The US, for its part, has maintained a discreet silence on the subject – until now.
Assistant secretary of state Rose Gottemoeller’s surprise announcement that the US would like every nation – including Israel – to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) sent shockwaves from Tel Aviv to Brooklyn, confirming the worst fears of the Obama-haters who make up the radical fringe of the Lobby. You’ll recall that the first thing accused Israeli spy Steve Rosen, AIPAC’s former chief lobbyist, did when he resurfaced was to set up an “Obama Watch” blog on the web site of the crazed Daniel Pipes, one of the main perpetrators of the “Obama-is-a-secret-Muslim” meme. Expect the attacks on the President coming from the Lobby to intensify.
The Israelis are citing a supposed 40-year-old secret agreement to permanently shield the Israeli arsenal from international inspections – the same inspections Iran is expected to undergo without protest. Iran, unlike Israel, is a signatory to the NPT. To the Israelis, however, Tehran’s signature is proof that “the NPT is not “a miracle cure for the world’s ills.” Presumably Israel’s policy of nuclear “ambiguity” is one such solution, if not for the world’s ills, but for a very small part of the world. That this solution comes at the expense of the peace of the region – i.e. at everyone else’s expense – seems not to bother the elected leadership of the Jewish state at all. Indeed, under the new ultra-rightist regime – which includes neo-fascist Avigdor Lieberman, a former bouncer, as “foreign minister” – the Israelis seem to revel in it.
This is just posturing, of course, since the US could bring Israel to its knees rather quickly if it chose: without US aid, the Zionist settler colony would have disappeared long ago. What the Israelis depend on for their very survival is the existence and unmatched power of their lobby in America, which ensures the Jewish state a very large piece of the foreign aid pie. This lobby will now be mobilized for an all-out assault on the new policy, which could spell the end of our old Israel-centric stance in the region, and map out a new beginning for the US insofar as its historic role as the inheritor of Britain’s mistakes is concerned.
The very idea that Israel and Iran should be treated as equals, that they should both have to live up to the same standards, and go through the same inspections of their nuclear facilities, is unacceptable to the Israelis, and to this government in particular. The outright racist Lieberman reflects a very widespread sentiment in the country.