How Israel Out-Foxed US Presidents

From the Archive: After six years, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has nearly weathered his chilly relationship with President Obama and can expect to coast through the next two years ignoring Obama’s appeals. But Obama is not the first U.S. president to be played by Israel, as Morgan Strong wrote in 2010.

By Morgan Strong (Originally published May 31, 2010)

At the end of a news conference on April 13, 2010, President Barack Obama made the seemingly obvious point that the continuing Middle East conflict pitting Israel against its Arab neighbors will end up “costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure.”

Obama’s remark followed a similar statement in congressional testimony by Gen. David Petraeus on March 16, linking the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the challenges that U.S. troops face in the region.

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office, Oct 1, 2014. The meeting was described as chilly, reflecting the strained relationship between the two leaders. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office, Oct 1, 2014. The meeting was described as chilly, reflecting the strained relationship between the two leaders. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel,” Petraeus said in prepared testimony. “Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the [region] and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support.”

[Petraeus later tried to back away from this implicit criticism of Israel, fearing that it would hurt his political standing with his neoconservative allies. He began insisting that the analysis was only part of his written testimony, not his oral remarks.]

Yet, the truth behind the assessments from Obama and Petraeus is self-evident to anyone who has spent time observing the Middle East for the past six decades. Even the staunchly pro-Israeli Bush administration made similar observations.

In 2007 in Jerusalem, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice termed the Israeli/Palestinian peace process of “strategic interest” to the United States and expressed empathy for the beleaguered Palestinian people. “The prolonged experience of deprivation and humiliation can radicalize even normal people,” Rice said, referring to acts of Palestinian violence.

But the recent statement by Obama and Petraeus aroused alarm among some Israeli supporters who reject any suggestion that Israel’s harsh treatment of Palestinians might be a factor in the anti-Americanism surging through the Islamic world.

After Petraeus’s comment, the pro-Israeli Anti-Defamation League said linking the Palestinian plight and Muslim anger was “dangerous and counterproductive.”

“Gen. Petraeus has simply erred in linking the challenges faced by the U.S. and coalition forces in the region to a solution of the Israeli-Arab conflict, and blaming extremist activities on the absence of peace and the perceived U.S. favoritism for Israel,” ADL national director Abraham Foxman said.

However, the U.S. government’s widespread (though often unstated) recognition of the truth behind the assessment in Petraeus’s testimony has colored how the Obama administration has reacted to the intransigence of Israel’s Likud government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The U.S. government realizes how much it has done on Israel’s behalf, even to the extent of making Americans the targets of Islamic terrorism such as the 9/11 attacks (as the 9/11 Commission discovered but played down) and sacrificing the lives of thousands of U.S. troops fighting in Middle East conflicts.

That was the backdrop in March 2009 for President Obama’s outrage over the decision of the Netanyahu government to continue building Jewish housing in Arab East Jerusalem despite the fact that the move complicated U.S. peace initiatives and was announced as Vice President Joe Biden arrived to reaffirm American support for Israel.

However, another little-acknowledged truth about the U.S.-Israeli relationship is that Israeli leaders have frequently manipulated and misled American presidents out of a confidence that U.S. politicians deeply fear the political fallout from any public battle with Israel.

Given that history, few analysts who have followed the arc of U.S.-Israeli relations since Israel’s founding in 1948 believe that the Israeli government is likely to retreat very much in its confrontation with President Obama. [Now, nearly six years into Obama’s presidency after Netanyahu’s persistent obstruction of Palestinian peace talks and his steady expansion of Jewish settlements that assessment has proved out.]

Manipulating Eisenhower

In the 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower was a strong supporter of the fledgling Jewish state and had supplied Israel with advanced U.S. weaponry. Yet, despite Eisenhower’s generosity and good intentions, Israel sided with the British and French in 1956 in a conspiracy against him. Israeli leaders joined a secret arrangement that involved Israel invading Egypt’s Sinai, which then allowed France and Great Britain to introduce their own forces and reclaim control of the Suez Canal.

In reaction to the invasion, the Soviet Union threatened to intervene on the side of Egypt by sending ground troops. With Cold War tensions already stretched thin by the crises in Hungary and elsewhere, Eisenhower faced the possibility of a showdown between nuclear-armed adversaries. Eisenhower demanded that the Israeli-spearheaded invasion of the Sinai be stopped, and he brought financial and political pressures to bear on Great Britain and France.

A ceasefire soon was declared, and the British and French departed, but the Israelis dragged their heels. Eisenhower finally presented Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion with an ultimatum, a threat to cut off all U.S. aid. Finally, in March 1957, the Israelis withdrew. [For details, see Eisenhower and Israel by Isaac Alteras.]

Even as it backed down in the Sinai, Israel was involved in another monumental deception, a plan for building its own nuclear arsenal. In 1956, Israel had concluded an agreement with France to build a nuclear reactor in the Negev desert. Israel also signed a secret agreement with France to build an adjacent plutonium reprocessing plant.

Israel began constructing its nuclear plant in 1958. However, French President Charles de Gaulle was worried about nuclear weapons destabilizing the Middle East and insisted that Israel not develop a nuclear bomb from the plutonium processing plant. Prime Minister Ben-Gurion assured de Gaulle that the processing plant was for peaceful purposes only.

After John F. Kennedy became President, he also wrote to Ben-Gurion explicitly calling on Israel not to join the nuclear-weapons club, drawing another pledge from Ben-Gurion that Israel had no such intention. Nevertheless, Kennedy continued to press, forcing the Israelis to let U.S. scientists inspect the nuclear reactor at Dimona. But the Israelis first built a fake control room while bricking up and otherwise disguising parts of the building that housed the plutonium processing plant.

In return for allowing inspectors into Dimona, Ben-Gurion also demanded that the United States sell Hawk surface-to-air missiles to the Israeli military. Kennedy agreed to the sale as a show of good faith. Subsequently, however, the CIA got wind of the Dimona deception and leaked to the press that Israel was secretly building a nuclear bomb.

After Kennedy’s assassination, President Lyndon Johnson also grew concerned over Israel’s acquiring nuclear weapons. He asked then-Prime Minister Levi Eshkol to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Eshkol assured Johnson that Israel was studying the matter and would sign the treaty in due course. However, Israel has never signed the treaty and never has admitted that it developed nuclear weapons. [For details, see Israel and The Bomb by Avner Cohen.]

Trapping Johnson

As Israel grew more sophisticated and more confident in its dealings with U.S. presidents, it also sought to secure U.S. military assistance by exaggerating its vulnerability to Arab attacks. One such case occurred after the Egyptians closed off the Gulf of Aqaba to Israel in May 1967, denying the country its only access to the Red Sea. Israel threatened military action against Egypt if it did not re-open the Gulf.

Israel then asked President Johnson for military assistance in the event war broke out against the Egyptians. Johnson directed Richard Helms, the newly appointed head of the CIA to evaluate Israel’s military capability in the event of war against the surrounding Arab states.

On May 26, 1967, Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban met with Johnson, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, and Helms. Eban presented a Mossad estimate of the capability of the Arab armies, claiming that Israel was seriously outgunned by the Arab armies which had been supplied with advanced Soviet weaponry. Israel believed that, owing to its special relationship with the United States, the Mossad intelligence assessment would be taken at face value.

However, Helms was asked to present the CIA estimate of the Arabs’ military capabilities versus the Israeli army. The CIA’s analysts concluded that Israel could “defend successfully against simultaneous Arab attacks on all fronts, or hold on any three fronts while mounting a successful major offensive on the fourth.” [See “C.I.A. Analysis of the 1967 Arab Israeli War,” Center for the Study of Intelligence.]

“We do not believe that the Israeli appreciation was a serious estimate of the sort they would submit to their own high officials,” the CIA report said. “It is probably a gambit intended to influence the U.S. to provide military supplies, make more public commitments to Israel, to approve Israeli military initiatives, and put more pressure on Egyptian President Nasser.” [See A Look Over My Shoulder by Richard Helms.]

The CIA report stated further that the Soviet Union would probably not interfere militarily on behalf of the Arab states and that Israel would defeat the combined Arab armies in a matter of days. As a consequence, Johnson refused to airlift special military supplies to Israel, or to promise public support for Israel if Israel went to war.

The Six-Day Success

Despite Johnson’s resistance, Israel launched an attack on its Arab neighbors on June 5, 1967, claiming that the conflict was provoked when Egyptian forces opened fire. (The CIA later concluded that it was Israel that had first fired upon Egyptian forces.)

On June 8, at the height of the conflict, which would become known as the Six-Day War, Israeli fighter/bombers attacked the USS Liberty, a lightly armed communications vessel sent on a mission to relay information on the course of the war to U.S. naval intelligence.

The attack killed 34 Americans sailors, and wounded 171 others. Israeli leaders have always claimed that they had mistaken the U.S. vessel for an enemy ship, but a number of U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Dean Rusk, believed the attack was deliberate, possibly to prevent the United States from learning about Israel’s war plans. [See As I Saw It by Dean Rusk.]

However, in deference to Israel, the U.S. government did not aggressively pursue the matter of the Liberty attack and even issued misleading accounts in medal citations to crew members, leaving out the identity of the attackers.

Meanwhile, on land and in the air, Israel’s powerful military advanced, shredding the Arab defenses. Soon, the conflict escalated into another potential showdown between nuclear-armed superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States. On June 10, President Johnson received a “Hot Line” message from Soviet Premier Alexi Kosygin. The Kremlin warned of grave consequences if Israel continued its military campaign against Syria by entering and/or occupying that country.

Johnson dispatched the Sixth Fleet to the Mediterranean, in a move to convince the Soviets of American resolve. But a ceasefire was declared later the same day, with Israel ending up in control of Syria’s Golan Heights, Egypt’s Sinai, and Palestinian lands including Gaza and East Jerusalem.

But a wider war was averted. Johnson’s suspicions about Israel’s expansionist intent had kept the United States from making an even bigger commitment that might have led to the Soviets countering with an escalation of their own.

Nixon and Yom Kippur

Israeli occupation of those additional Arab lands set the stage for a resumption of hostilities six years later, on Oct. 6, 1973, with the Yom Kippur War, which began with a surprise attack by Egypt against Israeli forces in the Sinai.

The offensive caught Israel off guard and Arab forces were close to overrunning Israel’s outer defenses and entering the country. According to later accounts based primarily on Israeli leaks, Prime Minister Golda Meir and her “kitchen cabinet” ordered the arming of 13 nuclear weapons, which were aimed at Egyptian and Syrian targets.

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Simha Dintz warned President Richard Nixon that very serious repercussions would occur if the United States did not immediately begin an airlift of military equipment and personnel to Israel. Fearing that the Soviet Union might intervene and that nuclear war was possible, the U.S. military raised its alert level to DEFCON-3. U.S. Airborne units in Italy were put on full alert, and military aid was rushed to Israel.

Faced with a well-supplied Israeli counteroffensive and possible nuclear annihilation, the Arab forces fell back. The war ended on Oct. 26, 1973, but the United States had again been pushed to the brink of a possible superpower confrontation due to the unresolved Israeli-Arab conflict.

Nuclear ‘Ambiguity’

On Sept. 22, 1979, after some clouds unexpectedly broke over the South Indian Ocean, a U.S. intelligence satellite detected two bright flashes of light that were quickly interpreted as evidence of a nuclear test. The explosion was apparently one of several nuclear tests that Israel had undertaken in collaboration with the white-supremacist government of South Africa. But President Jimmy Carter at the start of his reelection bid didn’t want a showdown with Israel, especially on a point as sensitive as its secret nuclear work with the pariah government in Pretoria.

So, after news of the nuclear test leaked a month later, the Carter administration followed Israel’s longstanding policy of “ambiguity” about the existence of its nuclear arsenal, a charade dating back to Richard Nixon’s presidency with the United States pretending not to know for sure that Israel possessed nuclear bombs.

The Carter administration quickly claimed that there was “no confirmation” of a nuclear test, and a panel was set up to conclude that the flashes were “probably not from a nuclear explosion.” However, as investigative reporter Seymour Hersh and various nuclear experts later concluded, the flashes were most certainly an explosion of a low-yield nuclear weapon. [For details, see Hersh’s Samson Option.]

Getting Carter

Despite Carter’s helpful cover-up of the Israeli-South African nuclear test, he was still viewed with disdain by Israel’s hard-line Likud leadership. Indeed, he arguably was the target of Israel’s most audacious intervention in U.S. politics.

Prime Minister Menachem Begin was furious at Carter over the 1978 Camp David accords in which the U.S. President pushed the Israelis into returning the Sinai to the Egyptians in exchange for a peace agreement. The next year, Carter failed to protect the Shah of Iran, an important Israeli regional ally who was forced from power by Islamic militants. Then, when Carter acceded to demands from the Shah’s supporters to admit him to New York for cancer treatment, Iranian radicals seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage.

In 1980, as Carter focused on his reelection campaign, Begin saw both dangers and opportunities. High-ranking Israeli diplomat/spy David Kimche described Begin’s thinking in the 1991 book, The Last Option, recounting how Begin feared that Carter might force Israel to withdraw from the West Bank and accept a Palestinian state if he won a second term.

“Begin was being set up for diplomatic slaughter by the master butchers in Washington,” Kimche wrote. “They had, moreover, the apparent blessing of the two presidents, Carter and [Egyptian President Anwar] Sadat, for this bizarre and clumsy attempt at collusion designed to force Israel to abandon her refusal to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, and to agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state.”

Begin’s alarm was driven by the prospect of Carter being freed from the pressure of having to face another election, according to Kimche.

“Unbeknownst to the Israeli negotiators, the Egyptians held an ace up their sleeves, and they were waiting to play it,” Kimche wrote. “The card was President Carter’s tacit agreement that after the American presidential elections in November 1980, when Carter expected to be re-elected for a second term, he would be free to compel Israel to accept a settlement of the Palestinian problem on his and Egyptian terms, without having to fear the backlash of the American Jewish lobby.”

So, by spring 1980, Begin had privately sided with Carter’s Republican rival, Ronald Reagan, a reality that Carter soon realized. Questioned by congressional investigators in 1992 regarding allegations about Israel conspiring with Republicans in 1980 to help unseat him, Carter said he knew by April 1980 that “Israel cast their lot with Reagan,” according to notes found among the unpublished documents in the files of a House task force that looked into the so-called October Surprise case.

Carter traced the Israeli opposition to his reelection to a “lingering concern [among] Jewish leaders that I was too friendly with Arabs.” [For details, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

Doing What Was Necessary

Begin was an Israeli leader committed to do whatever he felt necessary to advance Israeli security interests and the dream of a Greater Israel with Jews controlling the ancient Biblical lands. Before Israel’s independence in 1948, he had led a Zionist terrorist group, and he founded the right-wing Likud Party in 1973 with the goal of “changing the facts on the ground” by placing Jewish settlements in Palestinian areas.

Begin’s anger over the Sinai deal and his fear of Carter’s reelection set the stage for secret collaboration between Begin and the Republicans, according to another former Israeli intelligence official, Ari Ben-Menashe.

“Begin loathed Carter for the peace agreement forced upon him at Camp David,” Ben-Menashe wrote in his 1992 memoir, Profits of War. “As Begin saw it, the agreement took away Sinai from Israel, did not create a comprehensive peace, and left the Palestinian issue hanging on Israel’s back.”

Ben-Menashe, an Iranian-born Jew who had immigrated to Israel as a teen-ager, became part of a secret Israeli program to reestablish its Iranian intelligence network that had been decimated by the Islamic revolution. Ben-Menashe wrote that Begin authorized shipments to Iran of small arms and some military spare parts, via South Africa, as early as September 1979 and continued them despite Iran’s seizure of the U.S. hostages in November 1979.

Extensive evidence also exists that Begin’s preference for Reagan led the Israelis to join in a covert operation with Republicans to contact Iranian leaders behind Carter’s back, interfering with the President’s efforts to free the 52 American hostages before the November 1980 elections.

That evidence includes statements from senior Iranian officials, international arms dealers, intelligence operatives (including Ben-Menashe), and Middle East political figures (including a cryptic confirmation from Begin’s successor Yitzhak Shamir). But the truth about the October Surprise case remains in dispute to this day. [For the latest details, see Robert Parry’s America’s Stolen Narrative.]

It is clear that after Reagan defeated Carter, and the U.S. hostages were released immediately upon Reagan being sworn in on Jan. 20, 1981, Israeli-brokered weapons shipments flowed to Iran with the secret blessing of the new Republican administration.

Dealing with Reagan

The Israel Lobby had grown exponentially since its start in the Eisenhower years. Israel’s influential supporters were now positioned to use every political device imaginable to lobby Congress and to get the White House to acquiesce to whatever Israel felt it needed.

President Reagan also credentialed into the Executive Branch a new group of pro-Israeli American officials the likes of Elliott Abrams, Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen and Jeane Kirkpatrick who became known as the neocons.

Yet, despite Reagan’s pro-Israel policies, the new U.S. President wasn’t immune from more Israeli deceptions and additional pressures. Indeed, whether because of the alleged collusion with Reagan during the 1980 campaign or because Israel sensed its greater clout within his administration, Begin demonstrated a new level of audacity.

In 1981, Israel recruited Jonathan Pollard, an American Navy intelligence analyst, as a spy to acquire American intelligence satellite photos. Eventually, Pollard purloined massive amounts of intelligence information, some of which was reportedly turned over to Soviet intelligence by Israel to win favors from Moscow.

Prime Minister Begin sensed, too, that the time was ripe to gain the upper hand on other Arab enemies. He turned his attention to Lebanon, where the Palestine Liberation Organization was based. When U.S. intelligence warned Reagan that Israel was massing troops along the border with Lebanon, Reagan sent a cable to Begin urging him not to invade. But Begin ignored Reagan’s plea and invaded Lebanon the following day, on June 6, 1982. [See Time, Aug. 16, 1982.]

As the offensive progressed, Reagan sought a cessation of hostilities between Israel and the PLO, but Israel was intent on killing as many PLO fighters as possible. Periodic U.S.-brokered ceasefires failed as Israel used the slightest provocation to resume fighting, supposedly in self-defense.

“When PLO sniper fire is followed by fourteen hours of Israeli bombardment that is stretching the definition of defensive action too far,” complained Reagan, who kept the picture of a horribly burned Lebanese child on his desk in the Oval Office as a reminder of the tragedy of Lebanon.

The American public nightly witnessed the Israeli bombardment of Beirut on television news broadcasts. The pictures of dead, mutilated children caught in the Israeli artillery barrages, were particularly wrenching. Repulsed by the carnage, the U.S. public decidedly favored forcing Israel to stop.

When Reagan warned Israel of possible sanctions if its forces continued to indiscriminately attack Beirut, Israel launched a major offensive against West Beirut the next day. In the United States, Israeli supporters demanded a meeting with Reagan to press Israel’s case. Though Reagan declined the meeting, one was set up for 40 leaders of various Jewish organizations with Vice President George H.W. Bush, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and Secretary of State George Shultz.

Reagan wrote once again to Begin, reminding him that Israel was allowed to use American weapons only for defensive purposes. He appealed to Begin’s humanitarianism to stop the bombardment.

The next day, in a meeting with Israeli supporters from the United States, Begin fumed that he would not be instructed by an American president or any other U.S. official. “Nobody is going to bring Israel to her knees. You must have forgotten that Jews do not kneel but to God,” Begin said. “Nobody is going to preach to us humanitarianism.”

More Tragedy

Begin’s government also used the tragedy in Lebanon as an opportunity to provide special favors for its American backers.

In From Beirut to Jerusalem, New York Times correspondent Thomas L. Freidman wrote that the Israeli Army conducted tours of the battlefront for influential U.S. donors. On one occasion, women from Hadassah were taken to the hills surrounding Beirut and were invited to look down on the city as Israeli artillery put on a display for them. The artillery began an enormous barrage, with shells landing throughout the densely populated city. The shells struck and destroyed apartments, shops, homes and shacks in the squalid refugee camps of the Palestinians.

A ceasefire was finally agreed upon by Israel and the PLO, requiring Yasser Arafat and all PLO fighters to leave Lebanon. The Palestinians were assured, as part of the agreement brokered by the United States, that their wives and children living in Lebanese refugee camps would be safe from harm. The PLO then left Lebanon by ship in August 1982, moving the PLO headquarters to Tunisia.

On Sept. 16, Israel’s Christian militia allies, with Israeli military support, entered the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps, and conducted a three-day campaign of rape and murder. Most of the dead with estimates varying from Israel’s count of 400 to a Palestinian estimate of nearly 1,000 were women and children.

American Marines, who had been dispatched to Lebanon as peacekeepers to oversee the PLO evacuation but then had departed, hastily returned after the Sabra and Shatila massacres. They were housed in a large warehouse complex near Beirut’s airport.

Over the next year, American forces found themselves drawn into the worsening Lebanese civil war. A key moment occurred on Sept. 18, 1983, when Reagan’s national security adviser Robert McFarlane, who was considered a staunch supporter of Israel, ordered U.S. warships to bombard Muslim targets inside Lebanon.

As Gen. Colin Powell, then a top aide to Defense Secretary Weinberger, wrote in his memoir, “When the shells started falling on the Shiites, they assumed the American ‘referee’ had taken sides.” [See Powell’s My American Journey.]

Muslim attacks on the Marines in Beirut soon escalated. On Oct. 23, 1983, two Shiite Muslims drove explosives-laden trucks into two buildings in Beirut, one housing French forces and the other the Marines. The blasts killed 241 Americans and 58 French.

Over the ensuing weeks, American forces continued to suffer losses in skirmishes with Muslim militiamen near the Beirut airport and American civilians also became targets for execution and hostage-taking. On Feb. 7, 1984, Reagan announced that the Marines would be redeployed from Lebanon. Within a couple of weeks, the last of the Marines had departed Lebanon, having suffered a total of 268 killed.

However, the hostage-taking of Americans continued, ironically creating an opportunity for Israel to intercede again through its contacts in Iran to seek the help of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s regime in getting the Lebanese Shiite militants to release captured Americans.

Israeli arms dealers and neocon Americans, such as Michael Ledeen, were used as middlemen for the secret arms-for-hostages deals, which Reagan approved and McFarlane oversaw. However, the arms deliveries via Israel failed to reduce the overall number of Americans held hostage in Lebanon and were eventually exposed in November 1986, becoming Reagan’s worst scandal, the Iran-Contra Affair.

Noriega and Harari

Though Israel’s government had created some headaches for Reagan, it also provided some help, allowing its arms dealers and intelligence operatives to assist some of Reagan’s favorite covert operations, particularly in Central America where the U.S. Congress had objected to military assistance going to human rights violators, like the Guatemalan military, and to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels.

As Vice President, George H.W. Bush met with Panamanian dictator Manuel Noreiga and considered him a compliant partner. Noriega subsequently funneled financial and other help to Reagan’s beloved Contras and once even volunteered to arrange the assassinations of leaders of the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

One of Noriega’s top operatives was Michael Harari, who had led Israeli assassination teams and who had served as the Israeli Mossad station chief in Mexico. In Panama, Harari became a key intermediary for Israeli contributions to the Contras, supplying them with arms and training, while Noriega handed over cash.

But Noriega and Harari were conducting other business in the region, allegedly working as middlemen and money launderers for the lucrative smuggling of cocaine into the United States. When that information surfaced in the U.S. news media and Noriega became notorious as an unstable thug George H.W. Bush as President found himself under enormous political pressure in 1989 to remove Noriega from power.

So, Bush prepared to invade Panama in December 1989. However, the Israeli government was concerned about the possible capture of Harari, whom U.S. prosecutors regarded as Noriega’s top co-conspirator but who also was someone possessing sensitive information about Israeli clandestine activities.

Six hours before U.S. troops were to invade Panama, Harari was warned of the impending attack, an alert that enabled him to flee and may have compromised the safety of American paratroopers and Special Forces units preparing to begin the assault, units that took surprisingly heavy casualties.

Tipped off by Israeli intelligence agents, Harari was whisked away by an Israeli embassy car, flying a diplomatic flag, with diplomatic license plates to ensure he would not be stopped and held, according to an interview that I had in January 1990 with Col. Edward Herrera Hassen, commander of Panama Defense Forces.

Harari soon was on his way back to Israel, where the government has since rebuffed U.S. requests that Harari be extradited to the United States to stand trial in connection with the Noriega case. For his part, Noriega was captured and brought to the United States where he was convicted of eight drug and racketeering charges. [Hariri died on Sept. 21, 2014, in Tel Aviv at the age of 87.]

The Lobby

The one constant in Israel’s endless maneuverings both with and against the U.S. government has been the effectiveness of the Israel Lobby and its many allies to fend off sustained criticism of Israel, sometimes by smearing critics as anti-Semitic or by mounting aggressive cover-ups when investigations threatened to expose ugly secrets.

Given this long record of success, U.S. presidents and other politicians have demonstrated a declining capacity to press Israel into making concessions, the way Eisenhower, Kennedy and Carter tried to do. For instance, when President Bill Clinton first met with Netanyahu in 1996, Clinton was surprised to find himself getting a lecture from Israel’s Likud prime minister. “Who the f**k does he think he is? Who’s the superpower here?” a peeved Clinton was quoted as saying. [See The Much Too Promised Land, by Aaron Miller, an aide to Clinton.]

Joe Lockhart, then White House spokesman, told Clayton Swisher, author of The Truth About Camp David, that Netanyahu was “one of the most obnoxious individuals you’re going to come into just a liar and a cheat. He could open his mouth and you could have no confidence that anything that came out of it was the truth.”

Faced with these difficulties and fending off Republican attempts to drive him from office Clinton put off any serious push for a Middle East peace accord until the last part of his presidency. Clinton negotiated the Wye River memorandum with Netanyahu and Arafat on Sept. 23, 1999, calling for reciprocal undertakings by both sides. The agreement called for the freezing of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, but Netanyahu failed to stop the settlement activity. Demolition of Palestinian homes, restrictions on movement by Palestinians, and settlement building continued.

Ultimately, Clinton failed to achieve any breakthrough as his final efforts collapsed amid finger-pointing and distrust between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Handling Bush

Israel’s hopes were buoyed further when George W. Bush entered the White House in 2001. Unlike his father who looked on the Israelis with suspicion and felt some kinship with the Arab oil states, the younger Bush was unabashedly pro-Israel.

Though Reagan had credentialed many young neocons in the 1980s, he had kept them mostly away from Middle East policy, which usually fell to less ideological operatives such as Philip Habib and James Baker. However, George W. Bush installed the neocons in key jobs for Mideast policy, with the likes of Elliott Abrams at the National Security Council, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith at the Pentagon, and Lewis Libby inside Vice President Dick Cheney’s office.

The neocons arrived with a plan to transform the Middle East based on a scheme prepared by a group of American neocons, including Perle and Feith, for Netanyahu in 1996. Called “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” the idea was to bring to heel all the antagonistic states confronting Israel.

The “clean break” was to abandon the idea of achieving peace in the region through mutual understanding and compromise. Instead, there would be “peace through strength,” including violent removal of leaders who were viewed as hostile to Israel’s interests.

The plan sought the ouster of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq, which was called “an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right.” After Hussein’s ouster, the plan envisioned destabilizing the Assad dynasty in Syria with hopes of replacing it with regime more favorable to Israel. That, in turn, would push Lebanon into Israel’s arms and contribute to the destruction of Hezbollah, Israel’s tenacious foe in South Lebanon.

The removal of Hezbollah in Lebanon would, in turn, weaken Iran’s influence, both in Lebanon and in the occupied territories of Gaza and the West Bank, where Hamas and other Palestinian militants would find themselves cornered.

But what the “clean break” needed was the military might of the United States, since some of the targets like Iraq were too far away and too powerful to be overwhelmed even by Israel’s highly efficient military. The cost in Israeli lives and to Israel’s economy from such overreach would have been staggering.

The only way to implement the strategy was to enlist a U.S. president, his administration and the Congress to join Israel in this audacious undertaking. That opportunity presented itself when Bush ascended to the White House and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, created a receptive political climate in the United States.

Turning to Iraq

After a quick strike against al-Qaeda and its allies in Afghanistan, the Bush administration turned its attention to conquering Iraq. However, even after the 9/11 attacks, the neocons and President Bush had to come up with rationales that were sellable to the American people, while playing down any suggestion that the coming conflicts were partially designed to advance Israel’s interests.

So, the Bush administration put together tales about Iraqi stockpiles of WMD, its “reconstituted” nuclear weapons program, and its alleged ties to al-Qaeda and other terrorists determined to strike at the United States. The PR operation worked like a charm. Bush rallied Congress and much of the American public behind an unprovoked invasion of Iraq, which began on March 19, 2003, and drove Saddam Hussein’s government from power three weeks later.

At the time, the joke circulating among neocons was where to go next, Syria or Iran, with the punch line: “Real men go to Tehran!”

Meanwhile, Israel continued collecting as much intelligence as possible from the United States about the next desired target, Iran. On Aug. 27, 2004, CBS News broke a story about an FBI investigation into a possible spy working for Israel as a policy analyst for Under Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz. The official was identified as Lawrence Franklin.

Franklin pled guilty to passing a classified Presidential Directive and other sensitive documents pertaining to U.S. foreign policy regarding Iran to the powerful Israeli lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which shared the information with Israel.

According to FBI surveillance tapes, Franklin relayed top secret information to Steve Rosen, AIPAC’s policy director, and Keith Weissman, a senior policy analyst with AIPAC.  On Aug. 30, 2004, Israeli officials admitted that Franklin had met repeatedly with Naor Gilon, head of the political department at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, and a specialist on Iran’s nuclear programs.

Franklin was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison for passing classified information to a pro-Israel lobby group and an Israeli diplomat. No charges were brought against the AIPAC executives or the Israeli diplomat.

Bloody Chaos

Meanwhile, back in the Middle East, it turned out that occupying Iraq was more difficult than the Bush administration had anticipated. Ultimately, more than 4,400 American soldiers died in the conflict along with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

The bloody chaos in Iraq also meant that the neocon “real men” couldn’t go either to Syria or Iran, at least not right away. They were forced into a waiting game, counting on the short memories of the American people before revving up the fear machine again to justify moving to the next phase.

When the U.S. death toll finally began to decline in Iraq, the neocons stepped up their alarms about Iran becoming a danger to the world by developing nuclear weapons (although Iran has disavowed any desire to have nukes and U.S. intelligence expressed confidence in 2007 that Iran had stopped work on a warhead four years earlier).

Still, while trying to keep the focus away from its own nuclear arsenal, Israel has pushed the international community to bring pressure on Iran, in part by threatening to mount its own military attack on Iran if the U.S. government and other leading powers don’t act aggressively.

The neocon anti-Iran plans were complicated by the victory of Barack Obama, who promised to reach out in a more respectful way to the Muslim world. Inside Israel and in U.S. neocon circles, complaints quickly spread about Obama’s coziness with Muslims (even claims that he was a secret Muslim or anti-Semitic). Obama further antagonized the neocons and Israeli hardliners by suggesting a linkage between the festering Palestinian problem and dangers to U.S. national security, including violence against U.S. troops in the Middle East.

Netanyahu, who again had assumed the post of prime minister, and the neocons wanted U.S. policy refocused on Iran, with little attention on Israel as it continued its longstanding policy of building more and more Jewish settlements on what was once Palestinian land.

In reaction to Netanyahu’s unwillingness to curb those settlements and with the announcement of more housing units during Biden’s visit Obama retaliated by subjecting Netanyahu to several slights, including refusing to have photographs taken of the two of them meeting at the White House.

Obama walked out of one meeting with Netanyahu after failing to get his written promise for a concession on halting further settlement construction. Obama went to dinner alone, a very pointed insult to Netanyahu. As Obama left the meeting, he said, “Let me know if there is anything new,” according to a member of Congress who was present.

Secret Pacts

For his part, Netanyahu has claimed that secret agreements with the Bush administration allow for the continued building of settlements. However, Obama said on National Public Radio that he does not consider himself bound by secret oral agreements that may have been made by President Bush.

Instead, Obama claims Israel is bound by the 2003 “Road Map” agreement which prohibits building more settlements. “I’ve said clearly to the Israelis both privately and publicly that a freeze on settlements, including natural growth, is part of these obligations,” Obama said.

Still, Obama has shied away from publicly challenging Israel on some of its most sensitive issues, such as its undeclared nuclear-weapons arsenal. Like presidents back to Nixon, Obama has participated in the charade of “ambiguity.” Even as he demanded “transparency” from other countries, Obama continued to dance around questions regarding whether Israel has nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu and Israel surely have vulnerabilities. Without America’s military, diplomatic and economic support, Israel could not exist in its present form. One-quarter of Israeli wage incomes are derived from American aid money, German reparations and various charities. Without that outside assistance, Israel’s standard of living would sink dramatically.

According to the Congressional Research Service, Israel receives $2.4 billion a year in U.S. government grants, military assistance, loan guarantees, and sundry other sources. The United States also pays Egypt another $2 billion to keep the peace with Israel. The combined assistance to both countries comprises nearly one half of all U.S. foreign aid assistance worldwide.

In a sense, Israel can’t be blamed for standing up for itself, especially given the long history of brutality and oppression directed against Jews. However, Israeli leaders have used this tragic history to justify their own harsh treatment of others, especially the Palestinians, many of whom were uprooted from their ancestral homes.

Over the past six decades, Israeli leaders also have refined their strategies for taking advantage of their staunchest ally, the United States. Today, with many powerful friends inside the United States and with Obama facing intense political pressure over his domestic and national security policies the Israeli government has plenty of reasons to believe that it can out-fox and outlast the current U.S. president as it did many of his predecessors.

Morgan Strong is a former professor of Middle Eastern history, and was an advisor to CBS News “60 Minutes” on the Middle East. He is author of ebook, The Israeli Lobby and Me, Bush Family History, and Hoodwinking American Presidents.

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31 comments for “How Israel Out-Foxed US Presidents

  1. Vesuvius
    October 2, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    Anyone, especially U.S. Citizens, should read a recently published study giving information on this problem: “Against Our Better Judgment” by Alison Weir.
    This problem goes back to the very founding of the State of Israel, as shown in the book.

    Please note that the author is an American journalist, not the British historian by the same name.

    • Abe
      October 2, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      What every American needs to know about Israel/Palestine
      http://www.ifamericansknew.org/

      Although it is not often reported by the mainstream media, a large proportion of American diplomatic and military experts have long held that U.S. support of Israel is often contrary to and, in fact, extremely damaging to U.S. interests.

      Support for Israel interferes with: American relations with the oil-producing nations, with whom we previously had friendly ties; with Muslim consumers, who represent 1.2 billion people world-wide; and removes much-needed money from domestic American requirements — tax revenues that could be addressed to domestic needs are instead sent abroad to prop up a system of discrimination that is antithetical to American principles of equality and democracy.

      In addition, the ‘special relationship’ between the U.S. and Israel is increasingly imperiling American lives.

      Why, then, is this done? Close examination of the history and current situation reveals that U.S. policies in the Middle East are rarely driven by U.S. interests. Rather, they are largely driven by two very different factors:

      1) Special-interest lobbying of the sort that is common to Washington. The only difference from typical lobby groups is that this lobbying is on behalf of a foreign government. Fortune Magazine rates one of the many lobby organizations working on behalf of Israel, AIPAC, as the second most powerful lobby in Washington. In total, many experts rate the pro-Israel interest group as the most powerful lobby in Washington.

      2) The efforts of a growing number of individuals with close ties to Israel (known as neoconservatives) who have attained key positions at high levels of the U.S. administration, State Department, and Pentagon.

      Interestingly, the oil and weapons industries, although very influential over parts of American Middle East policy, are not responsible for our relationship with Israel. In fact, quite often both of these industries find our support for Israel undermines their corporate interests in the region.

      • Bravapp
        October 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm

        Israel didn’t outfox anyone. The US Presidents were part of the Zionist Cabal or they wouldn’t have gotten elected to begin with. Like Congress, they are vetted out if they are not-Zio-Filth Compliant

  2. onno
    October 2, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Excellent article giving a short review of the US-Israel relationship and the reasons why Americans are hated in the Muslim World. During my first visit to Israel in 1970 Israel violated the human rights of Palestinians and nothing has changed in the past 40+ years. Palestinians are still kept in open prisons – Gaza – are facing in-human treatment by Israel, confiscate their properties at random, murder their women and children at will, destroying their properties and even bombing UN schools killing in the past war more than 2000 people and causing damages between $ 4 – $ 6 billion.
    Indeed US aggression in the world is increases atrocities and violence without responsible president and cabinet members ever being brought to the International Criminal Court which apparently only prosecutes the small fish NOT BULLY USA. And then having the nerve to accuse Russia of aggression in Ukraine while president Putin is only defending his borders and his people against USA/NATO aggression.

    And all this with a US president in the White House who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. This is western politics at its best.

  3. Abe
    October 2, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Alison Weir: Findings from the new book “Against Our Better Judgement”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ly75-R5TN8

    Presentation at the National Summit to Reassess the U.S.-Israel “Special Relationship” on March 7, 2014 at the National Press Club.

    Alison Weir is president of the Council for the National Interest, created by ambassadors and former Congressmen in 1989 and executive director of If Americans Knew, a nonprofit organization she founded following an independent investigation as a freelance journalist to the West Bank and Gaza in early 2001. She writes and speaks widely on Israel-Palestine, and is considered the foremost analyst on media coverage of the region.

    Her articles have appeared in Censored 2005, The Encyclopedia of Palestine-Israel, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, CounterPunch, Editor & Publisher, The Link, and other books and publications. She has spoken in England, Wales, Qatar, Baghdad, Ramallah, Asia Media Summits in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, on Capitol Hill, and at numerous American universities, including Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Berkeley, Georgetown, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and the Naval Postgraduate Institute. In 2004 she was inducted into honorary membership of Phi Alpha Literary Society at Illinois College. The award cited her as a: “Courageous journalist-lecturer on behalf of human rights. She is the first woman in history to receive an honorary membership in Phi Alpha.”

    The New York Times reported of her presentation: “When the speech ended, Ms. Weir was met with thunderous applause, and across the room there was a widespread sense of satisfaction that someone was saying what needed to be said.” Former US Senator Tom Campbell stated: “Ms. Weir presents a powerful, well documented view of the Middle East today. She is intelligent, careful, and critical. American policy makers would benefit greatly from hearing her first-hand observations and attempting to answer the questions she poses.”

    • JWalters
      October 3, 2014 at 7:46 pm

      Thanks for the link to Alison Weir’s talk. I’m also glad to know there is a serious push to re-assess the U.S. relationship with Israel, which is based entirely on bribery and blackmail by war profiteers, and their use of Jewish supremacists and other religious dupes as tools.

  4. Abe
    October 2, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    During a White House visit, President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu ignored tough issues around Israeli-Gaza conflict.

    http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=12470

    Critics point to Israel remaining as the number-one recipient of U.S. foreign aid. It appears that U.S. and Israeli relations will continue to be business as usual.

    • October 3, 2014 at 2:27 am

      True.

      The US has/will veto every Palestinian proposal and not care about whatever signal that sends, just as it has done in the past on ever so many 14-to-1 votes. And now, with Cameron at Number 10 Downing Street, the vote could well be 13-2 with the UK joining the US. Business as usual! Why do they hate us ?

    • John J
      October 3, 2014 at 11:54 am

      I checked out that web site Abe, and I am quite sure that when Netanyahu says he is for a peaceful 2 state solution he means Israel has control of the West Bank and Gaza with Jordan becoming the Palestinian state. That was a purported Israeli motive for the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, that the Palestinians would turn on Jordan and take control there where many Palestinians already reside.

  5. Joe Tedesky
    October 2, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    This article is interesting for the fact that it explains events in a spread sheet kind of way. Often I have a difficult time focusing in on America’s many varieties of involvement with Israel. What always amazes me is the influence that Israel/AIPAC has over the US political system. It is very freighting to say the least.

    Netanyahu is visiting America at this very moment. Does his visit have any relationship to the upcoming elections? It seems as though we should all prepare ourselves to having a Republican controlled Senate. What will a lame duck congress do? Will President Obama follow in the foot steps of Bill Clinton. Even Jimmy Carter had a tough time in his last two years dealing with the powerful Republicans.

    Lastly, I am still concerned with the safety of the First Family. This baloney with the Secret Service just flat out smells. I mean is someone pushing the president up against the wall? Are there forces at work here attempting to get their way by promoting fear within the president’s mine?

    • Abe
      October 2, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      Yup. We’ve seen a stream of “message jobs” since 9/11 and the 2001 anthrax attacks.

    • Abe
      October 2, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      Legendary comedian Bill Hicks speaking about the mother of all “message jobs”
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPTJXdBBrcU

      • Joe Tedesky
        October 2, 2014 at 7:37 pm

        Right on!

  6. Brendan
    October 2, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    That’s a really interesting history of Israel’s control over American Middle East policy since soon after its foundation. Some of the revelations by top American politicians and officials deserve more attention.

    I wonder if Israel’s attack on the USS Liberty was more a show of strength to Lyndon Johnson than an attempt to prevent the US from intercepting Israeli communications. Maybe they were showing that not only did they control the eastern Meditarranean but that they could punish Johnson for blocking their veiled attempts to receive more military aid from the US. If that was their intention they were proved right. Not only did Johnson cover up the attack on the Liberty, not long after that he agreed to send fifty fighter jets to Israel.

    The one thing I disagree with is the view expressed in the title and the final paragraph that Israel can ‘out-fox’ US presidents. It doesn’t outfox the presidency, it controls it. It doesn’t need to outfox anyone when it can simply get away with anything that would cause isolation and sanctions for any other country. Israel can lie, cheat, steal and kill because it has the American media and political establishment on its side. They will always portray Israel as a beacon of freedom, peace and democracy, no matter what it does.

  7. Abe
    October 2, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    On Israel, US Presidents, nuclear programs and “message jobs”

    Kennedy, Dimona, and Israel’s Deadly Secrets
    http://ironlight.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/kennedy-dimona-and-israels-deadly-secrets/

    The Israelis spared no effort to get the bomb.

    Israel crossed the nuclear weapons threshold on the eve of the 1967 Six Day War.

  8. JWalters
    October 2, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks for reprinting this deep, honest, and timely look at Israel’s “special” relationship with the U.S. If it were not for the massive amounts of money Israeli interests pour into American politics, American foreign policy in the Middle East would not be so utterly dominated by Israel. The real shame is that this has always been corrupt money.
    http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

    And the media is similarly subjugated by money and fear. For example, Charlie Rose is not an ignorant man. He just can’t let his show contradict his Israeli boss, Michael Bloomberg.

    I found interesting your account of the Israelis colluding with the Republican party to torpedo Carter’s efforts to free American hostages in Iran, swinging the election to Reagan. The whole Benghazi incident looks a lot like that previous incident, and would be easily within Israeli capability. The Republican sabotage of Johnson’s peace deal with the Vietnamese, swinging the election to Nixon. Instead of having a secret plan to bring peace, Nixon had a secret plan to keep the war profits flowing. And now it comes out that Kissinger and Ford were planning a war with Cuba, had Carter not beat Ford.

    The Republican party is definitely the party of the war profiteers, despite the subjugation and complicity of many Democrats. Obama, for instance, is clearly attempting to resist the war profiteers, despite having to deal with seriously dangerous situations. The situation is complicated by those who want to avoid participating in any war at all costs. They readily call the current conflict Obama’s war, but don’t have the guts to call it Israel’s war, or AIPAC’s war. Thus their chorus helps perpetuate Israeli domination, and the very conflicts they decry.

  9. Abe
    October 2, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    I am uncertain about Obama’s degree of complicity. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate certainly does provide the requisite Goldstein figure for the Republican perpetual Two Minutes Hate (though Hilary always will do in a pinch).

    Nevertheless, the current POTUS has done everything humanly possible to ensure that these neocon scumbags retain several plush pillows in the Master Bedroom of the White House.

    My instincts tell me that Barack’s job description was to rack the snooker table for full-on fascism in 2016, and he has performed most admirably.

  10. Zachary Smith
    October 2, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    “When PLO sniper fire is followed by fourteen hours of Israeli bombardment that is stretching the definition of defensive action too far,” complained Reagan, who kept the picture of a horribly burned Lebanese child on his desk in the Oval Office as a reminder of the tragedy of Lebanon.

    This part took me by surprise, for I’ve always assumed that Reagan was an uncaring monster even in his private life.

    So why didn’t he have any leverage with Israel? Because the Israelis had him by the plums!

    Extensive evidence also exists that Begin’s preference for Reagan led the Israelis to join in a covert operation with Republicans to contact Iranian leaders behind Carter’s back, interfering with the President’s efforts to free the 52 American hostages before the November 1980 elections.

    If Reagan got out of line, all Israel had to do was ‘leak’ enough information about the GOP’s treason during the 1980 election to get him impeached. This was probably when Israel learned that pure blackmail would work with US presidents.

    Given how Israel now has total access to the information collected by the US Police State, is it any wonder they can so easily control Congress?

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 2, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      Zachary, I agree. The Reagan administration certainly would have been beholden to who ever would have had any knowledge of their collaboration they had had with Iran at that time. That for me would have been a big enough flaw to having the Israeli’s involved that I would have denied that method only to fine another avenue for freeing our US hostages. Besides the fact that what they did was illegal.

      Earlier in another article we talked about LBJ’s lack of going after Nixon after Nixon tampered with the Viet nam peace talks. Many of us agreed that Nixon knew to much about Dallas, so therefore LBJ’s hands were tied.

      I fine it utterly amazing how the sins of those elite often effect our citizenry in such deadly ways. So, who knows what goes on behind closed doors. We just need to deal with what comes next.
      Joe Tedesky

  11. Abe
    October 2, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Chris Hedges Called “antisemitic idiot” for Mentioning Israel’s History of Killing Palestinian Children (video)
    http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2014/09/17/chris-hedges-called-antisemitic-idiot-for-mentioning-israels-history-of-killing-palestinian-children-video/

    “The refusal to speak out for the people of Gaza is not tangential to our political life. The pathetic, Stalinist-like plebiscite in the [U.S.] Senate, where all 100 senators trotted out like AIPAC windup dolls to cheer on the Israeli bombing of homes, apartment blocks, schools—where hundreds of terrified families were taking shelter—water treatment plants, power stations, hospitals, and of course boys playing soccer on a beach, exposes the surrender of our political class to cash-rich lobbying groups and corporate power. The people of Gaza are expendable. They are poor. They are powerless. And they have no money. Just like the poor people of color in this country whose bodies, locked in cages, enrich the prison-industrial complex.

    “When you are willing to sacrifice the most vulnerable for political expediency it becomes easy, as Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have amply illustrated, to sacrifice all who are vulnerable—our own poor, workers, the sick, the elderly, students and our middle class. This is a Faustian compact. It ends by selling your soul to Goldman Sachs and ExxonMobil. It ends by deifying a military machine, now largely beyond civilian control, that, along with our organs of state security, has established surveillance and a security state that make us the most spied-upon, eavesdropped, monitored and photographed populace in human history. It is impossible to describe yourself as free when you are constantly watched. This is the relationship of a master and a slave.

    “Politics, if we take politics to mean the shaping and discussion of issues, concerns and laws that foster the common good, is no longer the business of our traditional political institutions. These institutions, including the two major political parties, the courts and the press, are not democratic. They are used to crush any vestiges of civic life that calls, as a traditional democracy does, on its citizens to share among all its members the benefits, sacrifices and risks of a nation. They offer only the facade of politics, along with elaborate, choreographed spectacles filled with skillfully manufactured emotion and devoid of real political content. We have devolved into what Alexis de Tocqueville feared — ‘democratic despotism.'”

    – Chris Hedges

  12. AmericaFIrst
    October 3, 2014 at 12:26 am

    No proud American should support the policies of the current Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu, which engages in the suppression of basic human and civil rights against Palestinians, as well as occupying and confiscating their land.

    Netanyahu has no interest in peace with the Palestinians. The increased settlement building on Palestinian land as well as the increased confiscation and bulldozing of Palestinian homes is evidence of this.

    Moreover, Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza and killing of innocent women and children is evidence that Netanyahu simply wants to annihilate the Palestinians.

    Israel is simply becoming an Apartheid state, no different than the former South African regime. The increased settlements will only hasten the boycott and divest (BDS) movement against Israel.

    The current Israeli government simply operates outside of the norms of decent civilized nations.

  13. Vesuvius
    October 3, 2014 at 6:52 am

    The assasination of President Kennedy has been mentioned here, and the fingerprints of Israel and Mossad are said to be found in that tragic event. (Thanks for the link to Ironlight.)

    Recently, I have read the very thorough study by Dr James W. Douglass, “JFK and the Unspeakable” (2010). I got a clear impression that Dr Douglass has left no stone unturned in his investigation. He does not mention Israel, Ben-Gurion or Mossad.

    BUT: The really disturbing conclusion of his book, in my view is this: As U.S. Authorities are still denying the truth to be told to the American public, and to the World, and are still sitting on important (classified) documents, the stage is still set, from 1963 onwards, for generally the same culprits to be able to execute a similar assassination on the high level, (if “need” be).

    In Douglass’ book, the main culprits are domestic (CIA, Pentagon), acting with the help of the Mafia, exiled Cubans, etc. Maybe also Israel was helpful in some way, which Dr Douglass has overlooked. Then, perhaps, Mossad was/is more skilled than the other ones.

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 3, 2014 at 7:20 am

      Vesuvius, imagine being the poor soul who aided in the crime, and didn’t even realize they were involved. Every ‘drill’ could become an executed operational. Like being an assembly line worker that doesn’t even know what he’s making. Joe Tedesky

      Ps I don’t think Israel was involved in the JFK murder. Doesn’t mean they didn’t know, but I don’t believe they were involved.

      • F. G. Sanford
        October 3, 2014 at 11:36 am

        Joe – I think you’re right. Israel and its American boot lickers operate in the “public” state arena, though they prefer to keep a low profile where possible. The JFK snuff was a “deep state” operation, and that represents an entirely different milieu. Those who insist on including Israel in that operation fail to realize that both they AND the Israelis are being duped. Israel exists only as long as the “deep state” has patience for its transgressions, and I believe that patience may be wearing thin. That’s not good news for any of us – not even the Palestinians.

        • Joe Tedesky
          October 3, 2014 at 11:56 am

          Yeah, why couldn’t they repeal the ‘Balfour Declaration’…he who giveth may take it awayth….
          …. But I do believe the beast is in London & New York….wait, he lives next door ….I’ll check it out! Good F.G.
          Joe Tedesky

  14. Hillary
    October 3, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    “played by Israel, as Morgan Strong wrote in 2010”

    Ans as lenny Bruce would say “What can you expect from goyim? “
    ..
    BTW to Joe & F. G. –the JFK snuff profited Israel the most as it got its nuclear bomb.
    James Angleton seems to have “played his part”.
    http://www.truedemocracy.net/td14/16.html

    • Joe Tedesky
      October 4, 2014 at 1:17 am

      You know Hillary you are probably right about Zionist JFK assassination involvement. My problem is when I review who may have had a motive to kill JFK the list gets so long, that I start eliminating suspects. I do recall when I first heard about the Diomona (not spelled right) plant issue Kennedy had with Israel…and all the stuff that when on up in Apollo Pa., Operation NUMEC…well you maybe on to something. If Israel isn’t on the possible JFK assassination team ….well Netanyu won’t let us down for lack off piss offness to keep on that Israeli report card!

  15. Vesuvius
    October 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    “The Why of Obama’s Failed Hope” by Greg Maybury, on Consortiumnews today, illustrates hypotetically how POTUS, the President Of The United States, is at mercy of “the Powers that Be (or PTBs) of the New World Order”.

    Much the same as what I was thinking in my comment on Oct 3, at 6:52 a.m,

  16. October 7, 2014 at 8:59 am

    “How Israel Out-Foxed US Presidents”? :-) When listening to Obamas speeches to AIPAC , the title becomes totally absurd ;-) And, lets face it, who the heck is financing the candidates, be it senators and presidents? Sharon’s “We Jews control America” is a mere fact. Sadly but true.

  17. hammersmith
    October 15, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Our presidents seem a rather dim lot for sure…”outfoxed” gives them too much credit.

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