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Why Is Congress Demonizing an Investigation of Israel's War Crimes in Gaza?

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StarfarerBill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 08:36 AM
Original message
Why Is Congress Demonizing an Investigation of Israel's War Crimes in Gaza?
One word (or acronym, rather): AIPAC

A transcript of Bill Moyers's interview with investigator Richard Goldstone (don't worry: it shows nine page buttons, but the transcript is actually only two pages long):

http://www.alternet.org/world/144022/why_is_congress_de...

An article by Human Rights Watch researcher Fred Abrahams about Congress's condemnation of Goldstone's report:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/fred-abrahams/on-israel-c...

While never specifically mentioned in either article, AIPAC is the driving force behind any attempt to silence criticism in Congress regarding Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, or its relations with its neighbors in general.
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atreides1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 08:44 AM
Response to Original message
1. A good question
Unfortunately Congress won't give us a good answer.
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 08:54 AM
Response to Original message
2. You answered your own question: AIPAC
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. I don't know. I suspect that if AIPAC vanished tomorrow
the support for Israel in the House wouldn't diminish by much. The question then is why.
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StarfarerBill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 09:10 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. I don't know either, but I believe that without AIPAC's financial and political strong-arming...
Edited on Fri Nov-20-09 09:15 AM by StarfarerBill
...that Israel would lose much of its sacred-cow status in American foreign policy; we could finally, substantively address not only its bullying of the Palestinians and its national neighbors, but also the issue of Palestinian statehood.

On edit: I apologize for originally posting this topic in GD; I didn't realize there was a separate forum for discussing Palestinian/Israel issues. I'll try to be more observant, the next time I publish an original post.
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cali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 09:15 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. well, I suspect that a lot of support for Israel is both institutional behavior
and cultural bias. And I think those are just as strong a force as AIPAC.
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StarfarerBill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 09:22 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. I agree, but I also think that Palestinian/Arab issues would get more shrift in the US...
...politically and financially, without AIPAC's muscle dominating every public discussion of Israel's conduct. Perhaps even enough to finally make a difference.
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oberliner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 09:31 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. What would you propose to address this situation?
What changes should be made to the process that would prevent this behavior of AIPAC that you have highlighted?
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StarfarerBill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. To be honest, I'm not sure.
Thorough-going, enforced legislation to limit or eliminate foreign-interest influence in Congress and administration policy would be a start, I think. But beyond that, increasing public awareness of both sides of this situation is the only other avenue I can think of.

Anyone else have any constructive suggestions?
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 05:44 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. The public awareness idea is a good one...
That's something that's sadly lacking in the US. I find it absurd that people such as the poster you replied to are strong supporters of AIPAC even though it's anything but a LW group, and there is a liberal alternative (J-Street) available now...
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Jefferson23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 10:12 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. It's Not Either / Or
By Norman Finkelstein


In the current fractious debate over the role of the Israel Lobby in the formulation and execution of US policies in the Middle East, the "either-or" framework -- giving primacy to either the Israel Lobby or to U.S. strategic interests -- isn't, in my opinion, very useful.

Apart from the Israel-Palestine conflict, fundamental U.S. policy in the Middle East hasn't been affected by the Lobby. For different reasons, both U.S. and Israeli elites have always believed that the Arabs need to be kept subordinate. However, once the U.S. solidified its alliance with Israel after June 1967, it began to look at Israelis and Israelis projected themselves as experts on the "Arab mind." Accordingly, the alliance with Israel has abetted the most truculent U.S. policies, Israelis believing that "Arabs only understand the language of force" and every few years this or that Arab country needs to be smashed up. The spectrum of U.S. policy differences might be narrow, but in terms of impact on the real lives of real people in the Arab world these differences are probably meaningful, the Israeli influence making things worse.

The claim that Israel has become a liability for U.S. "national" interests in the Middle East misses the bigger picture. Sometimes what's most obvious escapes the eye. Israel is the only stable and secure base for projecting U.S. power in this region. Every other country the U.S. relies on might, for all anyone knows, fall out of U.S. control tomorrow. The U.S.A. discovered this to its horror in 1979, after immense investment in the Shah. On the other hand, Israel was a creation of the West; it's in every respect culturally, politically, economically in thrall to the West, notably the U.S. This is true not just at the level of a corrupt leadership, as elsewhere in the Middle East but what's most important at the popular level. Israel's pro-American orientation exists not just among Israeli elites but also among the whole population. Come what may in Israel, it's inconceivable that this fundamental orientation will change. Combined with its overwhelming military power, this makes Israel a unique and irreplaceable American asset in the Middle East.

In this regard, it's useful to recall the rationale behind British support for Zionism. Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann once asked a British official why the British continued to support Zionism despite Arab opposition. Didn't it make more sense for them to keep Palestine but drop support for Zionism? "Although such an attitude may afford a temporary relief and may quiet Arabs for a short time," the official replied, "it will certainly not settle the question as the Arabs don't want the British in Palestine, and after having their way with the Jews, they would attack the British position, as the Moslems are doing in Mesopotamia, Egypt and India." Another British official judged retrospectively that, however much Arab resentment it provoked, British support for Zionism was prudent policy, for it established in the midst of an "uncertain Arab world a well-to-do educated, modern community, ultimately bound to be dependent on the British Empire." Were it even possible, the British had little interest in promoting real Jewish-Arab cooperation because it would inevitably lessen this dependence. Similarly, the U.S. doesn't want an Israel truly at peace with the Arabs, for such an Israel could loosen its bonds of dependence on the U.S. , making it a less reliable proxy. This is one reason why the claim that Jewish elites are "pro"-Israel makes little sense. They are "pro" an Israel that is useful to the U.S. and, therefore, useful to them. What use would a Paul Wolfowitz have of an Israel living peacefully with its Arab neighbors and less willing to do the U.S.'s bidding?


more here: http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/3945
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Mosby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
8. the goldstone report
Investigated possible israeli and palestinian war crimes.

Seems a bit odd that so much of the discourse on the goldstone report (like your OP) fails to even mention palestinian war crimes.
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StarfarerBill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Palestinian attacks against Israeli civilians will continue...
...as long as the government of the latter meets the Davidian slingshots with Goliathian devastation (pardon the poor metaphors), and does little in the way of good-faith efforts toward negotiations for a Palestinian state. Israeli hawks must learn that military operations, denial of living necessities, and continued settlement-building will bring reprisals, and their counter-reprisals will be further countered.

The only conceivable way out of this violent, downward spiral is to meet with the Palestinian authorities (whomever they may be) as equals, with each side laying their grievances on the table, hashing them out for however long it takes, and resolving them as much as possible -- with each resolution another step toward Palestinian independence and increased Israeli security.

Both Palestinians and Israelis have a right to peace and prosperity...but equally, not weighted heavily toward Israel at the expense of their neighbors.
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Violet_Crumble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Have you read the Goldstone report?
It does very much mention Palestinian war crimes. I find what you said to be every bit as silly as those who slam the report because it dared to mention that the Palestinians had committed war crimes. Isn't yr issue with the report itself not that it didn't give some bizarre equal time to all it criticised, but that it dared to criticise Israel at all?
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shira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-20-09 06:41 PM
Response to Original message
13. because it's a really stinky report not even supported by Israel's left?
Edited on Fri Nov-20-09 06:53 PM by shira
this was written by the former LW editor of Haaretz, and in that thread there is also a criticism of the report by a director of Israel's LW human rights group B'tselem...
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

and this is a far more comprehensive and substantive criticism that Goldstone has read but hasn't yet responded to...
http://www.goldstonereport.org/pro-and-con/critics/316-...

the report is garbage.
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