Welcome to the Middle East Today

The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Aug 11, 2011

The United Nations and the Palestinian State

The Director of the Arab League, Dr. Nabeel al-Arabi, said recently (7/24/11) that discussions about the Israeli Palestinian conflict are nothing but a waste of time. He emphasized that the creation of a Palestinian state should be done through the United Nations. He sated that all members of the Arab League are supporting that move, which will be discussed at the U.N. annual meeting in September 2011.

It is of interest to read an article in the New York Times (8/4/11) “Seeking Balance On the Mideast” by Nicholas D. Kristof.

Mr. Kristof was referring to the wart of democracy in congress using the latest debt ceiling horrors. He pointed out that, “There’s one area where congress has been even more obstructionist: the Middle East”. He tried to explain that the Palestinians will bring their case to the U.N. next month, seeking recognition of their state. The irony of this conflict is reflected in the U.S. foreign policy, which is designed to support Israeli policy regardless of its impact on American national interest. He pointed out that the House of Representatives voted 406:7 to call on the Obama administration to use its diplomatic capital to try to block the initiative, while also threatening to cut the Palestinians funding if they proceed to seek statehood. He went even further and pointed out that when Israel stormed into Gaza in 2008 to halt rocket attacks, more than 1,300 Gazans were killed along with 13 Israelis, according to B’Tselem, a respected Israeli human rights group. As Gazan blood flowed, the House voted 390:5 to hail the invasion as “Israel’s right to defend itself”.

Mr. Kristof, in his analysis, referred to several Jewish writers and organizations that are speaking against Israeli policy towards the Palestinians and trying to inform the American public as playing a balanced role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Nevertheless, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is the most influential lobby in the U.S. and American foreign policy in the Middle East has been one sided for more than fifty years. For example, President Obama has abandoned the Palestinians and has said recently that the U.S. will veto the proposal of recognizing a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. Such a statement by President Obama is in contradiction of the general political views of all major powers such as Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, who indicated that if the issue of the Palestinian case is brought to the U.N., they will be supportive. Also, 122 states have already recognized the Palestinian state.

One of the basic factors behind the U.S.’s foreign policy in the Middle East is the influence of lobbyists in the U.S. Despite the fact that Americans vote and send their representative to the American congress, decision are influenced by lobbyists who are on payrolls of big economical, political, ethnic, racial, religious and educational groups. Their financial contributions to members of congress during elections runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars, leading to the fact that the majority of the members of congress are put under the thumb of lobbyists. Senator Reid put it clearly when he said that the U.S. congress is the most corrupt in the history of the U.S. The situation has even been recognized by President Obama, who during his campaign, promised to curtail the lobbyists influence in Washington D.C. So far, he failed to fulfill his promises to the American public. It is a well-known fact that the Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is the most influential lobbyist group in the U.S. and has succeeded in putting congress under its thumb.

According to ex-Senator Jim Abourisk, the pro-Israeli lobby does most of its work without publicity. But every member of congress and every would be candidate for congress comes to quickly understand a basic lesson: the money that is needed to run for office comes with great ease to those who support Israel, provided the candidate makes certain promises in writing to vote favorably on issues considered important to Israel. For further information on AIPAC’s contributions to members of congress, read the “Washington Report on Middle East Affairs”, Vol. XXIX, no. 8, November 2010.

What drives much of congressional support for Israel is the knowledge that money will be given to one’s opponent if one does not support Israel. This situation led to the defeat of a few members of congress who opposed Israeli policy, such as ex-Senator Charles Percy and Congressman Paul Findley, who explained this in his book They Dared To Speak. Also, former senator Fritz Holling wrote in an article in the Charleston Daily Post Courier (May 6, 2004) that the role of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) the most important lobby group in Washington D.C., is determining U.S. policy in the Middle East. “You can’t have an Israeli policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here. I have followed them mostly in the main, but I have also resisted signing certain letters from time to time to give the poor president a chance. I don’t care whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat – that all of a sudden AIPAC will tell him exactly what the policy is and senators and members of congress out to sign the letters.” He further pointed out that the U.S. has lost its moral authority. There are other members of the Senate and House who spoke of the power or AIPAC’s influence on U.S. foreign policy. The tragedy of this is that AIPAC has succeeded in blending Israel national interest with U.S. national interest and has misled the American public. In reality, Israeli puts its national interest ahead of the U.S. national interest. Since its creation, Israel has been biting the hand that feeds it. Between 1948 and 2009, Israel has received more than $160 billion of American taxpayers’ money in foreign, economic and military aid. Despite all of that, Israel has been caught spying on the U.S. on several occasions, and some of the vital military information was passed to both Russia and China.

On September 24th, 2010, the press reported that some members of congress sent a letter to President Obama to release the American Jewish spy J. Pollard from jail. He is serving a life sentence for passing vital military information from the U.S. to Israel. Mr. Pollard’s case is one among several other spy cases. The reaction to such a violation by Israel has been minimal due to the power and influence of AIPAC on congress. Any members w ho attack Israel are automatically labeled anti-Semitic. For more on this, read Professor Norman Finkelstein’s book Beyond Chutzpah. He noted that whenever Israel is criticized for its violation and abuse of human rights, its supporters sound the alarm “new anti-Semitism” is upon us.

For that and other reasons, President Obama has failed to condemn Israel’s abuse of the human rights of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

President Obama has lost his courage to stand up for the truth. He has been snubbed by Prime Minister Netanyahu several times and failed to challenge the Israeli prime minister. One of the basic reasons for this, from my point of view, is the position he finds himself in because of the influence of AIPAC on the majority of the members of congress. As a matter of fact, during the past few months, letters were signed by some members of congress telling the president to stop pressuring and challenging the Israeli government to participate in the peace process. President Obama is in a very awkward position. He was elected with a promise to implement a national reform agenda and foreign policy agenda and for that reason he is trying to avoid a clash with members of his own democratic party, whose support he needs to pass his national agenda. It is a pity that there is no party discipline in the American political structure. Sometimes, members of one political party desert their own party and join the other, or call themselves independent members of congress. What matters to many members of congress is their personal interest to assure their reelection, regardless of the cost to American national interest. President Obama, in my judgment, might compromise on his agenda regarding Israel to win the support of at least some members of his own political party.

It was reported on August 9, 2011 from Informational Learning House “Twenty percent of the House of Representatives will be spending its recess holiday on American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) paid tours of Israel. This does not seem to have made the mainstream news. The tours consist of 26 Democratic congressmen headed by the House Minority Leader, mayor of Maryland and two of the 55 Republican’s, lead by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. This is intended to provide congress with a “deep understanding” of the situation in the Middle East. “Sure it will, but one suspects the understanding will be in one direction only.” (www.informationlearninghouse.info/article28790.htm#.TKHT64MVCQO.email by Philip Geraldi).

It should be of interest to know that Congressman Cantor, Republican House Majority Leader, is a well-known Jewish Zionist and strong supporter of Israel. It would be interesting to ask the members of the House who are going on such a junket to Israel, whose national interest should

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