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Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:34 PM

Does Israel have "undue influence on American foreign policy"?

The quote is from a toon in the following thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022384699

If so, does any other country have undue influence on American foreign policy, or is Israel unique in this manner?

If so, how does Israel influence American foreign policy? Would the US government be more peaceful if the Israeli government did not have this influence? More violent? In other words, how would American foreign policy be different if the Israeli government had absolutely no influence?

Bonus question: How should we determine if a country's influence is due or undue?

42 replies, 2429 views

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Arrow 42 replies Author Time Post
Reply Does Israel have "undue influence on American foreign policy"? (Original post)
ZombieHorde Feb 2013 OP
patrice Feb 2013 #1
mitchtv Feb 2013 #2
customerserviceguy Feb 2013 #14
ann--- Feb 2013 #3
ZombieHorde Feb 2013 #5
ann--- Feb 2013 #21
Behind the Aegis Feb 2013 #4
ZombieHorde Feb 2013 #6
Behind the Aegis Feb 2013 #7
ZombieHorde Feb 2013 #10
Behind the Aegis Feb 2013 #9
ZombieHorde Feb 2013 #11
oberliner Feb 2013 #8
ZombieHorde Feb 2013 #12
Behind the Aegis Feb 2013 #13
LeftishBrit Feb 2013 #17
King_David Feb 2013 #24
Scootaloo Feb 2013 #34
King_David Feb 2013 #38
on point Feb 2013 #15
LeftishBrit Feb 2013 #16
geek tragedy Feb 2013 #18
oberliner Feb 2013 #19
geek tragedy Feb 2013 #20
oberliner Feb 2013 #22
geek tragedy Feb 2013 #23
Scootaloo Feb 2013 #32
King_David Feb 2013 #25
elleng Feb 2013 #26
delrem Feb 2013 #28
elleng Feb 2013 #30
delrem Feb 2013 #33
azurnoir Feb 2013 #39
cali Feb 2013 #41
azurnoir Feb 2013 #42
Scootaloo Feb 2013 #27
delrem Feb 2013 #31
ZombieHorde Feb 2013 #35
Scootaloo Feb 2013 #36
ZombieHorde Feb 2013 #37
Purveyor Feb 2013 #29
shaayecanaan Feb 2013 #40

Response to ZombieHorde (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:38 PM

1. Should NOT think about Israel tooooo monolithically! Wondering here, though, about any

synch between AIPAC and ALEC . . . ?

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Response to ZombieHorde (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:38 PM

2. it depends on the viewer

She has influence, but is an ally, so whose ox is being gored?. The same might be said of the Cuban Emigre community in So Florida

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Response to mitchtv (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:32 PM

14. I'd expect that with Cuban-Americans in Florida

From Pew:

http://pewhispanic.org/files/factsheets/9.pdf

"About 1.5 million Latinos are eligible to vote in Florida, representing
approximately 14 percent of the more than 11 million eligible voters in the state,
according to a Pew Hispanic Center analysis of data from Current Population Surveys
conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census in 2003. Of those Florida Latinos, who are
U.S. citizens and at least 18 years old, some 540,000 or 36 percent identify themselves as
being of Cuban origins..."

Multiplying 14 percent times 36 percent gives me a bit more than five percent. American Jews (regardless of their affiliation with or sympathy toward Israel) only represent a bit more than two percent of US residents, using 6.59 million Jews out of a total US population of just over 311 million people in the country.

Source for Jewish population: http://www.jewishdatabank.org/Reports/Jewish_Population_in_the_United_States_2011.pdf

It's clear that the US affiliation with Israel, and any perceived "undue" influence, especially on a national scale, where Jews make up sizable minorities in only a handful of states is due to other groups favoring Israel. My answer is that the fundies who wouldn't let Jews into their country clubs are the ones who favor pro-Israel policies that appear to be influence outside of what one would normally expect.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:41 PM

3. Yes

No.

Money.

If we base foreign policy on money rather than ethics.

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Response to ann--- (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:44 PM

5. Well those answers are short and sweet. :)

Will you please elaborate on the "money" answer?

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 07:28 PM

21. Donations from

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Response to ZombieHorde (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:43 PM

4. Any expectation that people actually prove their assertions?

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:47 PM

6. I have hope that I will receieve some thoughtful answers.

I would love to see thoughtful answers from various, contradicting perspectives. That would give me something to chew on while I clean the kitchen later.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:52 PM

7. Those are some high hopes, especially at this site.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:19 PM

10. I rarely read the I/P group, so everyone else here would know better than me.

Maybe some surprises will spring forth.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:13 PM

9. Answers

Does Israel have "undue influence on American foreign policy"?


I don't believe so. I have yet to ever see one reputable source demonstrating this claim. Also, wouldn't this influence of "foreign policy" also extend to South American, Africa, Asia, and Europe? Or does US foreign policy only involve the ME? I see lots of claims, even that they control us, but never one source that lays out anything resembling facts.

The quote is from a toon in the following thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022384699


Typical propaganda used to inflame and distract. We, the US, aren't doing bad things, it is the Israelis making us do it or we are doing it because of them. Sellout.

If so, does any other country have undue influence on American foreign policy, or is Israel unique in this manner?


I haven't seen any evidence that any country has "undue" influence. Depending on the sphere of influence, I think our allies do have a big voice; e.g. in South America, Columbia has a big voice. So is Israel unique? Nope.

If so, how does Israel influence American foreign policy? Would the US government be more peaceful if the Israeli government did not have this influence? More violent? In other words, how would American foreign policy be different if the Israeli government had absolutely no influence?


Israel has influence the way other countries do. They provide quite a bit of information (so did Egypt in the day), so it becomes quid pro quo. The US government wouldn't be more peaceful, one only need to look to the years PRIOR to Israel even being a nation, oh, then there is Cambodia, Vietnam, Korea; do you honestly think this was all at the hands of Israel? How would it be different if there was no Israeli influence? Well, if some get there way, we will find out once Israel is destroyed.

Bonus question: How should we determine if a country's influence is due or undue?


That should be the question first answered as every other question hinges on it being answered.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #9)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:21 PM

11. I love all of your answers. nt

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Response to ZombieHorde (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 03:54 PM

8. Good luck with this question

The Saudis have a lot of influence. That's one that doesn't get talked about quite as much.

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Response to oberliner (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:24 PM

12. I believe lots of countries have great influcence on American foreign policy.

Didn't France recently influence the US to militarily intervene in Libya?

eta: this wording makes it seem like I am disagreeing with you, but I actually agree with you.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #12)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:24 PM

13. And Mali...

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Response to oberliner (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:13 PM

17. You should see the Saudi influence on the UK; it gets uncomfortably close to blackmail at times

More to do with business deals than foreign policy as such. It does get talked about, but not very much is done about it.

ETA: here's an example of what I'm talking about.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10883290

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Response to oberliner (Reply #8)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:03 AM

24. They not Jews ?

And they got oil .

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Response to King_David (Reply #24)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:18 AM

34. I always figured it was more due to...

American legislators don't fall all over themselves to crow to high heaven about how near and dear the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to their hearts, and how they would eat a live puppy on camera in a kindergarten if it would demonstrate that nearness and dearness.

It's the circus.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #34)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:46 AM

38. Ummm

No,
Reread my post .

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Response to ZombieHorde (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 04:38 PM

15. Absolutely. Cut their 5 billion annual subsidy and start voting against them in UN

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Response to ZombieHorde (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:12 PM

16. It's more the USA that influences Israel, I'd say

As with the UK.

No doubt, there is some influence in both directions, both in the USA/UK and USA/Israel relationships. And not all of it is desirable, in either case.

E.g. the British MP and ex-Defense Secretary, Liam Fox, was actually advising the Romney campaign. Obviously he didn't have that much influence, as Romney lost! But it still seems inappropriate for an active politician in one country to be interfering in the elections of another country. Yet this doesn't get as much mention as when something involves Israel.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 05:23 PM

18. The Israelis have the most unduly powerful domestic lobby working on their behalf.

One that has captured both parties. And the American media.

To wit, any time a new politician with Presidential aspirations forgets to publicly kiss Israel's ass in a major tv moment, he gets roasted.

When candidate Obama was asked to name our three most important allies in 2007, the press threw a hissy fit because he mentioned countries like the European Union and Japan. Because he should have said Israel instead.

Or how Obama got in trouble for expressing concern about the suffering of the Palestinian people---a topic along with the right of Palestinians' to self-determination is a verboten topic amongst "serious" leaders in DC.

And just recently, Marco Rubio gave the Republican rebuttal to Obama's SOTU address. And then got attacked by otherwise liberal Democrats because he didn't mention Israel. There are 200 other nations on earth, but he's required to mention Israel?


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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #18)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 07:04 PM

19. AIPAC is made up of American citizens

Do you think their efforts should be curtailed? If so, how?

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Response to oberliner (Reply #19)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 07:08 PM

20. What the Lobby does is completely legal. Bad for America, bad for the rest of the world, and bad

for Israel.

But legal.

Just as the Castro-hating fanatics in Cuba are legal in making Castro-hating a requirement to win Florida.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #20)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 08:32 PM

22. Not sure I agree with you there

Bad for America, bad for the rest of the world, bad for Israel?

Not sure those are fair conclusions to reach.

What would America, the world, and Israel be like if there was no AIPAC?

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Response to oberliner (Reply #22)

Sat Feb 16, 2013, 08:41 PM

23. America would be free to debate foreign policy in that part of the world

by solely focusing on our interests rather than having our institutions more interested in doing what's good for Israel than what's good for the US.

See the Hagel hearings if you want an example of that--more concerns over Israel than over US troops or the sequester.

Israel--would lose its sense that its current path is sustainable. One day, it'll wake up and the US won't be there to stick its neck out, and then it'll have zero friends.

The World? Then the US could act as an honest broker in the peace negotiations rather than as Israel's key surrogate.

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Response to oberliner (Reply #22)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:02 AM

32. If there were no AIPAC?

Well, then we'd be talking about one of the hundred-plus other registered Israel lobby groups instead, I imagine.

I imagine that diplomatically things would be about the same with or without these lobby groups, but I suspect at least a third of the total amount of bullshit on the internet wouldn't exist.

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Response to geek tragedy (Reply #18)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:04 AM

25. Strange for a country of 7 million ...

Why is that?

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Response to ZombieHorde (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:13 AM

26. More like, Israel's APPARENT interests are of undue concern to some

who APPEAR to have significant influence on U.S. policy. IMO.

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Response to elleng (Reply #26)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:47 AM

28. Appearances of such solidity don't spontaneously occur out of nothing. n/t

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Response to delrem (Reply #28)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:53 AM

30. Money will buy ANYTHING in the U.S., you know,

and some want to maintain their positions in Congress.

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Response to elleng (Reply #30)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:02 AM

33. I agree. follow the $$$

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Response to delrem (Reply #33)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:51 AM

39. Here is a list of some of those $$$$$$

Top Senate Recipients Funded

Recipient Amount
Mark Kirk $945,679
John McCain $772,327
Benjamin Cardin $446,948
Mitch McConnell $404,700
Carl Levin $366,278
Robert Menéndez $343,394
Richard Durbin $325,112
Kirsten Gillibrand $312,687
Mary Landrieu $294,259
Harry Reid $261,708
Frank Lautenberg $258,333
Barbara Boxer $245,179
Charles Schumer $243,149
Bill Nelson $236,150
Ron Wyden $219,931
Sheldon Whitehouse $214,421
Sherrod Brown $212,175
Robert Casey $203,450
Claire McCaskill $175,396
Debbie Stabenow $169,089
Barbara Mikulski $168,250
Mark Udall $162,923
Roger Wicker $152,561
Bob Corker $151,820
Roy Blunt $144,750
Susan Collins $141,518
Mark Warner $140,651
Mark Pryor $138,250
Jeff Merkley $137,130
John Rockefeller $123,807
John Thune $122,725
Max Baucus $121,050
Amy Klobuchar $119,302
Pat Roberts $116,900
Jeanne Shaheen $114,374
Jon Tester $113,557
John Reed $111,140
Michael Bennet $109,126
Al Franken $109,018
Tom Udall $107,468
John Cornyn $107,000
David Vitter $105,469
Joe Manchin $103,910
Saxby Chambliss $103,650
Tim Johnson $92,465
Kelly Ayotte $90,350
Martin Heinrich $89,160
Maria Cantwell $87,722
Jefferson Sessions $86,550
Lisa Murkowski $85,900
John Barrasso $84,550
Lindsey Graham $84,515
Daniel Coats $81,733
Tammy Baldwin $81,637
Patty Murray $81,550
Thomas Harkin $81,480
Richard Blumenthal $80,640
Orrin Hatch $80,250
Patrick Leahy $74,062
Marco Rubio $73,800
Richard Burr $70,850
Robert Portman $68,815
John Hoeven $67,535
Thomas Carper $64,450
Mike Johanns $63,635
Dianne Feinstein $63,520
James Inhofe $60,000
Charles Grassley $57,600
Jerry Moran $53,400
Thomas Coburn $47,445
Dean Heller $47,100
Michael Crapo $45,750
Mike Lee $45,030
James Risch $41,750
Jeff Flake $39,250
Patrick Toomey $38,500
Mark Begich $36,727
Joe Donnelly $35,400
John Boozman $34,250
Kay Hagan $32,933
John Isakson $31,600
Michael Enzi $31,600
Richard Shelby $27,250
Jim DeMint $24,270
Chris Coons $20,774
Mazie Hirono $20,300
Christopher Murphy $13,550
Ron Johnson $10,400
Bernard Sanders $9,000


Contributions shown for the last six years of available data, Jul 1, 2006 - Jun 30, 2012, including contributions to presidential campaigns.
Top House Recipients Funded
Recipient Amount
Recipient Amount
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen $162,485
Eric Cantor $160,699
John Boehner $158,950
Debbie Wasserman Schultz $128,900
Steny Hoyer $122,775
Bill Foster $113,121
Eliot Engel $107,600
Gary Peters $83,168
Janice Schakowsky $82,777
Nita Lowey $80,400
Steve Israel $71,503
Nancy Pelosi $71,350
Rush Holt $62,650
Brad Sherman $57,450
Theodore Deutch $55,800
Robert Andrews $50,925
Aaron Schock $48,450
Allyson Schwartz $47,500
Carol Shea-Porter $45,550
Harold Rogers $36,250
Peter King $34,450
Lois Capps $33,200
Mike Rogers $32,100
Bruce Braley $31,924
Gerald Connolly $31,150
Raúl Grijalva $29,733
Adam Schiff $29,100
Steve Scalise $28,944
Peter Roskam $28,650
David Loebsack $28,185
Adam Smith $27,750
Mario Diaz-Balart $27,700
Richard Nugent $27,100
Paul Ryan $26,950
Janice Hahn $26,475
Chellie Pingree $26,392
Jackie Speier $25,865
Bill Cassidy $25,472
Ron Barber $25,400
Carolyn Maloney $25,320
Daniel Maffei $25,282
Anna Eshoo $24,775
Alcee Hastings $23,750
David Cicilline $23,674
Adam Kinzinger $23,450
Tom Price $21,453
Todd Rokita $21,050
Frank Pallone $20,250
Jim Costa $20,250
Kay Granger $20,000


Michele Bachmann $20,000
Mike Quigley $19,850
David Price $19,286
Spencer Bachus $19,150
Kevin McCarthy $19,000
Jo Bonner $18,250
Linda Sánchez $18,000
Charles Boustany $18,000
Frank LoBiondo $17,900
Jason Chaffetz $17,702
Kathy Castor $17,650
Betty McCollum $17,450
Gwen Moore $17,400
James Langevin $17,195
William Owens $17,150
Joseph Crowley $16,750
Donna Edwards $16,250
Loretta Sanchez $16,154
Frederica Wilson $15,500
Dennis Ross $15,500
John Garamendi $15,450
Rodney Alexander $14,900
Michael Michaud $14,750
Edward Royce $14,500
Suzanne Bonamici $14,000
Ted Poe $13,750
Randy Hultgren $13,600
Sander Levin $13,250
Michael Honda $12,700
Larry Bucshon $12,600
Mike Kelly $12,500
John Fleming $12,500
Susan Davis $12,000
Dana Rohrabacher $12,000
Erik Paulsen $12,000
Jim Cooper $11,750
Steve Chabot $11,500
George Miller $11,000
Jerry McNerney $11,000
Michael Fitzpatrick $10,750

http://maplight.org/us-congress/interest/J5100/view/all

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Response to azurnoir (Reply #39)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 05:29 AM

41. Over what period of time seems to me a germane question

For instance, is Pat Leahy's 74,000 which is about the same as the amount Rubio has received, over the 38 years that he's been in the Senate?

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Response to cali (Reply #41)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 01:45 PM

42. If you find out be sure to let us know okay

both of mine (Senators) are on and could only have been since 2006 and 2008 though

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Response to ZombieHorde (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:45 AM

27. It's a question that doesn't make a lot of sense due to its vagueness

What does "undue" mean exactly, is my first question. Because there are nations that have much more weight with the US than Israel does - The United Kingdom, Canada, China, and even India are "more important" than Israel.

In terms of regional politics, Israel carries a lot of weight - but I wouldn't say it carries more than Saudi Arabia. These two nations serve a purpose for US policy in the region; Israel is a our stick, Saudi Arabia is our carrot. Israel is militarily powerful compared to the other nations in the regions and has a well-developed espionage / Intelligence operation that is useful to us. Saudi Arabia has more money than people, and has generally been able to approach things as a "neutral arbiter" in the Arab world; the Saudi seal of approval is sort of the highest-rated closure you can get in the middle east.

Now, when it comes to rhetoric? Our legislators flog Israel's name to vote-pander. They proclaim, to quote that SNL skit, that they would fellate an Israeli donkey if Israel asked. Wild-eyed proclamations of eternal loyalty, savage rhetoric against "enemies of Israel," the whole circus. This isn't actually Israel's influence (though Israel's lobby groups certainly aren't complaining.) It's pandering... And it's mostly pandering to the christian right. While some politicians use the word "Israel" as a code-term for "The Jewish Vote," the truth is that American Jews no more worry about Israel than Irish-Americans worry about Ireland. However, the christian right is very concerned about Israel - that's where Jesus is coming back, his landing pad has to be there! And Israel is fighting Muslims, and dead Muslims are the best thing ever for the christian right! And so on. One might simply say the christian right has undue influence in our government, and the herping, derping "I'm more pro-Israel than you!" gibberish is simply a reflection of that.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #27)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:59 AM

31. With $30 Billion Arms Deal, U.S. Bolsters Saudi Ties


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/30/world/middleeast/with-30-billion-arms-deal-united-states-bolsters-ties-to-saudi-arabia.html?_r=0

If you can stomach it, the first paragraphs:

HONOLULU — Fortifying one of its key allies in the Persian Gulf, the Obama administration announced a weapons deal with Saudi Arabia on Thursday, saying it had agreed to sell F-15 fighter jets valued at nearly $30 billion to the Royal Saudi Air Force.

The agreement, and the administration’s parallel plans to press ahead with a nearly $11 billion arms deal for Iraq, despite rising political tensions there, is dramatic evidence of its determination to project American military influence in an oil-rich region shadowed by a threat from Iran.

Though the White House said the deal had not been accelerated to respond to threats by Iranian officials in recent days to shut off the Strait of Hormuz, its timing is laden with significance, as tensions with Iran have deepened and the United States has withdrawn its last soldiers from Iraq.

“This sale will send a strong message to countries in the region that the United States is committed to stability in the gulf and the broader Middle East,” said Andrew J. Shapiro, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs. “It will enhance Saudi Arabia’s ability to deter and defend against external threats to its sovereignty.”

___________________________

Let me summarize that for you:
US foreign policy is 100% oriented toward furthering peace and democracy, with an emphasis on democracy and the human rights that americans hold dearest.

Clear enough?

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #27)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:38 AM

35. I actually looked up the word before I posted the OP.

un·due

adjective
1. unwarranted; excessive: undue haste.

2. inappropriate; unjustifiable; improper: undue influence.

3. not owed or currently payable.


I assume meanings 1 and 2.

"One might simply say the christian right has undue influence in our government,"


Great point.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #35)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:39 AM

36. Well, what I meant is that it's simply hard to judge.

Where is the line between due influence and undue influence judged?

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #36)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 01:41 AM

37. I have no idea. I think it is 100% subjective. nt

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Response to ZombieHorde (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 12:53 AM

29. The fact the this linked thread has received at least 93 'recs' speaks volumes, indeed! eom

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Response to ZombieHorde (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 03:27 AM

40. Its a bit hard to say that it is "undue"...

There is nothing illegal, immoral or unfair about lobbying your government, no matter how effectively. And it is not so much that the Israel lobby are so well funded, organised and disciplined (although they are). It is more so that there is no real organised opposition to the Israel lobby in American politics, in part because the Arab Muslim population in the US is quite small (about 0.5% or so).

Whether it is undue is of course subjective. On the other hand the influence of the Israel lobby is definitively contrary to the national interests of the United States, for the most part.

As an example - during the early 1980s the Israel lobby mounted serious opposition to the sale of military equipment to the Saudis, including aircraft and AWACS (airborne warning and control systems). Pro-Israel members of Congress, mostly Democratic, fought long and hard against Ronald Reagan's attempts to approve the sale.

Eventually, Reagan was successful in having the sale proceed, subject to numerous conditions. Had it not proceeded, the Saudis would have turned to the Soviets instead and bought their equipment. The Persian Gulf, the most strategically crucial waterway in the world, would have been entirely surrounded by countries not allied to the US, including Iran and Iraq.

Moreover, the US defence industry would have lost its most important client. Its hard to say exactly how many American jobs exist because of Saudi arms purchases, but it would be in the hundreds if not thousands. Just the other week the Saudis ordered $80 billion in US military hardware.

Ultimately, it was probably in Israel's interests anyway for Saudi Arabia to remain a bulwark against Iranian influence, and for it to remain an American ally rather than a Soviet one. But even if it had not been in Israel's interests, the fact was that it was clearly in the interests of the United States.

Had the Israel lobby had its way, all of that would have been pissed up against the wall.

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