The consequences of apartheid in Israel and of US government support for such apartheid – Part 3 of 4

Fronts of conflict amongst Palestinians, USG double standards, and AIPAC’s undemocratic control over the US government

AIPAC Biden

We’ve been discussing the fronts of conflict in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, for while the major, publicized front of conflict is between the Israeli government and the Palestinians, there are bitter, violent fronts of conflict within each of these sides based on religious sect, ethnic group, geographical location, political goals, and historical experience. Moreover, there are fronts of conflict not only between each of these smaller groups but even within them. Some of these “minor” fronts are more hateful than the major front of conflict.

Given the existence of multiple fronts of conflict and humans’ nature to continually split into factions, it makes no sense to use violence as the method of responding to any of these fronts. Waging the big war to finally kill off the other side once and for all will only leave one faced with many more conflicts within one’s own side. Is violence to be used to handle those, as well?

Better to use each front as an opportunity to develop talents and habits of cooperative dialogue, practical problem-solving, and non-violent conflict resolution, for war will only destroy lives, crush hearts and minds, impoverish nations, and degrade the environment. War will weaken the psychological and social capacity for creating a society based upon love, trust, justice, freedom, and cooperation. Instead, war will develop one’s talents for violence and further entrench one’s habits of giving in to the violent solutions of the violent.

In Parts 1 and 2, we looked at some of the many fronts of conflict amongst Israelis and even amongst Zionists as described in my memo of June 28, 2023. Here we’ll begin by looking at some of the fronts of conflict amongst Palestinians.

July 28, 2023

Part 3. Fronts of conflict amongst Palestinians, USG double standards, and AIPAC’s undemocratic control over the US government

Consequences 13–15

13. Neglecting the Need to Non-Violently Resolve Conflicts amongst Palestinians. The fronts of hostility and conflict fester within the Palestinian side, as well, over goals, the role of Islam, attitudes toward Israel, historical experiences, geographical origin, and socioeconomic class, including the past role of wealthy Palestinians in selling land to Jewish immigrants. Palestinian factions—Hamas and Fatah—have killed each other’s members in extremely hateful conflicts.

Since 2007, the Palestinian Civil War has persisted between Hamas and Fatah and resulted in a split of the Palestinian Authority (PA), established in 1994. Hamas, founded in 1987, was originally a Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. Fatah, a Palestinian guerrilla movement created in the 1950s, was founded with the goal of regaining territory and sovereignty from Israel. It was led by Yasir Arafat (1929–2004), who later was elected chairman of the umbrella group, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), in 1969.[1]

While not included in my original memo, it’s important to speak here briefly about the Muslim Brotherhood because it relates to Hamas’ origins. The Muslim Brotherhood is founded on many positive principles of high integrity, but this movement has been poorly understood and portrayed in the US. It was originally an apolitical, non-violent group founded in 1928 in reaction to the extreme and sudden Westernization of Egypt and Turkey as well as the demise of the Ottoman Empire in WWI. Even many Americans don’t care for all aspects of Westernization, so it’s understandable that foreigners might not like it either—certainly not all or even many aspects of it. After all, Westernization has its strengths and weaknesses and should not be imposed like a universal blanket that smothers other positive ways of experiencing life and relating to others.

Not having success in achieving its goals through apolitical action, the Brotherhood eventually became political, then violent, and then non-violent once more.[2] Groups have splintered off from the Muslim Brotherhood, sometimes because these splinter groups advocate the use of violence. But understanding the common origins of these groups in positive principles is important to our ability to constructively relate to them.

I find the Brotherhood to be founded on many more positive values and goals than negative. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in the hopes of achieving moral and social reform,[3] of putting more spiritual depth and connectedness into government and society. It served an immediate social purpose, as well, for it helped Egyptians not feel alienated by the secular Westernization, corruption, and decadence springing up around them. Its popularity soared across all classes especially during WWII during the lengthy British occupation of Egypt that had begun in 1882.[4]

The Brotherhood has also opposed the brutally oppressive Mid-Eastern governments, such as the Egyptian government which has been routinely supported by the US government for decades. Bush Jr.’s National Security Strategy 2006 states that by fighting terrorism, we’re fighting tyranny. He’s got it backwards. Like the Muslim Brotherhood, violent Muslim militants—terrorists—are typically fighting against tyranny. Certainly, there could be tyrannical impulses amongst some terrorists, but in general, terrorists are opposed to tyranny. So how can the Brotherhood be considered a “bad guy” for standing up against torture, executions, and unrepresentative government?

Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, are those Muslims who would like their government to be based upon the Sharia—Islamic law and values. What this wish translates to in reality can vary widely amongst Islamists—the vast majority of whom are peaceful. Many Americans might immediately consider the strict Taliban to be a typical example of an Islamic government, even though many Muslims would consider such a government to thwart the principles of Islam. What is generally not explained to people here in the US is that this wish for a government based upon the Sharia often translates to the simple, understandable, universal wish for a government that is not repressive, corrupt, and inhumane.[5] In other words, it’s a wish for a government that has qualities that are considered desirable even in secular societies.

Of interest, some American scholars believe that if democracy is to come to oppressive Mid-Eastern nations such as Egypt, it will come by way of the Islamist movement because it’s the only major movement standing up to this brutal oppression of arbitrary arrests, torture, and executions.[6] In fact, Islamic principles of shura (consultation), maslah (consensus), and ijma (choosing the interpretation of the Sharia that leads to the greatest good) correspond very much to Abraham Lincoln’s “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” The Muslim Brotherhood has also been actively concerned with addressing poverty and helping people access food and medical care.[7] In fact, rage over poverty—Mid-Eastern governments’ neglect of the Islamic principle of helping the poor and the community—is often a motivating drive behind the rage of those known as “terrorists.”

Members of Hamas or other groups may also exhibit negative beliefs and actions, including violence, and pages could undoubtedly be written about horrible behaviors and statements. However, what I’m trying to bring to people’s attention is that the US media and government display a dysfunctional, negative, and ignorant bias against Islamists and other Muslims, including Iranians, with what seems to be a deliberate effort to mask positive principles with a “crazy, unreasonable, malicious Muslim extremist” caricature.

Again, the vast majority of Islamists are peaceful, but the principles behind Islamists’ and other Muslims’ violence can often be positive and admirable and the grievances behind the violence are often legitimate and in need of remedy. If groups could have their legitimate needs met and their valid grievances remedied—simply in response to their non-violent, verbal expression of these needs and grievances, then groups would not feel the need to resort to violence!

At this point, Palestinian needs should not be denied simply because Hamas has inflicted violence, as if the satisfaction of needs would be considered a “reward” for the violence. Palestinian needs have already been denied for a century: they’ve been denied whether they’ve been peaceful or violent. The key is to satisfy the legitimate needs of Palestinians and Hamas today—as well as Muslims in other nations—and assure them that future problems can be satisfied through respectful dialogue and cooperative negotiation without their needing to resort to violence.

Israeli former Knesset member Moshe Feiglin wants to level Gaza, firebomb it like Dresden in WWII, and expel all Palestinians to Egypt. He says that if you don’t hit the Palestinians hard enough, they’ll hit back with violence. “‘Anything less than that, and we’ll be defeated, and we’ll get the same things again and again; even in a worse way.’”[8]

Well, yes, if you attack them, they’ll attack back. But he’s got it all backwards. It’s not inflicting violence upon Palestinians that will solve the problem. You’ve got to look at the positive motivations and legitimate needs of Palestinians and of Hamas and satisfy those needs. The answer is not to hit these groups with so much violence that they won’t be able to hit back. The answer is to address their legitimate needs and grievances—which do exist—so that they don’t feel the need to resort to violence anymore. The same, incidentally, holds true for Iran, a nation also unjustly and inaccurately depicted as crazy and malicious.[9]

Having briefly examined some background to the Muslim Brotherhood, we can turn again to the two Palestinian groups, Hamas and Fatah. A major source of conflict between Hamas and Fatah is their attitude towards the benefits and dangers of engaging in negotiations with Israel as opposed to continuing armed conflict. Fatah believes in negotiating with Israel and has ruled out any form of attack. Hamas, however, believes in using armed resistance and feels that Fatah doesn’t stand for any principles. The fear of Hamas is that negotiations between the PA and Israel would only be an unjust sell-out of the Palestinian cause for the personal benefit of Fatah’s political leaders.

I’m a supporter of non-violent conflict resolution, so it’s admirable that Fatah has ruled out violence. However, notice that underlying Hamas’ decision to use violence is a goal of standing up for principles and not selling out the Palestinian cause. If we could look at these principles, help support those that are clearly legitimate, and satisfy the underlying human needs of those that do not seem legitimate, Hamas may not feel the need to resort to violence.

Distrust in negotiations is not merely a ploy of those who love violence. There can be valid reasons to distrust bargain makers. After all, the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995 between the PLO’s Yasir Arafat and Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin, for which they were awarded a Nobel Peace Prize, were widely considered by Palestinians and other Muslims, including 9/11 pilot Mohammed Atta,[10] to be a sell-out to Israel of Palestinian goals and grievances. Following the accords, Palestinians lost more territory, their economy and job prospects further declined, and Arafat used the aid he received to boost up his security forces to use against Palestinians.

Israel’s insistence that Arafat rein in Hamas only aggravated his oppressive tactics against Palestinians, thus undermining Palestinian support for the PLO and undermining chances for peace and harmony amongst Palestinians, since the violent imposition of control naturally undermines the growth of non-violent understanding, dialogue, and peace. Arafat imposed upon Palestinians a corrupt and authoritarian regime, press censorship, and security forces that committed brutal interrogations and arbitrary arrests to silence any opposition to Arafat.[11] In short, while a non-violent negotiation with a former enemy can sound and even be wonderful and peaceful, it can also be a selfish deal in which a leader achieves little or nothing for his people, acquires power, status, money, and a peace prize for himself, and even puts his own people’s lives in danger.

Efforts at reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah continue to be hindered by the US and Israeli governments who have pressured Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the State of Palestine and Palestinian National Authority since 2005, to oppose reconciliation. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an advocate of Jabotinsky’s aggressive form of revisionist Zionism, has stated that Israel will never make peace with Hamas, as if the people of Hamas are less than human and possess utterly invalid grievances. Israel’s government, which opposes any inclusion of Hamas within the PA, seems to have doomed the PA with a fate of eternal conflict and nothing but a choice of enemies: make peace either with Israel or with Hamas, but not both.[12] 

As a result of the conflict between Fatah and Hamas amplified by the tension driven between Palestinians by US and Israeli support for Mahmoud Abbas, violent relations exist between the Palestinian Authority’s security forces and Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has routinely killed Palestinian civilians, including demonstrators and journalists, without charges or fair trial. Torture by the PA is widely used.[13] Journalists are intimidated into signing pledges to refrain from covering issues that are critical of the PA.[14] 

The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group reported that 16 percent of Palestinian civilian deaths caused by Israeli and Palestinian security forces between 1993 and 2003 were caused by Palestinian security forces. They killed fellow Palestinians either for helping Israelis, for speaking out against Arafat, or for belonging to a rival gang.

Charged by Israel with keeping Hamas inline, the Fatah-oriented PA is much more violent than it would need to be if there were peace between Hamas and Fatah. The Human Rights Watch Report of 2018 was equally critical of both the PA and Hamas. Hamas arrests people associated with Fatah. The PA arrests not only people associated with Hamas but also Fatah rivals of Mahmoud Abbas.

Shawan Jabarin, executive director of the Palestinian human rights organization al-Haq and a member of the Human Rights Watch Middle East, remarks: “‘The fact that Israel systematically violates Palestinians’ most basic rights is no reason to remain silent in the face of the systematic repression of dissent and the torture Palestinian security forces are perpetrating.’”  Human Rights Watch found that few Palestinian security officers have been prosecuted and none have been convicted for wrongful arrest or torture.[15] 

Jabarin is right. Horrible human relations need to be fixed at every front of conflict: between Palestinians and Israelis, amongst Palestinians, and amongst Israelis. If you repair human rights only at one front of conflict, you’re not significantly building your human capacity for peaceful, constructive relations across fronts—you’re only channeling the hatred, anger, and cruelty into other fronts. The idea is to get rid of cruelty, violence, and injustice at every front of conflict.

As Erika Waak reports, without excusing violence amongst Palestinians, it must be acknowledged that the occupation and war conditions in which Palestinians live breeds internal hostility amongst Palestinians.[16]  External tension with Israel breeds internal tension amongst Palestinians, and PLO efforts at negotiating with Israel that exclude Hamas also breed internal tension amongst Palestinians that in turn fuels external tension with Israel. This is why you’ve got to work hard at every front of conflict to overpower negative drives to commit acts of cruelty and hostility. The entire habit of human relations has to be reformed at multiple fronts of conflict.

It’s critical to understand the existence of multiple fronts of conflict within each side of a publicized conflict—not to downplay any of the fronts, but to emphasize the futility of violence. If one believes there’s only one front of conflict, it can be too easily believed that “the war to end all wars” will solve once and for all a major conflict and enable everyone to live in peace and harmony. It’s just not true. Wars don’t end wars. Wars only give people practice in acquiesing to the violent solutions of the violent. And tension at any front of conflict can mirror back and exacerbate the tensions at other fronts of conflict—even tensions within families.

Solutions to conflict should strive to address as many fronts of conflict as possible with a non-violent, cooperative approach.

14. Further loss of US credibility for failing to impartially uphold international law. The US government has a shameful tradition of a double standard system of morality with regard to international law and the UN Charter: it allows itself and its allies to flaunt international law and the UN Charter, but if its enemies violate or even possibly violate international law and the UN Charter, then this is seen as an abomination worthy of severe condemnation and punishment.[17]

Therefore, if the US government ever hopes to move beyond prejudice and rise above double standards, it ought to recognize when its own actions and those of its allies, including Israel, have violated international law and the UN Charter. As the authors in Foreign Affairs write, the US government should recognize its role in creating the current apartheid state by shielding Israel at the UN from Security Council resolutions of condemnation, by arming it with immense military aid, and by helping create accords that discount the legitimate needs of Palestinians.[18]

With regard to Israel and Palestine, UN Special Rapporteurs Francesca Albanese, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, and Paul Gaviria Betancur stated in an article dated Feb. 13, 2023:

“‘The systematic demolition of Palestinian homes, erection of illegal Israeli settlements and systematic denial of building permits for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank amounts to “domicide.”. . . .

“‘Direct attacks on the Palestinian people’s homes, schools, livelihoods and water sources are nothing but Israel’s attempts to curtail the Palestinians’ right to self-determination and to threaten their very existence. . . .

“‘Israel’s tactics of forcibly displacing and evicting the Palestinian population appear to have no limits. In occupied East Jerusalem, tens[19] of Palestinian families also face imminent risks of forced evictions and displacement, due to discriminatory zoning and planning regimes that favour Israeli settlement expansion—the act that is illegal under international law and amounts to a war crime. . . .

“‘The sealing of family homes of suspected offenders and the subsequent demolition of their homes is in fundamental disrespect of international human rights norms and the rule of law. Such acts amount to collective punishment which is strictly prohibited under international law. . . .

“‘We regret that impunity prevails, in particular for human rights violations and potential war crimes committed by the occupying power. It is high time for international adjudication bodies to determine the nature of the Israeli occupation and seek justice and accountability for all crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territory.’”[20]

(Special Rappateurs are part of a body of independent experts, the Human Rights Council, within the UN Human Rights system. They work on a voluntary basis and are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work.)

The US government should take care that its own actions are in accord with moral and legal principles. It would be so refreshing—a source of pride for Americans—if the US government scrapped its holy code book of double standard morality and upheld a system of impartial justice. Yes, it is important to care for Jewish people, as it is important to care for any group of people. Anti-Semitism is a horrible attitude and behavior. But we must take care and realize that the Israeli government is not upholding positive values and principles.

15. Further Power to a Few Loud Voices Who Are Unrepresentative of Most but Representative of Israel’s Likud Party: AIPAC. It’s difficult to imagine that the US population, if adequately informed of the behavior of Israel’s government, would support sending funds and military aid to that government and shielding it from UN condemnation. But the US government, instead of being driven democratically by the people, seems more driven by powerful, unrepresentative lobbies. 

One central player in the intra-Jewish conflict that severely affects US foreign policymaking is AIPAC.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was foundedin 1953[21] by Isaiah “Si” Kenen, a former employee of the Israeli Office of Information at the United Nations. When I checked out its website back in 2021, AIPAC proclaimed its mission statement:

“We are a bipartisan American organization that advocates for a strong US-Israel relationship.

“The mission of AIPAC—the American Israel Public Affairs Committee—is to strengthen and expand the US-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel.

“We engage with and educate decision-makers about the bonds that unite the two countries, and how it is in America’s best interest to help ensure that the Jewish state remains safe, strong, and secure.”

The website then reads: “America & Israel: Connected for Good” and includes the explanation that “America’s support for Israel promotes peace—including a negotiated two-state agreement with the Palestinians —and helps deter regional conflict by making clear to potential foes that they cannot defeat the Jewish state.”[22]

Notice right away that the goal of AIPAC is not to create bonds of love within Israel, between Israelis and Americans, or between Israelis and its present and potential foes, such as Palestinians and Iranians. Its goal is not to engender feelings of joy and happiness, conditions of impartial justice, fully empathic 360 truthful reporting, or harmony through friendship and equality. AIPAC’s goals are precisely and narrowly constricted to the safety, strength, and security of Israel by means of intimidating potential foes. How likely is it that all Jews share these goals? Isn’t it likely that many would value cooperative dialogue and mutual justice and caring with potential foes?

According to AIPAC, deterring regional conflict is not gained by mutual caring, dialogue, and cooperative efforts to ensure that all sides of potential conflict are treated fairly. Instead, conflict is deterred through military might and intimidation, which is why Israel is allowed to have a secret, unmonitored nuclear arsenal of some 80 nukes in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty while the thought of Iran having even one is portrayed by the double-standard groupthink of US political leaders and the US media as downright dangerous and evil.[23]

Describing itself as a bipartisan organization leaves one with the impression that AIPAC must be sensible and cooperative. After all, we’re meant to assume, why would both parties endorse it so routinely if it did not appeal to the common sense and wisdom of both parties? But actually, US foreign policy has been largely bipartisan since the Cold War of the 1950s, and this bipartisanship has not been the wise result of cooperative, reasoned dialogue between two different viewpoints but rather it has been and continues to be monopartisanship—the domination of the one point of view that’s allowed to dominate US foreign policy, whether Americans like it or not. It’s akin to having one political party running our foreign policy with no input from American citizens save those who are involved in lobbyist groups such as AIPAC.

By the mid-1970s, this pro-Israel lobby had begun to acquire immense financial and political power—enough to sway congressional opinion. The Jewish population comprises only 2.4% of the adult US population, but AIPAC has enough power to push proposals through both parties and both houses of Congress with little dissent.[24] Yet the undemocratic nature of this power goes much further, because AIPAC doesn’t even represent all or most American Jews. It doesn’t even represent all or most Israelis. It’s a right-wing, pro-military force, pro-Likud Party organization.

Kenen retired in 1974 and in the 1980s AIPAC’s board was dominated by the Gang of Four—four wealthy Jewish businessmen, one being Democratic who later moved right, and three being Republican. The undemocratic challenge for the new executive director, Thomas Dine, was to develop a nationwide network that would influence every member of Congress, even though “Jews make up less than three percent of the American population, concentrated in nine states, and they voted overwhelmingly Democratic.”

AIPAC’s power over congressional members is used to thwart any peace-leaning US President and any Labor Party-leaning Israeli Prime Minister. For example, when President Ford replaced Nixon and Prime MinisterYitzhak Rabin succeeded Golda Meir, Ford, not too enthusiastic about Rabin, announced it was time for a reassessment of US support for Israel. But Rabin was able to mobilize AIPAC who in turn was able to persuade both houses of Congress to oppose Ford’s plan and cancel the reassessment.[25]

But even Rabin, according to Daniel Kurtzer, then Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, “‘was furious with AIPAC. He felt they were allied with Likud and would undermine him in what he was trying to do.’” Rabin and PLO leader Arafat signed the Oslo Accords in September 1993, but, while AIPAC officially endorsed the accords, it also tried to sabotage it.

In 1995, AIPAC encouraged the new Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, to support a bipartisan bill with Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem—a step that would enrage Palestinians, who wanted East Jerusalem for their own capital. Israel had seized the eastern parts of Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 June War.

Back in 1984, President Reagan had never supported the idea and threatened to veto such a bill.[26] In 1995, neither Rabin nor President Clinton supported the bill, but AIPAC promoted it and Congress passed it with an overwhelming majority. President Clinton invoked a national-security waiver to prevent its enactment, as has every president since, except for Trump, who, in 2017, called for the embassy’s transference to Jerusalem, largely in a move to satisfy a particular segment ofzealous Christians.

Both US Presidents Clinton and Obama were stymied by AIPAC’s power over Congress. Clinton and Prime Minister Netanyahu did not get along because of Netanyahu’s support for the aggressive Jewish settlement of Palestinian land. But, while Netanyahu had trouble in gaining support from Clinton, Netanyahu, who’d been close to AIPAC since the 1980s, was able to get around the US President by gaining support from the US Congress, thanks to AIPAC.

Obama admirably stated during his 2008 campaign, “‘I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re opposed to Israel, that you’re anti-Israel, and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel.’” Obama hit the nail on the head. There are many different Israeli Jewish voices and many different American Jewish voices, and to act as though the pro-Likud, AIPAC, pro-settlement, pro-military force approach is the only one that truly represents Israeli Jews and American Jews is false and bigoted.

As Yossi Beilin, a former official in Israel’s Labor government observed about AIPAC, “‘They always want to punish the Arabs. . . . They are a very rightist organization, which doesn’t represent the majority of Jews in America, who are Democratic and liberal. They want to protect Israel from itself—especially when moderate people are Israel’s leaders.’”

And it’s not only Democratic US presidents who are angry with AIPAC. In 1991, one of the Gang of Four, Mayor “Bubba” Mitchell, went in to have a little talk with Republican President Bush Sr., who had decided to delay a $10 billion loan guarantee to Israel largely because of its continuing expansion of settlements on Palestinian land. The US Congress was backing Bush. Mitchell was convinced of his influence, but he was reportedly shaking afterwards because Bush had yelled at him. The next year, Israel voted out Yitzhak Shamir and the Likud Party and voted in Yitzhak Rabin and the Labor Party. It was not until then, when Rabin scaled back the settlements, that Bush asked Congress for the loan guarantees.[27]

AIPAC is simply not representative of Israeli Jews, nor of American Jews, nor of Americans. As Connie Bruck writes in her highly illuminating article in the New Yorker:

“Today, a growing number of American Jews, though still devoted to Israel, struggle with the lack of progress towards peace with the Palestinians. Many feel that AIPAC does not speak for them.The Pew Center’s survey found that only thirty-eight percent of American Jews believe that the Israeli government is sincerely pursuing peace. . . . In a Gallup poll in late July, only a quarter of Americans under the age of thirty thought that Israel’s actions in Gaza were justified.”

What had happened in Gaza? In early 2009 a truce between Israel and Palestine collapsed. Israel attacked Gaza and nearly 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed. Later that year the UN Human Rights Council issued a report, based on an inquiry led by South African jurist Richard Goldstone, that accused Israel of possible war crimes.

Evidently without any concern about what happened in Gaza to Palestinians, and without any purpose of representing American Jewish or Israeli Jewish opinion, AIPAC condemned the report as “‘rigged’” and sponsored a resolution to condemn the Goldstone report. In the House, 344 voted in favor of AIPAC’s resolution. In reaction to Israel’s actions in Gaza,AIPAC pushed the US Senate to pass a resolution in support of Israel’s “‘right to defend its citizens.’” The resolution passed “without a word of dissent.”

In fact, US Congressman Brian Baird visited Gaza a few weeks after the 2009 Israeli attack, and he remarked on witnessing staggering levels of suffering of families and devastating destruction in Gaza of homes, hospitals, schools, industries, and infrastructure. He also read the Goldstone report and found it confirmed what he himself saw. When Congress was working to condemn the Goldstone report, Baird remarked, “‘We have member after member coming to the floor to vote on a resolution they’ve never read, about a report they’ve never seen, in a place they’ve never been.’”

And that’s what is called democracy in the United States.

So an organization that is unrepresentative of Jews, of Israelis, and of Americans is able to get the US Congress to vote for AIPAC resolutions without having read the resolutions or the Goldstone report or without having learned about Israeli behavior in Gaza. It’s able to get Americans to distrust and hate—and maybe someday attack—Iran. Iran! A nation that’s been bossed around for much of the past few hundred years by European and US powers. A nation whose democratically-elected leader was toppled by the CIA in 1953 and replaced by the hated Shah. Yet Iran is portrayed as the aggressor!

How does this happen so readily? The answer is that great facilitator of surface-level cooperation: money. Bruck quotes Brian Baird, a psychologist who grew up as a child admiring Israel but who’s also sympathetic to Palestinians. He first ran for Congress in 1996.

“‘The difficult reality is this: in order to get elected to Congress, if you’re not independently wealthy, you have to raise a lot of money. And you learn pretty quickly that, if AIPAC is on your side, you can do that.

“‘Any member of Congress knows that AIPAC is associated indirectly with significant amounts of campaign spending if you’re with them, and significant amounts against you if you’re not with them.’

For Baird, AIPAC-connected money amounted to about two hundred thousand dollars in each of his races—‘and that’s two hundred thousand going your way, versus the other way: a four-hundred-thousand-dollar swing.’”[28]

How this is any different from bribery is not clear. Yet in 2023, AIPAC’s website is bold enough to proudly and shamelessly state that AIPAC “is the largest pro-Israel PAC in America and contributed more resources directly to candidates than any other PAC. 98% of AIPAC-backed candidates won their general election race in 2002.”[29]

In other words, AIPAC’s going to determine who wins US elections from now on! Throw out the US Constitution! There will be no more voting in the United States, only AIPAC’s purchasing of candidates for the benefit of Israel’s Likud party, especially the extremists within it. And AIPAC is proud of this! Just as it’s proud of Netanyahu’s highly undemocratic government that violates international law![30]

If the US government were to continue to support apartheid, to support Israel’s government right or wrong, or to say meaningless words of condemnation with no bite, it’s a clear sign that AIPAC and the Likud party, not the American population, control US foreign policy. Have we been colonized?


[1] William Cleveland, A History of the Modern Middle East, 3rd ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2004), 358-60.

[2] Dilip Hiro, Holy Wars: The Rise of Islamic Fundamentalism (New York: Routledge, 1989), 67;

John L. Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality? (New York: Oxford Univ., 1992), 100.

[3] Hiro, Holy Wars, 60-61.

[4] Cleveland, History,193-204.

[5] Noah Feldman, After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003), 20, 140.

[6] Feldman, After Jihad, 77-78.

[7] Cleveland, History, 199-200;

Hiro, Holy Wars, 75-77.

[8] Russia Today, “Israeli politician wants Gaza turned to ‘Dresden,’” Oct. 25, 2023, https://www.rt.com.

[9] The above eleven paragraphs about the Muslim Brotherhood and also about Moshe Feiglin were not included in the original memo of June 28, 2023.

[10] 4Corners, “Ralph Bodenstein,” interviewed by Liz Jackson, Oct. 15, 2001, http://web.archive.org/web/20080617121230/http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/atta/interviews/bodenstein.htm.

[11] Cleveland, History, 508-9.

[12]  Jerusalem Post Staff, “Abbas Reacts: PM Must Choose between Peace, Settlements,” Jerusalem Post, Apr. 27, 2011, https://www.jpost.com.

[13] Erika Waak, “Violence amongst the Palestinians,” The Humanist, vol. 63 no. 1, January-February 2003, 30, https://www.thefreelibrary.com.

[14] Khaled Abu Toameh, “Award-Winning Palestinian Journalist Forced into Hiding,” The Jerusalem Post, August 6, 2011, https://www.jpost.com.

[15] Yonah Jeremy Bob, “HRW Report: PA, Hamas Are Torturing Palestinians,” Jerusalem Post, Oct. 23, 2018. https://www.jpost.com.

[16] Waak, “Violence amongst the Palestinians.”

[17] Kristin Christman, “Weaknesses of the National Security Strategy 2022 Part 9,” June 18, 2023, https://www.countercurrents.org;

Kristin Christman, “Weaknesses of the National Security Strategy 2022 Part 10,” July 1, 2023, https://www.countercurrents.org.

[18] Michael Barnett, Nathan Brown, Marc Lynch, and Shibley Telhami, “Israel’s One-State Reality,” Foreign Affairs, Apr. 14, 2023, https://www.foreignaffairs.com.

[19] Based on other sources, I think this should probably read “hundreds,” but the OHCHR article says “tens,” so I’m not certain.

[20] Francesca Albanese, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, and Paul Gaviria Betancur, “UN experts say Israel should be held accountable for acts of ‘domicide,’” OHCHR, Feb. 13, 2023, https://www.ohchr.org.

[21] Michael Oren, Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776 to the Present (New York: W. W. Norton, 2007), 536.

[22] AIPAC, site accessed 2021, https://www.aipac.org

[23] Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, “Status of World Nuclear Forces,” Federation of American Scientists, current update November 2018, https://fas.org.   

[24] Pew Research Center, May 11, 2021, https://www.pewforum.org

[25] Oren, Power, Faith, and Fantasy, 536.

[26] Katharine Q. Seelye, “GOP Leaders Offer Bills to Move American Embassy in Israel,” New York Times, May 10, 1995, https://www.nytimes.com

[27] Connie Bruck, “Friends of Israel,” Sept. 1, 2014, New Yorker, https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/01/friends-Israel

[28] M. J. Rosenberg, “This Is How AIPAC Really Works,” The Nation, Feb. 14, 2019, https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/aipac-omar-israel-congress-anti-semitism/

[29] AIPAC, site accessed 2023, https://www.aipac.com.

[30] Ben Samuels, “The Things Netanyahu ‘Forgot’ to Tell AIPAC,” Jan. 10, 2023, https://www.haaretz.com.

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