UK Israel Lobby Adds Muscle as US Lobby Weakens

British politics are being plunged into a stifling silence on the longest example of mass human rights abuses sanctioned by the West in modern history, writes Jonathan Cook.

By JonathanCook
Jonathan-Cook.net

For decades it was all but taboo to suggest that pro-Israel lobbies in the United States such as AIPAC used their money and influence to keep lawmakers firmly in check on Israel-related issues — even if one had to be blind not to notice that that was exactly what they were up to.

When back in February U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar pointed out the obvious – that U.S. lawmakers were routinely expected to submit to the lobby’s dictates on Israel, a foreign country – her colleagues clamored to distance themselves from her, just as one might have expected were the pro-Israel lobby to wield the very power Omar claimed.

But surprisingly Omar did not – at least immediately – suffer the crushing fate of those who previously tried to raise this issue. Although she was pressured into apologizing, she was not battered into complete submission for her honesty.

She received support on social media, as well as a wavering, muted defense from Democratic grandee Nancy Pelosi, and even a relatively sympathetic hearing from a few prominent figures in the U.S. Jewish community.

The Benjamins Do Matter

Omar’s comments have confronted – and started to expose – one of the most enduring absurdities in debates about U.S. politics. Traditionally it has been treated as anti-Semitic to argue that the pro-Israel lobby actually lobbies for its chosen cause – exactly as other major lobbies do, from the financial services industries to the health and gun lobbies – and that, as with other lobbies enjoying significant financial clout, it usually gets its way.

Omar found herself in the firing line in February when she noted that what mattered in U.S. politics was “It’s all about the Benjamins” – an apparent reference to the 1997 Puff Daddy song of the same name in which Benjamins refer to $100 bills. She later clarified that AIPAC leverages funds over congressional and presidential candidates.

The claim that the pro-Israel lobby isn’t really in the persuasion business can only be sustained on the preposterous basis that Israeli and U.S. interests are so in tune that AIPAC and other organizations serve as little more than cheerleaders for the two countries’ “unbreakable bond.” Presumably on this view, the enormous sums of money raised are needed only to fund the celebrations.

Making the irrefutable observation that the pro-Israel lobby does actually lobby on Israel’s behalf, and very successfully, is typically denounced as anti-Semitism. Omar’s comments were perceived as anti-Semitic on the grounds that she pointed to the canard that Jews wield outsized influence using money to sway policymaking.

Allegations of anti-Semitism against her deepened days later when she gave a talk in Washington, D.C., and questioned why it was that she could talk about the influence of the National Rifle Association and Big Pharma but not the pro-Israel lobby – or “the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

That pro-Israel lobbyists – as opposed to Jews generally – do have dual loyalty seems a peculiar thing to deny, given that the purpose of groups like AIPAC is to rally support for Israel in Congress.

Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a key backer of Republican candidates for the presidency, has never hidden his passion not only for Israel but specifically for the ultra-nationalist governments of Benjamin Netanyahu.

In fact, he is so committed to Netanyahu’s survival that he spent nearly $200 million propping up an Israeli newspaper over its first seven years – all so he could assist the prime minister of a foreign country.

Similarly, Haim Saban, one of the main donors to Democratic presidential candidates, including Hillary Clinton, has made no secret of his commitment to Israel. He has said: “I’m a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel.”

Saban presents U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with an award at Brooking Institution's 2016 Saban Forum. (State Department via Wikimedia Commons)

Saban honors U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at Brooking Institution’s 2016 Saban Forum. (State Department via Wikimedia Commons)

Might Saban and Adelson’s “Benjamins” have influenced the very pro-Israel – and very anti-Palestinian – positions of Democratic and Republican presidential candidates? You would have to be supremely naïve or dishonest to claim not.

‘No Bernie-Like Approach’

This point really should be beyond doubt by now. This month The New York Times published an unprecedented essay in which author Nathan Thrall quoted political insiders and lobbyists making plain that, as one would expect, the pro-Israel lobby uses its money to pressure congressional candidates to toe the lobby’s line on Israel.

Some of the lobby’s power operates at the level of assumption about what Jewish donors expect in return for their money. According to the Times, some three-quarters of all donations over $500,000 to the major political action committee supporting Democratic nominees for the U.S. Senate race in 2018 were made by Jews.

Though many of those donors may not rate Israel as their main cause, a former Clinton campaign aide noted that the recipients of this largesse necessarily tailor their foreign policy positions so as not to antagonize such donors. As a result, candidates avoid even the mild criticism of Israel adopted by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Democratic party’s challenger to Clinton in the 2016 presidential race and a primary contender for 2020.

“There’s no major donor that I can think of who is looking for someone to take a Bernie-like approach,” said the aide. Sanders raised his campaign funds from small donations rather these major funders, leaving him freer to speak openly about Israel.

Other insiders are more explicit still. Ben Rhodes, a former confidant of Barack Obama, says the lobby effectively tied Obama’s hand’s domestically on efforts to promote peace. “The Washington view of Israel-Palestine is still shaped by the donor class,” he told Thrall, adding: “The donor class is profoundly to the right of where the activists are, and frankly, where the majority of the Jewish community is.”

Obama: Hands tied by AIPAC. (White House via Flickr)

Obama: Hands tied by AIPAC. (White House via Flickr)

Joel Rubin, a former political director at lobby group J Street and a founding board member of the centrist Jewish Democratic Council of America, concurred: “The fight over Israel used to be about voters. It’s more about donors now.”

All of these insiders are stating that the expectations of major donors align candidates’ U.S. foreign policy positions with Israel’s interests, not necessarily those of the U.S. It is hard not to interpret that as reformulation of “dual loyalty.”

What’s so significant about the Times article is that it signals, as did the muted furor over Omar’s comments, that the pro-Israel lobby is weakening. No powerful lobby, including the Israel one, wants to be forced out of the shadows. It wants to remain in the darkness, where it can most comfortably exercise its influence without scrutiny or criticism.

The pro-Israel lobby’s loyalty to Israel is no longer unmentionable. But it is also not unique.

As Mondoweiss recently noted, Hannah Arendt, the Jewish scholar and fugitive from Nazi Germany, pointed to the inevitability of the “double loyalty conflict” in her 1944 essay “Zionism Reconsidered,” where she foreshadowed the rise of a pro-Israel lobby and its potential negative impacts on American Jews. It was, she wrote, “an unavoidable problem of every national movement of a people living within the boundaries of other states and unwilling to resign their civil and political rights therein.”

For that reason, the U.S.-Cuban lobby has an obvious dual loyalty problem too. It’s just that, given the Cuban lobby’s priority is overthrowing the Cuban government – a desire shared in Washington – the issue is largely moot.

In Israel’s case, however, there is a big and growing gap between image and reality. On the one hand, Washington professes a commitment to peace-making and a promise to act as an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians. And on the other, the reality is it has offered full-throated support for a series of ultra-nationalist Israeli governments determined to destroy any hope of peace and swallow up the last vestiges of a potential Palestinian state.

The Lord’s Work

It’s important to point out that advocates for Israel are not only Jews. While the pro-Israel lobby represents the views of a proportion of Jewish Americans, it is also significantly comprised of Christians, evangelicals in particular.

Millions of these Christians – including Vice-President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – can be accused of dual loyalty too. They regard Israel’s role in Biblical prophecy as far more important than the future of the U.S., or mankind for that matter.

For many of these evangelicals, bringing about the end of the world by ensuring Jews return to their Biblical homeland – triggering a final reckoning at the Battle of Armageddon – is the fulfillment of God’s will. And if it’s a choice between support for Washington’s largely secular elites and support for God, they know very definitely where they stand.

Again, the Times has started to shine a light on the strange role of Israel in the U.S. political constellation. Another recent article reminded readers that in 2015 Pompeo spoke of the end-times struggle phrophesied to take place in Israel, or what is often termed by evangelicals as “The Rapture.” He said: “We will continue to fight these battles.”

During his visit last month to Israel, he announced that the Trump administration’s work was “to make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state, remains. I am confident that the Lord is at work here.” 

Pompeo tours U.S. embassy in Jerusalem with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, March 21, 2019. (State Department/Ron Przysucha via Flickr)

Pompeo tours U.S. embassy in Jerusalem with U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, March 21, 2019. (State Department/Ron Przysucha via Flickr)

Divorced from Reality

If the debate about the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. is for the first time making a nod to truth, the conversation about the pro-Israel lobby in the U.K. is becoming more and more divorced from reality.

Part of the reason is the way the Israel lobby has recently emerged in the U.K. – hurriedly, and in a mix of panic and damage-limitation mode.

Given that for decades European countries largely followed Washington’s lead on Israel, pro-Israel lobbies outside the U.S. were much less organized and muscular. European leaders’ unquestioning compliance was assured as long as Washington appeared to act as a disinterested broker overseeing a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. As a result, Europe was in little need of vigorous pro-Israel lobbies.

But that illusion has now been shattered, first by the explicit Greater Israel ideology espoused by a series of Netanyahu governments, and latterly by Donald Trump’s occupancy of the White House and his vehement backing of Israeli demands, however much they violate international law.

That has left European policy towards Israel – and its enabling by default of Netanyahu and Trump’s efforts to crush Palestinian rights – dangerously exposed.

Popular backlashes have taken the form of a rapid growth in support for BDS, a grassroots, nonviolent movement promoting a boycott of Israel. But more specifically in Britain’s case, it has resulted in the surprise election of Jeremy Corbyn, a well-known champion of Palestinian rights and anti-racism struggles generally, to lead the opposition Labour Party.

For that reason, Jewish leadership groups in the U.K. have had to reinvent themselves quickly, from organizations to promote the community’s interests into vehicles to defend Israel. And to do that they have had to adopt a position that was once closely identified with anti-Semitism: conflating Jews with Israel.

This, we should remember, was the view taken 100 years ago by arch anti-Semites in the British government. They regarded Jews as inherently “un-British,” as incapable of assimilation and therefore as naturally suspect.

Lord Balfour, before he made his abiding legacy the 1917 Declaration of a Jewish “national home” in Palestine, helped pass the Aliens Act to block entry to the U.K. of Jews fleeing pogroms in Eastern Europe. Balfour believed Jewish immigration had resulted in “undoubted evils.”

Lobby Cobbled Together

Also significantly, unlike the U.S., where the pro-Israel lobby has maintained fervent support for Israel as a bipartisan matter over decades, the need for an equivalent pro-Israel lobby in the U.K. has emerged chiefly in relation to Corbyn’s unexpected ascent to power in the Labour Party.

Rather than emerging slowly and organically, as was the case in the U.S., the British pro-Israel has had to be cobbled together hastily. Israel’s role in directing this immature lobby has been harder to hide.

Most of the U.K.’s Jewish leadership organizations have been poorly equipped for the task of tackling the new sympathy for Palestinian rights unleashed in the Labour Party by Corbyn’s rise. The Board of Deputies, for example, has enjoyed visible ties to the ruling Conservative Party. Any criticisms they make of the Labour leader are likely to be seen as having an air of partisanship and point-scoring.

So unusually in Britain’s case, the chief pro-Israel lobby group against Corbyn has emerged from within his own party – in the form of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM).

The JLM is trumpeted in the British media both as a venerable Jewish group, more than a century old, and as one that is widely representative of Jewish opinion. Neither claim is true.

JLM London demonstration in March. (@JewishLabour via Twitter)

JLM London demonstration in March. (@JewishLabour via Twitter)

The JLM likes to date its origins to the Poale Zion organization, which was founded in 1903. A socialist society, Poale Zion affiliated itself not only with the British Labour Party but also with a wide range of anti-Palestinian Zionist organizations such as the World Zionist Organisation and the Israeli Labour Party. The latter carried out the ethnic cleansing of the vast majority of Palestinians in 1948 and the party’s leaders to this today publicly support the illegal settlement “blocs” that are displacing Palestinians and stealing their land.

But as the investigative journalist Asa Winstanley has shown, before the unexpected ascent of Corbyn to the Labour leadership in 2015, the JLM had largely fallen into dormancy.

It was briefly revived in 2004, when Israel was facing widespread criticism in Britain over its brutal efforts to crush a Palestinian uprising in the occupied territories. But the JLM only really became active again in 2015.

According to a covert recording of a private JLM event in late 2016, its then chair Jeremy Newmark said he and other activists had agreed to reform the group in September 2015 in response to “the rise of Jeremy Corbyn” and “Bernie Sanders in the States.” Corbyn has been elected Labour leader only days previously. According to the transcript, Newmark told the other activists that it would be the “start of a struggle and a battle we will all be engaged in for months and probably years ahead of us.” He added that the JLM would be a suitable vehicle for their work because of the “rights and privileges” it enjoyed as a Labour Party affiliate organization.

Front for Israeli Embassy

The motive behind the JLM’s resuscitation was also revealed by an undercover documentary made by Al-Jazeeraaired in early 2017. It showed that the JLM was acting as little more than a front for the Israeli embassy, and that the mission it set itself was to weaken Corbyn in the hope of removing him from the leadership.

Early on, the JLM and other pro-Israel lobbyists within the party realized the most effective way to damage Corbyn, and silence solidarity with the Palestinian cause, was to weaponize the charge of anti-Semitism.

Support for Palestinian rights necessarily requires severe criticism of Israel, whose popular, rightwing governments have shown no interest in making concessions to the Palestinians on self-determination. In fact, while Westerners have debated the need for urgent peacemaking, Israel has simply got on with grabbing vast tracts of Palestinian land as a way to destroy any hope of statehood.

But pro-Israel lobbyists in the U.K. have found that they can very effectively turn this issue into a zero-sum game – one that, in the context of a British public conversation oblivious to Palestinian rights, inevitably favors Israel.

The thrust of the lobby’s argument is that almost all Jews identify with Israel, which means that attacks on Israel are also attacks on Jewish identity. That, they claim, is a modern form of anti-Semitism.

This argument, if it were true, has an obvious retort: if Jews really do identify with Israel to the extent that they are prepared to ignore its systematic abuse of Palestinians, then that would make most British Jews anti-Arab racists.

Further, if Jewish identity really is deeply enmeshed in the state of Israel, that would place a moral obligation on Jews to denounce any behavior by Israel towards Palestinians that violates human rights and international law.

And yet the very Jewish leaders claiming that Israel is at the core of their identity are also the ones who demand that Jews not be expected to take responsibility for Israel’s actions – and that to demand as much is anti-Semitic.

Could there be a clearer example of having your cake and eating it?

Nonetheless, the JLM has very successfully hijacked the debate within Labour of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to silence criticism. It has worked hard to impose a highly controversial new definition of anti-Semitism that conflates it with criticism of Israel. Seven of the 11 examples of anti-Semitism used to illustrate the new definition relate to Israel.

Arguing, for example, that Israel is a “racist endeavor,” the view of many in the growing BDS movement and among Corbyn supporters, is now being treated as evidence of anti-Semitism.

For this reason, the JLM has been able to file a complaint against Labour with the Equality and Human Rights Commission arguing that the party is “institutionally anti-Semitic.”

Labour is only the second political party after the neo-Nazi British National Party to have been subjected to an investigation by the equality watchdog.

1970s march by National Front, from which the British National Party emerged. (White Flight, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

1970s march by National Front, from which the British National Party emerged.
(White Flight, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Despite its claims, the JLM does not represent Jewish opinion in the Labour Party. The JLM says it has 2,000 members, though that figure – if accurate – includes non-Jews. Attendance at its annual general meeting this month could be measured in the dozens.

As one Jewish critic observed: “There are some 300,000 Jews in Britain. The Jewish Labour Movement claims to represent us all. So why were there fewer people at their AGM [annual general meeting] than at my Labour Party branch AGM?”

Many Jews in the Labour Party have chosen not to join the JLM, preferring instead to act as a counterweight by creating a new Jewish pressure group that backs Corbyn called Jewish Voice for Labour.

Even a new JLM membership drive publicized by former Labour leader Gordon Brown reportedly brought only a small influx of new members, suggesting that support for the JLM’s anti-Corbyn, pro-Israel agenda is very limited inside Labour.

Speaking for ‘the Jews’

The re-establishment of the JLM has one very transparent aim in mind: to push out Corbyn, using any means at its disposal. At its annual general meeting, the JLM unanimously passed a motion of no confidence in Corbyn, describing him as “unfit to be Prime Minister.” The resolution declared that “a Labour Government led by (Corbyn) would not be in the interests of British Jews.”

One Jewish commentator derisively noted the JLM’s arrogance in speaking for all British Jews at a time of Conservative government-imposed austerity: “I would not presume to proclaim what is in the interests of ‘the Jews’, but I really cannot imagine that the person who drafted this resolution had any real experience of meeting unemployed Jews, Jewish pensioners and single mothers just scraping by, or Jews who are struggling as they use under-resourced mental health services.”

In other circumstances, a group of people operating inside a major political party using underhand methods to disrupt its democratic processes would be described as entryists. Some 2,000 pro-Israel fanatics within Labour are trying to overturn the overwhelming wishes, twice expressed at the ballot box, of the Labour membership, now numbering more than 500,000.

Nonetheless, last week the JLM started to show its hand more publicly. It has been noisily threatening to disaffiliate from the Labour Party. In the circumstances that would at least be an honorable – if very unlikely – thing for it to do.

Instead it announced that it would begin scoring local and national Labour politicians based on their record on anti-Semitism. After the JLM’s frantic lobbying for the adoption of the new anti-Semitism definition, it seems clear that such scores will relate to the vehemence of a candidate’s criticism of Israel, or possibly their ideological sympathy with Corbyn, more than overt bigotry towards Jews.

That was underscored this week when a senior Labour politician, Richard Burgon, the shadow justice secretary, came under fire from the JLM and Board of Deputies for comments he made in 2014, during Israel’s attack on Gaza, that only recently came to light. He was recorded saying: “The enemy of the Palestinian people is not the Jewish people, the enemy of the Palestinian people are Zionists.” He had previously denied making any such comment.

Mike Katz, the JLM’s new chair, responded: “Insulting a core part of their [Jewish people’s] identity and then dissembling about it is shameful behaviour from a senior frontbencher in our party, let alone someone who aspires to administer our justice system.”

According to the Labour Party’s own figures, actual anti-Jewish prejudice – as opposed to criticism of Israel – is extremely marginal in its ranks, amounting to some 0.08 percent of members. It is presumably even less common among those selected to run as candidates in local and national elections.

The JLM has nonetheless prioritized this issue, threatening that the scores may be used to decide whether activists will campaign for a candidate. One might surmise that the scores could also be serve as the basis for seeking to deselect candidates and replace them with politicians more to the JLM’s liking.

“We have got elections coming up but we are not going to put that effort in unless we know people are standing shoulder to shoulder with us,” said Katz.

Need for Vigorous Debate

Paradoxically, the JLM appears to be preparing to do openly what pro-Israel lobbyists in the U.S. deny they do covertly: use their money and influence to harm candidates who are not seen as sympathetic enough to Israel.

Despite claims from both U.S. and U.K. pro-Israel lobby groups that they speak for their own domestic Jewish populations, they clearly don’t. Individuals within Jewish communities are divided over whether they identify with Israel or not. And certainly, their identification with Israel should not be a reason to curtail vigorous debates about U.S. and U.K. foreign policy and Israeli influence domestically.

Even if the vast majority of Jews in the U.S. and U.K. do support Israel – not just in a symbolic or abstract way, but the actual far-right governments that now permanently rule Israel – that does not make them right about Israel or make it anti-Semitic for others to be highly critical of Israel.

The overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews support a narrow spectrum of politicians, from the militaristic right to religious fundamentalists and fascists. They view Palestinians as less deserving, less human even, than Jews and as an obstacle to the realization of Jewish rights in the whole of the “Land of Israel,” including the Palestinian territories. Does that make them right? Does their numerical dominance excuse their ugly bigotry towards Palestinians? Of course not.

And so it would be the same even were it true that most Jewish members of the Labour Party supported a state that proudly upholds Jewish supremacism as its national ideology. Their sensitivities should count for nothing if they simply mask ugly racist attitudes towards Palestinians.

Lobbies of all kinds thrive in the dark, growing more powerful and less accountable when they are out of view and immune from scrutiny.

By refusing to talk frankly about the role of pro-Israel lobbies in the U.K. and the U.S., or by submitting to their intimidation, we simply invite Israel’s supporters and anti-Palestinian racists to flex their muscles more aggressively and chip away at the democratic fabric of our societies.

There are signs that insurgency politicians in the U.S. are ready for the first time to shine a light into the recesses of a political system deeply corrupted by money. That will inevitably make life much harder for the pro-Israel lobby.

But paradoxically, it is happening just as the U.K.’s Israel lobby is pushing in exactly the opposite direction. British politics is being plunged into a stifling, unhealthy silence on the longest example of mass human rights abuses, sanctioned by the west, in modern history.

Jonathan Cook is a freelance journalist based in Nazareth. He blogs at Jonathan Cook.net.

image_pdfimage_print

38 comments for “UK Israel Lobby Adds Muscle as US Lobby Weakens

  1. vinnieoh
    April 27, 2019 at 10:57

    I’m often reminded of a scene in “The Brothers Karamotsov” where the lecherous old curmudgeon Karamotsov tells one of his sons about a former business associate – “I once played a dirty trick on that man, and I have hated him ever since.” These are the terms of the relationship of AIPAC with the American people.

    But please let us all remember that all Jews are not racists, and neither are all Israelis. The same power relationships as hold sway here in the US – any dissenting voices, whether they are majority or not, are ignored, vilified, and harassed. Also, the stifling propaganda and fear-mongering in Israel is identical to that in the US, but on steroids.

    I only have broadcast TV, not cable or satellite, so I don’t know if those platforms are running the ads I’m seeing on broadcast. For many months now the “American Alliance of Christians and Jews” have been airing lengthy ads begging for money for the poor elderly forgotten Jewish Holocaust survivors in Europe. More recently they’ve been airing similarly lengthy ads begging for money for the poor beleaguered Jewish residents of Israel, “who desperately need our help” because the fine upstanding Israeli government has its hands full defending the realm against all of Israel’s wicked enemies, and they will not or can not take care of their own poor.

    These ads make me physically ill. Where is Sheldon Adelson and all his billions, or Saban or Lieberman, or Schumer and Mendez, or a whole long list of wealthy Jews that could alleviate this “suffering”? Where are all the US tax billions already given to Israel, oh wait, that was for arms and munitions to “Secure the Realm.” What about the trillion (at least) and counting (again, of the US tax tithe) expended to pummel into failed states Israel’s neighbors in that same effort? What about the several thousand US service personnel that have died for the cause of Israeli expansionism? Or the tens of thousands of wounded and disabled that the US public will be paying for, for decades? If a loved one returns from these wars for Zionist aggression, ETS’s, and then takes their own life, their abused remains should likewise be laid at Netanyahu’s and AIPAC’s doorstep. Not that they would care; they’d probably just snicker and go through their pockets.

    The “success” of those ads is probably not measured in how much pension or SS money they can fleece from aging Christian marks, but in whatever sympathy they might be able to grass-roots generate, should any more in the halls of Imperial power even slightly break ranks. AIPAC and the fanatical right in Israel have no morals, ethics, principles or humanity. For these they have substituted purpose: eliminate all those that would stand against them, in any capacity and on any front, by whatever means necessary, and to whatever end.

    Should the propaganda fail to keep the fleas close to its mangy hide, as the tail wags the dog, expect more active measures to be deployed.

    • SRH
      April 28, 2019 at 05:12

      “all Jews are not racists”

      In this case, I don’t think I’m being a grammar pedant in pointing out that the position of ‘not’ in your sentence changes the meaning significantly. I suspect you meant, “not all Jews are racists”.

      • vinnieoh
        April 28, 2019 at 12:43

        SRH: I regret that whole post, and spent a miserable evening reflecting on what I had said. I don’t mean to say that I didn’t honestly express my feelings, but rather if it was wise, or helpful, or responsible to go on such a rant. And to take a cheap shot, which absolutely reinforces a trope that is despicable and fundamental to “Jew hatred.” Especially in light of another attack on another synagogue.

        The article was about hard right Israeli machinations in UK and US politics and consent manufacturing. So, left out of this context is the fact that the US destruction of the greater ME is also in coordination with Saudi wishes. They wanted Sadam gone just as much as the Israelis, and are equally united in their desire to crush Iran. While Jewish-Israeli motivations are complicated, the Saudi’s motivations are not. I’ll just leave it at that. Been struggling of late, and should just have kept my fingers off the keyboard.

        • Monte George Jr.
          April 28, 2019 at 17:19

          vinnieoh – never a need to apologize for speaking the truth. More of that is needed, not less.

  2. Alois Mueller
    April 27, 2019 at 04:13

    Who really controlles the USA:
    From the mouth of Netanjahu in his “Invective speach in Finks Bar” 1990:

    “If we are caught, we are only replaced by persons of the same kind. So do not be interested in what you are doing. America is a golden calf, and we will suck it, chop and sell it bit by bit until there is nothing left but the greatest welfare state in the world that we create and control. Why? Because that is the will of God and America is big enough to cope with the blow and we can do it again and again. This is what we do to the countries we hate. We are destroying them very slowly and let them suffer for refusing to be our slaves. “(Credit to the Defense Intelligence Agency of the United States Department of Defense)

  3. Jeff Harrison
    April 26, 2019 at 12:57

    Excellent piece Mr. Cook. A couple of observations. One, using the term Benjamins to refer to $100 bills is quite a bit older than you realize. Bing Crosby and Mildred Bailey were using it in the 30’s. Two, of course the Israeli’s are racists. The Jews are the descendants of a couple of tribes in the Middle East. As they have said many times – God’s chosen people. Everybody else is a child of a lesser God.

    • SRH
      April 28, 2019 at 05:16

      Yes. Although, as I pointed out above, not all Israeli Jews are racist. The Old Testament gives explicit authority for the Children of Israel to regard the inhabitants of Canaan as lesser human beings because of their worshipping other gods and therefore to be killed to allow the Children to take over their land. That is, in essence, the basis for the Israeli government’s claim to sole ownership of the land of Israel today. Is there another basis?

      • M Awan
        April 28, 2019 at 19:18

        At least the pioneers of Zionism didn’t think so. These pioneers of Zionism were crystal clear they were going to colonise Palestine and converting it from an Arab country to a Jewish majority country. They also predicted that native Palestinians will resist to the end. Look at these historic quotes from the Iron Wall written by Za’ev Jabotinski in 1923:
        “The native populations, civilised or uncivilised, have always stubbornly resisted the colonists, irrespective of whether they were civilised or savage.”
        “Every native population, civilised or not, regards its lands as its national home, of which it is the sole master, and it wants to retain that mastery always; it will refuse to admit not only new masters but, even new partners or collaborators.”
        ” Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonised.” – http://en.jabotinsky.org/media/9747/the-iron-wall.pdf
        “There can be no voluntary agreement between ourselves and the Palestine Arabs. Not now, nor in the prospective future. I say this with such conviction, not because I want to hurt the moderate Zionists. I do not believe that they will be hurt. Except for those who were born blind, they realised long ago that it is utterly impossible to obtain the voluntary consent of the Palestine Arabs for converting “Palestine” from an Arab country into a country with a Jewish majority.” – http://en.jabotinsky.org/media/9747/the-iron-wall.pdf

        Similarly, the father of Zionism Theodore Herzel wrote in his diary:
        “When we occupy the land, we shall bring immediate benefits to the state that receives us. We must expropriate gently the private property on the estates assigned to us. We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our country. The property owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly … ” – The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl’, vol. 1 (New York: Herzl Press and Thomas Yoseloff, 1960), pp. 88, 90 hereafter Herzl diaries.

  4. April 26, 2019 at 12:14

    Worth reading, as are most things Jonathan Cook writes.

    But I’m not sure I accept his notion of The Lobby’s hold in the United States weakening in any way.

    Yes, there finally are a few people in Congress who speak truth for the first time ever.

    But look at the choke-hold Israel has on the county, despite those minor influences.

    Many of Trump’s most senior appointments are people serving Israeli interests to a record degree – Bolton, Pompeo, Abrahams, Kushner, and others.

    And look at the things, not his to legally dispose of at all, that Trump has “given” Israel. It’s shocking, but there are almost no voices in the United States saying so.

    And by all accounts, Trump’s big “peace plan” could have been written by members of Netanyahu’s staff. There is no pretense of working with two sides to solve a problem involving two sides.

    We have matters like Trump’s “Syria withdrawal” reduced to dust under Israeli influence, for there is no other serious known interest keeping American military, illegally, in northwestern Syria.

    Israel just wants instability for Syria and to deprive that state of the use of its own resources. It’s just gangsterism, but America fully goes along.

    And the steady drumbeat against law-abiding Iran is becoming deafening.

    There is only one interest pushing this pointlessly destructive policy, Israel with its intense desire to dominate its region and benefit from all the favor of the United States in doing so.

    America’s own long-term interests all dictate that it should work to establish good relations with Iran, a major and peaceful state with many things to offer in trade and friendship, but America cannot do so under Israel’s withering influence. America just keeps flagellating itself to exhibit its reverence towards one small and extremely belligerent state.

    Israel is under absolutely no threat from Iran. It’s just empty rhetoric, an excuse for itself promoting threats and belligerence.

    Imagine a non-nuclear state attacking a nuclear state such as Israel, one with a sizable arsenal? One, moreover, doubly protected by America’s nuclear arsenal. It’s a darkly laughable idea, but it is never laughed at by anyone in Washington, it is only ritualistically honored and repeated.

    Israel’s destructive viewpoint prevails in almost all important matters. Even much of America’s intense Russophobia reflects stoking by Israeli interests. Israel simply views Russia, without saying so publicly, as a big stumbling block to the kind of American international dominance Israel would be very happy seeing.

    There is not much to be hopeful about that I see. Perhaps, if Israel keeps so grotesquely over-playing its hand, there will be a backlash in the United States. But that’s only a “perhaps.” Americans, on the whole, just go right along with things, much resembling a herd of cattle quietly grazing in a pasture while just over the distant hills, vicious armies clash and threaten their future.

  5. Garrett Connelly
    April 26, 2019 at 11:54

    My eyes grew exhausted reading the small grey text used for comments. Regrettably, I was unable to read them all.

    It seems to me the crux of the problem for Jews is evolution accelerating at an accelerating rate. It is difficult enough for all of us to keep up under the obfuscation of national elite but Jews seem doubly veiled as they attempt to make sense of the real world, where we are all cosmic powered biology manifest as human.

  6. JB
    April 26, 2019 at 11:17

    What is it with comments being removed or not posted???

  7. JoeB
    April 26, 2019 at 10:49

    Excellent article. Considering the reams of work on the subject matter, exposing the zionist/pro-israel intentions and machinations, the guilty parties still look you in the eye and tell you that you are crazy; such is the chutzpah, if you will, of these people and their malfeasance. The smear campaigns are still as strong as the bribery, er, donation campaigns. Yet, the morning veil of morning cloudiness of the concerned eye might be clearing. Props to Omar for bringing this to the forefront (for now). Personally, I have not yet dismissed her presence as one of controlled opposition; this is a very clever, sneaky, nefarious lot that we are dealing with.

  8. mike k
    April 26, 2019 at 07:51

    All of this pro Israel conspiracy is totally obvious to anyone not wearing thick blinders to reality.

  9. Sean
    April 26, 2019 at 07:50

    Britain’s liberal ‘centrists’ have exposed themselves in the last few years by presenting the country’s most anti-racist politician as its most racist. The reality is, as Richard Seymour spelled out in an article yesterday, is that the ‘centrist’ media darlings who quit Corbyn’s Labour party, accusing it of being institutionally racist, are themselves racist to the bone.
    https://www.patreon.com/posts/26357879

  10. Tiu
    April 26, 2019 at 05:04

    Give ’em an inch, and they’ll just grab the whole lot – while complaining that they are the victims.

  11. April 26, 2019 at 03:59

    “tHE Benjamins” i THINK ALSO HAS TO DO WITH BIBI?

  12. Camber Jo Bentwagon
    April 25, 2019 at 23:53

    Really interesting and informative article.

    One thing I was reminded of reading through the Christian evangelical motivations for supporting Israel–they have the same goal as ISIS: Judgement Day and victory for their side over the other. And both only want Jews to exist as long as it means their nihilistic prophecies come true. At that point both would like all Jews to be killed or go to Hell, or wander the earth in pain after the Apocalypse.

    For Israel, that at least assures survival for the moment. Neither ISIS nor Christians want Jews to be exterminated (or moved away from their current ideal place), at least not until their super sky heroes are ready for the final battle.

    • SRH
      April 28, 2019 at 05:22

      I’m an atheist who was brought up as an evangelical Christian in a church that preached about the Rapture and such like. It seems incredible to me now that I believed what you write, but I and many others in that church in northern England did (and probably they still do) in complete seriousness, as much as we believed in the reality of anything we could see and touch. These dangerously foolish delusions of God’s judgement need to be shown for what they are.

  13. Tom Kath
    April 25, 2019 at 21:59

    Excellent expose Jonathan ! What’s the big deal about identifying people into various groups? Men, women, whites blacks, Yanks, Brits, Israelis, Christians, Muslims, Jews, Zionists, Semites, etc, and then we have Imperialists, Nationalists, Socialists, Capitalists………………..
    We can’t all belong to all these groups and it must be obvious that some will threaten and oppose others.
    I happen to be opposed to the idea that money determines the value of a person, and that any God I might believe in would favour Jews as “chosen people”. If that categorises me as anti- something, OK. It certainly does NOT mean that anything I am opposed to need be regarded as inferior, let alone banished from existence.

    • rosemerry
      April 26, 2019 at 17:35

      As a non-American, I am disgusted by the whole “election” fantasy paid for by people with an axe to grind, with no democratic input at all. Benjamins, Sabin, Adelson, Koch Bros, MIC,fossil fuels lobby, NRA-how can any of this find a real leader? Gilens and Page in 2014 showed that the “ordinary citizen” in the USA had hardly any chance of getting legislation benefiting him or her, while the rich get many of the laws which help them. The laws are drafted by the lobbies-no surprise there.

      • Tiu
        April 27, 2019 at 07:01

        I had to chuckle at the concept of “democratic input”. With the exception of perhaps Iceland, all other so-called “democracies” are in fact kakistocracies, with the US being the biggest kakistocracy of the lot.

  14. Jacob
    April 25, 2019 at 19:50

    One sided, biased propaganda. So according to the author, Israelis are racist and evil, and Palestinians are angels. While Palestinian terrorists organizations have killed Israeli civilians, including children, kidnapped Israeli planes, carried out attacks against Israeli national sports team, murdered rabbis and synagogues, etc.
    But the worst thing, that killers of Jews are considered “heroes” among the Palestinians. They name streets after them, glorify them in their history books.
    But the author chooses to fully blame and dehumanize one side, completely ignoring crimes of the other.
    With that approach, Israelis will continue to vote right because they feel that the world is holding a prejudice against them and won’t like them – and they are completely true

    • Nathan Mulcahy
      April 26, 2019 at 03:23

      The Israel is indeed a racist, apartheid state that illegally occupies native Palestinian land and continues to displace native people to create a greater Israel. That makes it a colonial state as well.

      Native Palestinians, both Muslims and Christians, are fighting against for their occupier and oppressed. I don’t consider them to be angels – but just human beings.

      If anybody thinks that I am an antisemite then it is his/her problem.

    • JW
      April 26, 2019 at 05:30

      One sided, biased propaganda. So according to the author, Palestinians are racist and evil, and Israelis are angels. While Zionist terrorists organizations have killed Palestinian civilians, including children, carried out attacks against Israeli Palestinian athletes, murdered imams and mosques, etc.
      But the worst thing, that killers of Palestinians are considered “heroes” among the Jews. They name streets after them, glorify them in their history books.
      But the author chooses to fully blame and dehumanize one side, completely ignoring crimes of the other.

      Get a life.

    • Sam F
      April 26, 2019 at 06:44

      No, Jacob, those wrongs are inevitable responses to mass discrimination and wrongdoing by the zionists. Tribalists always pretend that the wrongs they deliberately provoke were unprovoked, the oldest lie in history. While there is always some tribalist wrongdoing in response to tribalist aggression, it does not excuse the aggression, and it is inevitable.

      The answer is in seeking peace and justice for all, which is not within the capacity of radicalized factions. External peacemaking force is necessary. The zionists are such extremely selfish and racist tribal tyrants, conspiring to control US policy, that they have prevented the US and the UN from working for justice in the ME. They are the initial and primary causes of the problem, not the sole cause. They have destroyed democracy in the US, and should be recognized as enemies of their tribe, and enemies of humanity, like all tyrants. Working together without tribal loyalties, we can achieve justice for all.

      • Skip Scott
        April 26, 2019 at 11:49

        Great reply, Sam. The notion of separation of Church and State is one of our fundamental principals, as is equal justice under the Law. Both are anathema to the State of Israel as it exists today. To expect that some Palestinians will not respond in kind to the violence that is visited upon them daily by the IDF is unrealistic. Jacob seeks to blame the victim.

        • Sam F
          April 27, 2019 at 16:14

          Good points. We should consider amendments to the Constitution prohibiting most interactions with countries that do not implement those principles.

    • AnneR
      April 26, 2019 at 09:47

      Could you explain how a people – deliberately, violently thrown off their land and out of their homes by well armed forces in order for the religious compatriots of those armed forces could grab said lands and homes – should behave toward such an colonizing, ethnically cleansing invasion? By meekly bowing before their conquerors and permanently disappearing from view?

      Could explain how a people, deprived of their rightful homes and lands by this invading religiously linked other people, should react to the military forces of the invaders (the real terrorists) when the ethnically cleansed people do NOT have an air force, an army, a navy because they have been prevented, at every turn from either establishing their own state (i.e. Palestine – all of it) from the British Mandate onward, or even a tiny statelet along side its former homeland “Israel”?

      Could you explain the equivalence of the small, home-made rockets fired from Gaza (the world’s largest prison) – barely more than fireworks – which have yet to kill more than a handful of people in toto are the equivalent of the bombs (including white phosphorus ones) dropped by the Israeli (terrorist) airforce, from heights that none of those home-made rockets could reach, in terror, death and injury and destruction tolls?

      Perhaps you could explain the equivalence of stone-throwing by children to IDF snipers using high-powered rifles stood well away from any danger (from those stones) in terms of injuries and death tolls?

      So – the Palestinians have (the Intifadas) used suicide bombings. Who in their position would not? And indeed international law is in fact on their side.

      Palestinians have the right to return to their homes, their lands stolen brutally from them by the present residents of Palestine (called Israel). Palestinians have the right to be treated equally, in every way, with Israeli Jews.

      Anti-semitism is, like racism more generally, an ugly tribal viewpoint, often leading to even uglier actions. Israelis are themselves anti-semitic – toward the Palestinians, viewing them as inferior, speaking of them as “snakes,” “vermin,” (what on earth does this remind one of??) and treating them as lesser, unworthy beings.

    • Dr. Ip
      April 26, 2019 at 12:42

      Sorry Jaakov, but you interpret incorrectly.
      No one is saying bad things about Jews here, it’s the politicians and their policies that are being shown to be unfair. If you can remember that when Israel began to be populated by exiles from Europe and other places around the world after the Holocaust, it was a socialist in its policies, like the Kibbutzim, which began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism. Only later, as the politics went further and further toward the right, as politics have done also in the USA and now slowly in Europe as well, did things change drastically from socialism to anti-social. The wars did not help of course, but no nation anywhere near Israel can possibly be an existential threat to the country, especially since its nuclear arsenal is many times greater than that of Pakistan and India.
      And now, to have a working relationship with the head-choppers from Saudi Arabia and to give shelter to Daesh is really not acceptable policy.
      The most dedicated humanitarians in history have to a great extend been Jewish. The greatest philosophers (Baruch Spinoza is one my personal favorites) as well. Look up the names.
      Don’t let your fear and anger cloud your mind to the validity of the path toward peace and well-being for humanity.

    • rosemerry
      April 26, 2019 at 17:39

      Poor Jacob. All the usual “arguments” you have been fed, because here you do NOT have the overwhelming support of the MSM in every other place you look. Look up some of the figures of the killings by Palestinians compared with the Israeli murders if you have any interest in truth.

    • Tiu
      April 27, 2019 at 07:07

      No Jacob, the Israelis are racist and evil because of their collective actions and government policies, not because the author says so.

    • mark
      April 27, 2019 at 17:36

      The ratio of Zionist to Palestinian terror, of Zionist to Palestinian murders, is of the order of 1,000 to 1.
      IDF kiddie killers are currently gunning down hundreds of Palestinian kids in Gaza with British sniper rifles and dum dum bullets.
      Killers of Arabs, like Baruch Goldstein, who murdered 37 worshippers in a mosque, are turned into national heroes and their graves into shrines, with people naming children after him. And lionising the settler thugs who kidnap and burn to death young Palestinian children, with gangs of Zionist filth taunting the bereaved families about the “barbecue.” Or the Zionist families taking picnics to watch all the fun of the latest Warsaw Ghetto style pogrom in Gaza. Say what you like about the Nazis, but you didn’t get German families having weekend picnics to watch the gassings at Auschwitz.

  15. Bob
    April 25, 2019 at 19:22

    Though hand join in hand . The wicked shall not be unpunished. Bible says?

  16. Sam F
    April 25, 2019 at 19:10

    Compliments to Mr. Cook, who has written very well on this. But note that:
    1. No argument is made that the US Israel lobby is weakening;
    2. Evangelical politicians do not have biblical beliefs or any other values: they are purely tribal opportunists seeking money and power.

    The fact that “three-quarters of all donations over $500,000 to … Democratic nominees … were made by Jews” shows that zionism is not weakening. Very likely most of that was fed back directly or indirectly from US “aid” to Israel.

    However humanity is divided into national/ethnic/religious tribes, the development of economic and social dependency upon the tribe makes its members fear to criticize tribal leaders. That is the opportunity sought by tyrants, who invent enemies of the tribe to demand power as false protectors, and to accuse their opponents of disloyalty. Zionism adds the opportunity for tyrants of all groups to profit as they demonize to gain power.

  17. Abe
    April 25, 2019 at 18:52

    Jonathan Cook notes that “Lobbies of all kinds thrive in the dark, growing more powerful and less accountable when they are out of view and immune from scrutiny.”

    It is important, however, to recognize that the pro-Israel Lobby is not limited to what are conventionally described as “pro-Israel lobbyists”.

    Significant elements of the pro-Israel Lobby thrive in plain sight and open publication, supported by generous attention from the media.

    In their book, The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy (2007), John Mearsheimer, Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt, Professor of International Relations at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University addressed the “coalition of individuals and organizations who actively work to steer U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israel direction”.

    Mearsheimer and Walt argue that although “the boundaries of the Israel lobby cannot be identified precisely”, it “has a core consisting of organizations whose declared purpose is to encourage the U.S. government and the American public to provide material aid to Israel and to support its government’s policies, as well as influential individuals for whom these goals are also a top priority”.

    Beyond the identified organizations (from AIPAC to J Street) and high-profile hyper-partisan individuals (from Adelson to Saban, from Graham to Lieberman, from Bolton to Pompeo, from Clinton to Trump), the pro-Israel Lobby “coalition” includes foreign policy think tanks, so-called “journalists”, and purported “analysts” all vigorously promoted by media in the US and UK.

    Hasbara propaganda ‘splainers’ try to deflect attention from pro-Israel Lobby agency and obfuscate the question of cui bono by screaming about “anti-Semitism” (conventional Hasbara), posting fake anti-Semitic rants (inverted Hasbara), or griping about “mono-causality”.

    In the US, “Russia-gate” is a major deflection/obfuscation operation to re-direct attention from pro-Israel Lobby influence/Israeli interference in the 2016 elections.

    Escalating US-Saudi-Israeli Axis aggression involves a complex interplay of sometimes contradictory political forces, including waning US economic and military dominance.

    Nevertheless, the pro-Israel Lobby in the US, and its counterpart in the UK, continue to play a primary role in the perpetual drive to war in the Middle East.

    Regardless of the degree to which certain lobby organizations have been “weakened” by the infrequent “nod to truth”, the pro-Israel Lobby occupation of the Trump war cabinet, and its UK counterpart, must not remain “immune from scrutiny” if the next catastrophic war is to be averted.

    There is no further need for “debate”. The pernicious influence of the pro-Israel Lobby in the US and UK has been sufficiently verified.

    What is immediately required is vigorous exposure of the pro-Israel Lobby by what remains of true independent critical journalism in the west. ‘Cause we’re sure not gonna to get any from the “First Draft” war propaganda coalition.

    • Sam F
      April 25, 2019 at 19:31

      Very well and thoroughly said, Abe. Thank goodness for our Jewish friends unafraid to set right the wrongs done in the name of every tribe. May all others do so for our own tribes, until we are all educated on the wrongdoing of factions, as Hamilton and the other founders warned we must be.

  18. DW Bartoo
    April 25, 2019 at 17:49

    Well, Jonathan, you answered the very question which arose in my mind when I first read the title of this article.

    Could it be that the U.K.’s Israeli Lobby is engaged in trying to remove Jeremy Corbyn from any chance of becoming Prime Minister?

    Why yes.

    Of course.

    Who will dare speak that to that truth, in the U.K., thus bringing it into open discussion?

    Clearly, the Brit government jumped, happy and giddy, onto the joint U$- UK “Russia did it!” band wagon.

    But one imagines that stiff-upper-lip and fabled Brit “reserve” will not admit of Israeli “interference” for reasons of both munitions money and lap-poodle reticence.

    Besides, the Tories have their marching orders and Assange must be dealt with, most despicably, through the use of the empty form of the law so that the rule of law must be decorously, with all due Royal pomp and circumstance, diminished and drowned in a tea cup.
    Milking it for all it is worth, first, naturally. Craven behavior is always best carried off with lordly style and impeccably flowery iterations of piety and rectitude, befitting a former world Empuh now reduced to shabby domesticated service to Big Money, Neoliberal Grenville-Faulty Towerz, and the Balfour Legacy.

    Such a come down.

    And then, somewhere, lurking in the background, is that dragged out proof of a sham democracy, much like a 500 ton gorilla no longer amused with playing with its own toes, Brexit.

    Well, maybe the Brits and Israel deserve each other, along with that other member of the ménage a trois, you know, “the one indispensable nation”, the You Ess Ayy.

    The trio of tyranny.

    • Monte George Jr
      April 28, 2019 at 17:14

      “trio of tyranny”: AKA Bastion of Bullshit.

Comments are closed.