Obama want to see a stop to settlements: Not some settlements, not outposts, not natural growth exceptions”. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, May 2009
“What the prime minister has offered in specifics of a restraint on the policy of settlements…..is unprecedented, there has never been a precondition, it’s always been an issue within negotiations.” Hillary Clinton, BBC, November 1, 2009 (my emphasis)
“The US administration understands what we have always said … that the real obstacle to negotiations is the Palestinians (calling for a freeze on settlements)”. Israeli Minister of Science and Technology Daniel Hershkowitz, November 1, 2009 (my addition).
“America, stop sucking up to Israel!” Gideon Levy, Israeli journalist, Haaretz, November 1, 2009.
“US Zionists are sticking it to America, 24/7”, Anonymous Staff Official, Washington D. C., October 31, 2009.
December 21, 2009 “Information Clearing House” — The discussion of Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) in the US political system revolves around several essential issues, including:
1. The claims by the ZPC that it represents Jewish opinion and values as well as its authority to speak for the interests of the American people.
2. Measuring the power of the ZPC and determining its influence over policy, appointments and political institutions.
3. The question of whether the ZPC is a legitimate part of the US political system, another lobby, or something very different, an unregistered agent of a foreign power (Israel).
4. The scope and depth of the ZPC influence in US politics beyond the focus on its “lobbying” in Washington on a “single issue”.
5. The organizational weapons and techniques utilized by the ZPC to maximize influence and deny voice and influence to critics of Israel and itself.
6. The similarities of the organizational linkages of the Israel-Zionist relationship to the Russian – Stalinist Communist Parties of the 1930’s.
Method: Public Records, Ethnic Neutral Sources and Citations
The case against the Zionist Power Configuration is based on the open record of publications, speeches, articles, interviews and sources available to the general public (and any interested reader). Many facts and data are drawn from Zionist and Israeli sources as well as mainstream publications and writings by critical journalists and analysts.1 We do not privilege the statements by Jews, whether they are critics or supporters of the State of Israel, as most “progressive” writers do. The pursuit of truth is not an “ethnic science”, an approach that smacks of Nazi and Zionist racial theories. Indeed, nothing reveals the extreme Zionist power or cultural hegemony over the debate on Israel and American Zionism so much as the constant reliance, reference and citation of the “Jewish” authorship of critical articles, even when publications by non-Jews are better documented, of earlier publication, and better argued.
The ethnic (Jewish) label attached to writings and intellectual and political activity is selectively applied: the ethnic labels are applied to ‘positive outcomes’ as part of a general campaign exalting the “superiority” of the “race”; and disregarded in the face of ‘negative outcomes’ and activities (e.g. financial swindles, Russian oligarchs, espionage agents). In fact the “double standard” is buttressed by savage attacks by the ZPC on those who, following the ethnic labeling tradition, actually mention the Jewish background of mediocrities and war criminals as well as peace and justice advocates.
We will begin by questioning and challenging the representativeness of the ZPC in the United States today.
Zionists and the Jewish Communities in America
The 51 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organization (PMAJO) claim to speak for all Jews in the US.2 A major study in the north Boston region found that less than 25% of Jews belong to a synagogue, fewer (10%) contribute to the Jewish Federation and over 50% do not accept rabbinical Zionist precepts against inter-marriage with non-Jews.3 According to the Jewish Telegraph Agency (12/4/2009) conservative synagogues have declined by almost 25% from 800 to 650 over the past decade. Even most striking many prominent individuals who may be of Jewish parentage, no longer consider themselves “Jews” despite frequent claims by Zionists that their achievements are a product or a result of their being “Jewish”. Near majorities of young people of Jewish ancestry do not identify with Judaism and are critical or indifferent to Zionist appeals for Israel. They have no involvement in Jewish centered civic activities.4 A small, but vocal, group of Jews are organized and active critics of the entire Zionist apparatus, rejecting the idea of Israel as an exclusive ethno-religious state and supporting a secular democratic republic in Palestine. 5 In addition several Orthodox Jewish sects view the ‘state of Israel’ as a form of blasphemy and call for its destruction.6
The “51” misrepresent their actual numbers and claim to speak for 6 million US Jews. At best they may speak for less than half of the imputed population and even then their support waxes and wanes according to the issue, the timing and the place and varies in intensity. The power of the “51” is not a result of its representativeness of the Jewish community at large, but the location of its followers in the power structure and the intensity and quasi-religious fervor of their activists. Their political power resides in their singular forces in pursuit of the interests of the State of Israel and the control and influence in media; their nationwide networks and the wealth and financial power of contributors. Their capacity to browbeat apathetic Jews into making contributions and lending support adds organizational muscle. Their willing use of force, money and media slander intimidates any and all critics, including dissident politicians, media, journalists and professors.7
At most there are probably no more than 500,000 Jews who actively back the “51” – but what a half million! Given the low level of political participation of the US population in general, the relative low saliency of Middle East issues to most Americans and the one-sided pro-Israel mass media propaganda, which misinforms the public, the Zionist zealots have little competition. They have a free hand in penetrating and influencing political, social and cultural institutions in line with the policies dictated by their Israeli influenced leaders among the “51”.
The issue of the limited representativeness of the Zionist organization must be separated from the exercise of power. By leveraging non-Zionist, non-Jewish civic organizations, political institutions, pension funds, trade unions etc. the ZPC magnifies its power beyond its numbers8.
The limited representativeness of the “51” is compensated by the silence and apathy of the majority of Jews and non-Jewish/Jews, who either are not willing to challenge ZPC claims or are immersed in private concerns, careers or other unrelated civic issues.
The ‘51’s hundreds of thousands of activists are strategically placed in institutions, as well as geographically, with a centralized command capable of mobilizing money, media attention and political leverage in any priority, political, cultural or social arena9. The ‘51’ organizations are not merely a “lobby” in the sense of having paid officials operating to influence congressional votes.10 They include religious, civic, charitable, ideological, cultural and social organizations unified and unconditionally committed to following the zigzags of Israeli political directives11. The actual structure resembles a ‘power configuration’ that reaches from small chapters in municipalities to statewide confederations, as well as national organizations, each with its own budget, its own ideological watchdogs and appropriate levels of power.
The power for Israel is exercised by elected and appointed Zionist officials, especially those in positions that have any relevance to Israeli interests. These “interests” include direct aid to Israel, sanctions and wars against Israel’s Middle East and Asian adversaries, American pension fund investments in Israel, boycotts of companies trading with Israeli-designated adversary countries and many other strategic concerns.
The key to the power of the Zionist Power Configuration is that it is a mass grassroots organization, bolstered by the financial support by scores of millionaires and dozens of billionaires and a complicit mass media. These political resources translate into tremendous leverage over the far more numerous non-Zionist electorates, the mass media spectators and the upwardly mobile politicians.
The ZPC illustrates clearly how “numbers” in the abstract do not count,12 especially in a permeable electoral system like the US, where money, organization, discipline and ethno-religious fanaticism define the boundaries, issues and acceptable policies.
The ZPC as Foreign Agents of the Israeli State
The recent decision of the US Congress to repudiate (HR 867) the findings of Israeli war crimes in the official Final Report of the United Nations’ Fact Finding Mission on the 2009 Gaza Conflict by a vote of 344 – 36 is a measure of the power of the ZPC.13 The report, also known as the “Goldstone Report”, after its principle author Justice Richard Goldstone, was released on September 15, 2009, amid a carefully orchestrated campaign to discredit its findings and its authors. What is even more important than the US Congressional vote of condemnation is the fact that the campaign was publically ordered from Israel, directed by the Presidents of the ‘51’ and obediently and enthusiastically carried out by several hundred thousand Zionist activists, throughout the country. The ‘51’ and the mass of Zionist zealots were openly defending Israeli state terror and crimes against humanity. Their defense of war crimes never evoked a second thought. What mattered was their ability to pressure, threaten, cajole and promise future funds to Congressional representatives in order to secure their vote against Justice Goldstone. Blind obedience to Israeli dictates was evident in the fact that many Congresspersons proudly confessed to never having even read the Goldstone Report and that none dared question the egregious fabrications, which its two uber-Zionist Congressional sponsors, (Representatives H.L. Berman, D-California and G.L. Ackermann, D-New York), of the House Resolution 867, concocted.14 The US Congress, in fact, almost unanimously rejected the eminent Justice Goldstone’s request to present his findings in person.
In the UN National Assembly, the Zionists were able to leverage the US to vote against the Goldstone Report, which in turn secured the vote of several Eastern European client states, insignificant island dependencies and the predictable Western European “Allies”. This amounted to a total of 18 votes against the 114 UN members who endorsed the Report’s thorough documentation of Israeli war crimes and state terrorism, an endorsement which represented over 80% of the world’s population.15
The ZPC is powerful but not omnipotent. It controls the US Congress and Executive and has decisive influence in the mass media, but there are important fissures in the monolith, as a number of Jewish organizations and individuals, revolted by Israel’s mass killings in Gaza and the ZPC unconditional support, have spoken out in support of the Goldstone Report.16 More importantly, major national trade/union federations in Canada, Ireland, Great Britain, France and Italy, along with numerous human rights organizations, support a global boycott and disinvestment campaign against Israeli products.17 Judicial processes are proceeding in various European countries to arrest and put on trial top Israeli officials involved in the Gaza massacre.18
The United States, under the tutelage of the ZPC, remains as the center of Israeli power and the sole reliable backer of Israeli war aims in the Middle East, especially with regard to Iran. The power of Israel over Washington’s Middle East policy is in direct relation to the strategic influence of the ZPC. The denial of the power of the ZPC by seemingly “progressive” and “leftist” writers and journalists has been one of the principal obstacles undermining efforts to effectively counter US government support for Israeli war crimes, the expansion of colonial settlements in the West Bank and the military/sanctions policies toward Iran.19