Sunday, January 28, 2007

The hidden cost of free congressional trips to Israel

According to Jim Abourezk, a former Democratic senator from South Dakota:

"every member of Congress and every would-be candidate for Congress comes to quickly understand a basic lesson. Money needed to run for office can come with great ease from supporters of Israel, provided that the candidate makes certain promises, in writing, to vote favorably on issues considered important to Israel. What drives much of congressional support for Israel is fear – fear that the pro-Israel lobby will either withhold campaign contributions or give money to one's opponent.

Writing in the Jan 26 edition of CSM he draws attention to pro-Israelies lobby preventing the Congress from making groundbreaking reforms to ethics rules, by ensuring that one of its most critical functions (taking members of Congress on "free" educational trips to Israel) was preserved.

These trips are defended as "educational." In reality, as I know from my many colleagues in the House and Senate who participated in them, they offer Israeli propagandists an opportunity to expose members of Congress to only their side of the story. The Israeli narrative of how the nation was created, and Israeli justifications for its brutal policies omit important truths about the Israeli takeover and occupation of the Palestinian territories.

What the pro-Israel lobby reaps for its investment in these tours is congressional support for Israeli desires. For years, Israel has relied on billions of dollars in US taxpayer money. Shutting off this government funding would seriously impair Israel's harsh occupation.

He also warns about how damaging the automatic support for Israel is to America's interest." ... the Israel lobby twists US foreign policy into a dangerous double standard regarding nuclear issues. The US rattles its sabers at Iran for its nuclear energy ambitions – and alleged pursuit of nuclear arms – while remaining silent about Israel's nuclear-weapons arsenal."

At a minimum, US policies toward Israel have cost it valuable allies in the Middle East and other parts of the Muslim world.


homeyra said...

There was a very interesting documentary about Israel, made by a British-Jewish, shown in the festival of MTL in the 80's. It was mainly about the complexity within the Jewish society. If you have access to the info or movie, I highly recommend it. Much of it seems valid... some 30 years later.

99 said...

I'm just completely leveled that John Edwards would join in this. With the others, I can see the greed and the mental conditioning letting them play so fast and loose with so many lives, but, somehow, with Edwards it's making my bones turn to powder.

It is un-American to condone the occupation of Palestine. It is un-American to invade a country, to go to war except under the very most serious pressure. It is un-American to disrespect the duly elected leadership of any nation. It is un-American to torture people. It is un-American to let the Supreme Court choose a president. It is un-American to let war criminals run the country. It is un-American to take foreign money for political campaigns. It is un-American to nuke anyone until they are unequivocally going to harm irreparably our country or our allies... and the vast majority of us are beside ourselves with remorse for ever even using nukes against the fiendish Japanese in WWII. THERE IS SO MUCH UN-AMERICAN-NESS GOING ON ALL AROUND ME THAT I'M ABOUT DEAD OF OFFENSE! I was managing to keep the hysteria down until I saw that John Edwards, too, has gone un-American.

naj said...

as I said 99, Edward's just doing what he's paid to do/say.

Yes, America is a nice theory!