Israel Wins US 2018 Election

Astute News

Judging from the mainstream media, Israel was not a major issue in the midterm election but it sure did come up a lot when candidates for office were wooing Jewish or Evangelical voters. To cite only one example, Florida Congressman Ron DeSantis criticized his opponent Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum during their gubernatorial race for receiving support from the Dream Defenders, a group favoring Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel, and giving a speech welcoming members of the Council on American-Islamic Relations to his city. DeSantis claimed in a video clip that “I can find anti-Semites around him, but it’s almost like ‘we don’t want to discuss that.’”

DeSantis, who sponsored the 2013 Palestinian Accountability Act which called for the withholding of U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority until it recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, charged that Gillum would not be a “friend” of Israel. In 2017, he co-founded

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America Goes to War

By Philip Giraldi
Source

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Some believe that the Cold War ended in 1991, when the Soviet Union fell apart. In retrospect, many observers also believe that a golden opportunity was missed to heal the wounds inflicted by over 45 years to hostility between the Washington and Moscow. Rather than encouraging development of a Russia that would adhere to Western European norms for elections, transparency and individual liberties, some in Europe and America instead sought to steal the country’s natural resources and other assets, a process that went on for some years under President Boris Yeltsin. The looting went hand-in-hand with particularly inept political moves on the part of President Bill Clinton, who ignored end of Cold War agreements to not use the break-up of the Soviet Union as an excuse to bring its former member states in Eastern Europe into NATO or any other military alliance hostile to Russia. The process of NATO expansion continues to this day, together with military maneuvers and the placement of new missile systems right along the Russian border, increasing Moscow’s justifiable paranoia about its security.

The military moves have been accompanied by a political deep freeze, particularly ironic as President Donald Trump during his campaign for office pledged to improve relations with Russia. They are now at their lowest ebb since the hottest days of the Cold War, including as they do the totally bogus sanctioning of Russian government officials under the maliciously conceived Magnitsky Act and the ongoing saga of Russiagate, which blames Moscow for interference in America’s 2016 election, so far without any real evidence being provided.

For those who think all of this is theater, think again. Some critics are beginning to recognize that the United States has become a country addicted to war and one need look no farther than the federal budget, where everything is being cut except military spending, which is set to increase even though there is no country or group of countries in the world that genuinely threaten the U.S.

Two recent stories in particular demonstrate just how far Washington has gone towards accepting that war has more-or-less become a natural condition for the United States of America. The first is an article “After years of fighting insurgencies, the Army pivots to training for a major war” that has largely been ignored, regarding how the U.S. military is changing its doctrine and training to enable it to fight a major war against a powerful national opponent. Previously, the armed forces were emphasizing countering non-government hostile agents like al-Qaeda and ISIS, the so-called counter-insurgency doctrine or COIN. According to Pentagon spokesmen, the shift is in recognition of the fact that over the horizon major conflicts are no longer as unthinkable as they once were.

According to the article, U.S. commanders are now beginning to emphasize the type of training that prevailed during the Cold War, tanks against tanks, artillery bombardments, and use of close air support. The change in doctrine derives from the 2018 National Defense Strategy assessment, which identified four national players that might go to war with the United States. They are major powers Russia and China, supplemented by nuclear North Korea and conventionally armed Iran.

The transition was discussed by former and current senior officers at the recent annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army, with particular concern being expressed that the “lessons learned” from the past seventeen years of insurgency warfare not be lost as the military returns to a more conventional model. There was also concern that the army is insufficiently resourced to continue to fight insurgencies while also taking on a major conventional component. Some officers believed that the army can handle both jobs simultaneously, but others were not so sure, observing that one really needs two distinct armies, one trained for conventional warfare and the other trained for insurgency operations, which are far more likely to occur and which are more difficult to manage.

Gen. Stephen Townsend, head of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, explained that “The future of war will be a hybrid threat. There’ll be everything from tanks and missiles and fighter-bombers down to criminal gangs, terrorists, suicide bombers and guerrilla cells. … We’re going to have to do all of that, the full spectrum of conflict.”

General David Petraeus, the “very model of a modern major general” i.e. one who never actually experiences combat, put his finger on why the change to conventional warfare is taking place now. It’s all about money, or as he put it, “it’s about getting resources. And big wars get you big resources.”

Retired Lt. General Guy Swan explained the challenge for the Army in military-speak, citing the career of his son, a West Point produced first lieutenant “…who hasn’t deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq, and what he’s been doing has been tank gunnery. He is focused on Russians and other high-end competitors.”

Between Petraeus’ comment on “big” resources and Swan’s on enemies to be killed as “high-end competitors” one might well begin to understand what today’s bloated defense establishment is all about. More money and business school jargon to euphemize wars and killing, with little regard for the possible consequences, including those competitors’ possession of nuclear weapons and the ability to deliver them on target. Russia has already warned that if it were attacked by a superior force (NATO) it would used tactical nuclear weapons as a first resort to defend itself. So much for learning tank gunnery.

The second article, also little commented on, made plain that the “competitive” army that is now evolving won’t be just some pretty toy sitting on a shelf unused. The former US commander in Europe from 2014-7 retired Lt. General Ben Hodges spoke at the Warsaw Security Forum on October 24th, where he told NATO allies that they would have to increase defense spending because the United States will not be able to protect them against a “resurgent Russia” while it is fighting China. He predicted that the U.S. will probably be at war with China within 15 years to protect its interests in the Pacific region.

Hodges cited increasing tension between Washington and Beijing in the South China Sea, China’s alleged “constant stealing [of] technology,” and Beijing’s perfectly legal purchasing of infrastructure in Africa, Latin America and Europe through the funding of and investment in projects. There was no mention of China actually threatening the United States and those were presumably Hodges’ reasons for going to war against a powerful nuclear armed nation.

Hodges is currently a strategic expert with the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington-based think tank that is heavily funded by globalists, NATO governments, and democracy promoters. Supporters include the U.S. government funded National Endowment for Democracy, the U.S. Mission to NATO, the NATO Public Diplomacy Division, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of State, the Lockheed Martin Corporation, the Raytheon Company, the European Defense Agency, the Chevron Corporation, Bell Helicopter, Textron Systems and BAE Systems. Oh yes, and also the neocon heavy United States Institute of Peace. The Center’s “experts” and staff are top heavy with Eastern Europeans who are focused on the threat from Russia, as is the institute. Donations to the Center are fully tax deductible by the IRS.

The awfulness of the two articles should be evident. The Army is only “under-resourced” if one considers its appropriate role to be continuously fighting countries in Asia and Europe that pose no threat to the United States. And the reality is that there is no reason for China and Russia to be viewed as threats at all. They are only turning into enemies due to the actions of the United States in their own neighborhoods, to include the NATO expansion and other provocations in the Middle East. Regarding China, the U.S. clearly believes that it is entitled to a sphere of influence that includes the entire Pacific Ocean while China cannot assert that it has any interests on own doorstep in the South China Sea.

And then there is the Strangelovean General Hodges and his pro-war establishment think tank. I wonder how much he gets paid for being a dependable mouthpiece for continuous aggression? He “predicts” war with China within 15 years. And what are the issues for what would justify risking a nuclear war? China stealing technology and protecting its local interests in Asia. And investing in the third world to acquire access to resources, which is precisely what the United States and Europeans have been doing to their benefit for many, many years. Smedley Butler once opined that “war is a racket.” If he were around today he would probably say that it is in reality a low-risk high-cost business designed to keep “heroes” like Petraeus, Swan, Townsend and Hodges fully employed.

The White Helmets Ride Again

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By Philip Geraldi
Source

I am often asked to explain why countries like Iran appear to be so aggressive, involving themselves in foreign wars and seeking to create alliances that they know will provoke the worst and most paranoid responses from some of their neighbors. My response is invariably that perceptions of threat depend very much on which side of the fence you are standing on. Saudi Arabia and Israel might well perceive Iranian actions as aggressive given the fact that all three countries are competing for dominance in the same region, but Iran, which is surrounded by powerful enemies, could equally explain its activity as defensive, seeking to create a belt of allies that can be called upon if needed if a real shooting war breaks out.

The United States and Israel are, of course, masters at seeing everything as a threat, justifying doing whatever is deemed necessary to defend against what are perceived to be enemies. They even exercise extraterritoriality, with Washington claiming a right to go after certain categories of “terrorists” in countries with which it is not at war, most particularly Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. Israel does likewise in its attacks on Lebanon and Syria. Both Tel Aviv and Washington have regularly crossed the line drawn by international legal authorities in terms of what constitutes initiating a “just” or “legal” war, i.e. an imminent threat to use force by a hostile power. Neither Israel nor the United States has really been threatened by an enemy or enemies in the past seventy years, so the definition of threat has been expanded to include after-the-fact as with 9/11 and potential as in the case of Israel and Iran.

The “which side of the fence” formulation has also had some interesting spin-offs in terms of how so-called non-state players that use violence are perceived and portrayed. Nearly all widely accepted definitions of terrorism include language that condemns the “use of politically motivated violence against non-combatants to provoke a state of terror.”

It is quite easy to identify some groups that are unambiguously “terrorist.” Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) and its various affiliates fit the definition perfectly, but even in that case there is some ambiguity by those state actors who are ostensibly pledged to eradicate terrorists. There have been credible claims that the United States has been protecting the last enclaves of ISIS in order to maintain its “right” to stay in Syria, allegedly based on the stated objective of completely destroying the group before withdrawal. As long as ISIS is still around in Syria, Washington will have an admittedly illegal justification for doing likewise.

There are two notable groups that should be universally condemned as terrorists but are not for political reasons. They are the Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK), Iranian dissidents that are based in Paris and Washington, and the so-called White Helmets who have been active in Syria. MEK is particularly liked by Israel and its friends inside the Beltway because it retains resources inside Iran that enable it to carry out assassinations and sabotage, and if it is only Iranians that are dying, that’s okay.

MEK has been on the State Department roster of foreign terrorist organizations since the list was established in 1997. Its inclusion derives from its having killed six Americans in the 1970s and from its record of violence both inside and outside Iran since that time. The group was driven out of Iran, denied refuge in France, and eventually armed and given a military base by Iraq’s leader Saddam Hussein. Saddam used the group to carry out terrorist acts inside Iran. MEK is widely regarded as a cult headed by a husband and wife team Massoud and Maryam Rajavi. Its members were required to be celibate and there are reports that they are subjected to extensive brainwashing, physical torture, severe beatings even unto death, and prolonged solitary confinement if they question the leadership. One scholar who has studied them describes their beliefs as a “weird combination of Marxism and Islamic fundamentalism.” Like many other terrorist groups MEK has a political wing that operates openly referred to as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which is based in Paris, and another front organization called Executive Action which operates in Washington.

MEK was regarded as a terrorist group until 2012, when it was taken off the Special Designation list by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was removed because multi-million dollar contracts with Washington lobbying firms experienced at “working” congress backed up by handsome speaking fees had induced many prominent Americans to join the chorus supporting NCRI. Prior to 2012, speaking fees for the group started at $15,000 and went up from there. Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell reported more than $150,000 in honoraria. Rudy Giuliani has been paid generously for years at $20,000 per appearance for brief, twenty-minute speeches. Bear in mind that MEK was a listed terrorist group at the time and accepting money from it to promote its interests should have constituted material support of terrorism.

The group’s well-connected friends have included prominent neocons like current National Security Advisor John Bolton and ex-CIA Directors James Woolsey, Michael Hayden and Porter Goss as well as former Generals Anthony Zinni, Peter Pace, Wesley Clark, and Hugh Shelton. Traditional conservatives close to the Trump Administration like Newt Gingrich, Fran Townsend and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao are also fans of NCRI. Townsend in particular, as a self-proclaimed national security specialist, has appeared on television to denounce Iran, calling its actions “acts of war” without indicating that she has received money from an opposition group.

MEK’s formula for success in removing itself from the terrorism lift involved paying its way through a corrupt political system. More interesting perhaps is the tale of the White Helmets, who have just been given the 2019 Elie Wiesel Award by the National Holocaust Museum, with the citation “These volunteer rescue workers have saved lives on all sides of the conflict in Syria. Their motto is ‘To save one life is to save all of humanity.’”

The White Helmets have been praised by those who hate the government of President Bashar al-Asad in Syria and want to see it removed because of its role as a leading element in the propaganda campaign that seeks to instigate violence or use fabricated information to depict the Damascus government as guilty of slaughtering its own citizens. The propaganda is intended to terrorize the civilian population, which is part of the definition of terrorism.

Favorable media coverage derives from the documentary The White Helmets, which was produced by the group itself and tells a very convincing tale promoted as “the story of real-life heroes and impossible hope.” It is a very impressive piece of propaganda, so much so that it has won numerous awards including the Oscar for Best Documentary Short last year and the White Helmets themselves were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. More to the point, however, is the undeniable fact that the documentary has helped shape the public understanding of what is going on in Syria, describing the government in Damascus in purely negative terms.

Recently, with the Syrian Army closing in on the last White Helmet affiliates still operating in the country, the Israeli government, assisted by the United States, staged an emergency humanitarian evacuation of the group’s members and their families to Israel and then on to Jordan. It was described in a BBC article that included “The IDF said they had ‘completed a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organization and their families’, saying there was an ‘immediate threat to their lives.’ The transfer of the displaced Syrians through Israel was an exceptional humanitarian gesture. Although Israel is not directly involved in the Syria conflict, the two countries have been in a state of war for decades. Despite the intervention, the IDF said that ‘Israel continues to maintain a non-intervention policy regarding the Syrian conflict.’”

All of the Israeli assertions are nonsense, including its claimed “humanitarianism” and “non-intervention” in the Syrian war, where it has been bombing almost daily. The carefully edited scenes of heroism under fire that have been filmed and released worldwide conceal the White Helmets’ relationship with the al-Qaeda affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra and its participation in the torture and execution of “rebel” opponents. Indeed, the White Helmets only operate in rebel held territory, which enables them to shape the narrative both regarding who they are and what is occurring on the ground.

The White Helmets travelled to bombing sites with their film crews trailing behind them. Once at the sites, with no independent observers, they are able to arrange or even stage what is filmed to conform to their selected narrative. Exploiting their access to the western media, the White Helmets thereby de facto became a major source of “eyewitness” news regarding what was going on in those many parts of Syria where European and American journalists were quite rightly afraid to go, all part of a broader largely successful “rebel” effort to manufacture fake news that depicts the Damascus government as engaging in war crimes directed against civilians, an effort that has led to several attacks on government forces and facilities by the U.S. military. This is precisely the propaganda that has been supported both by Tel Aviv and Washington.

Perhaps the most serious charge against the White Helmets consists of the evidence that they actively participated in the atrocities, to include torture and murder, carried out by their al-Nusra hosts. There have been numerous photos of the White Helmets operating directly with armed terrorists and also celebrating over the bodies of execution victims and murdered Iraqi soldiers. The group’s jihadi associates regard the White Helmets as fellow “mujahideen” and “soldiers of the revolution.”

So, the National Holocaust Museum, which is taxpayer funded, has given an apparently prestigious award to a terrorist group, something which could have been discerned with even a little fact checking. And the museum also might have been sensitive to how the White Helmets have been used in support of Israeli propaganda vis-à-vis Syria. Perhaps, while they are at it, the museum’s board just might also want to check out Elie Wiesel, for whom the award is named. Wiesel, who was a chronicler of Jewish victimhood while persistently refusing to acknowledge what Israel was doing to the Palestinians, notoriously mixed fact and fiction in his best-selling holocaust memoir Night. Ironically, the award and recipient are well matched in this case as mixing fact and fiction is what both Elie Wiesel and the White Helmets are all about.

 

Pandering to israel (apartheid state)

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Trump and Bibi

The ability of Israel and its powerful Lobby to control many aspects of American government while also sustaining an essentially false narrative about the alleged virtues of the Jewish State is remarkable. Politicians and journalists learned long ago that it was better to cultivate Israel’s friends than it was to support actual American interests. They also discovered to speak the truth about the Jewish State often would prove to be a death sentence career-wise, witness the experiences of Cynthia McKinney, Paul Findlay, William Fulbright, Chuck Percy, James Traficant, Pete McCloskey and Rick Sanchez.

More recently, we have seen the ascent to real political power on the part of a number of politicians whose pandering to Israel has been notorious, indicating that the path to the White House goes through Tel Aviv and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) offices on H Street in the District of Columbia. Nikki Haley, who recently resigned as United Nations Ambassador, gained national attention when she became the first state governor to sign off on laws that would punish supporters of the non-violent BDS movement. Subsequently, as ambassador, she became noted for her impassioned defense of Israel, to include complaining that “nowhere has the U.N.’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel.” She vowed that the “days of Israel bashing are over” and is now being groomed by the neocons as a possible presidential candidate for 2020. Whichever way it goes, she will be showered with money by Israel supporters as she finds her perch in the private sector, like others before her doing “work” that she does not understand while also making speeches about the importance of the Israeli relationship.

All of that said, one of the truly odd aspects of the Israeli/Jewish dominance is its ability to change the United States. Normally, a tiny client state attached to a great power would conform to its patron, but in the U.S.-Israel relationship the reverse has happened. When 9/11 occurred Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was pleased, commenting that the attack would tie the United States more closely to Israel in its war against “terrorism,” which to him meant his Islamic neighbors in the Middle East. Since that time, the bilateral “special” relationship has conformed to what Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer observed in their groundbreaking book “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” namely that the United States does things in the Middle East that cannot be attributed to national interest. Rather, Washington behaves in a certain way due to the power of Israel and its lobby. There is no other way to explain it.

The emergence of Israeli practices as models to be adopted by U.S. agencies has occurred, to be sure, to include Israeli training American policemen and soldiers in their “methods,” but the odd thing is that as Israel has lurched to the right and embraced political extremism under Netanyahu, the United States has done the same thing, curtailing civil liberties with the Patriot Acts, the Military Commissions Act, and various updates of the Authorization to Use Military Force. Indefinite detention without trial and assassination of citizens overseas is now acceptable in America and criticizing Israel could soon become a criminal offense in spite of the First Amendment. In short, the United States of America has become more like Israel rather than vice versa.

With one or two exceptions, there is no one in the United States government, elected or civil service, who has anything that is not wonderful to say about Israel in spite of the numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by Netanyahu nearly daily, the unfunded costs of the wars fought in part on behalf of Israel, and the thousands of dead American soldiers plus the hundreds of thousands of dead foreigners, nearly all Muslims. Indeed, Netanyahu is treated like a conquering hero, having received 23 standing ovations from Congress in 2015 when he was in the United States complaining about an agreement with Iran made by President Barack Obama. This inside the beltway approval of Israel contrasts sharply with the general view of the rest of the world, which sees both the U.S. and Israel negatively as the two nations most likely to start a new war.

There are several recent articles that demonstrate pretty clearly the danger in allowing Israel and its friends to have the power and access that they currently enjoy purely because government and the media make no effort to tell them “no” and rein them in. One comes from New Zealand where two women wrote a letter to the pop singer Lorde, urging her to cancel an appearance in Israel due to the treatment of the Palestinians. Lorde posted the letter on twitter, agreed and the trip was canceled.

The tale would have ended there but for the fact that Israel’s parliament the Knesset has passed a law now making it illegal to support a boycott of Israel ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD [my emphasis]. Enter the group called Shurat HaDin, which is an Israeli government supported lawfare instrument, that seeks to find and sue the perceived enemies of the Jewish state, punishing them through court costs and potentially bankruptcy.

The lawsuit argued that Lorde’s response on twitter after receiving the letter showed her decision was directly influenced by the New Zealand women’s plea. Three Israeli ticket holders filed the suit, claiming the cancellation had caused emotional distress. The Israeli court awarded damages of $12,000 dollars and their lawyer, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Shurat HaDin, boasted that the verdict was “precedent-setting,” sending a message that “no one can boycott Israel without paying for it.” Israeli government agents in New Zealand are taking steps to obtain the money, even though it remains unclear whether the plaintiffs will be able to collect the cash. Darshan-Leitner explained that she will seek to enforce the judgment through “international treaties” and go after the women’s bank accounts, either in New Zealand or if they try to travel abroad. Even if she is unsuccessful, the lawsuits will have a chilling effect on any individual or group seeking to criticize Israel’s brutal behavior by endorsing what once were perfectly legal boycotts.

A second story is possibly even more bizarre. On October 10th, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “Israel is everything we want the entire Middle East to look like going forward” while asserting that the bilateral relationship between Washington and Tel Aviv is “stronger than ever.” Pompeo was keynote speaker at an award ceremony hosted by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America in Washington D.C. He also hailed Israel as “democratic and prosperous,” adding “it desires peace, it is a home to a free press and a thriving economy.”

Pompeo also mentioned Iran, condemning the latter’s “corrupt leaders [who] assault the human rights of their own people and finance terrorism in every corner of the Middle East”. He also announced to a cheering audience that he had that same day denied a $165 million transfer of aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) because of the PA’s “funding of terror.” Pompeo was referring to the PA’s refusal to comply with Washington’s demands that it end the so-called “martyr payments” to the families of those killed or imprisoned by Israeli occupation forces.

Pompeo, together with National Security Advisor John Bolton, has been the driving force behind punishing the Iranians and Palestinians. Like others in Washington, he understands that success inside the beltway is best guaranteed by binding oneself as closely to Israel as possible. Pompeo certainly knows that Israel is not democratic, does not desire peace and is itself a major source of terrorism. Its government is corrupt, witness the current trial of Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife as well as the charges pending against the prime minister himself. A number of Israeli leaders have wound up in jail in the past few years. To describe Israel as a model for the entire Middle East is absurd, but, then again, Pompeo was speaking in front of the Jewish Institute for National Security and presumably intended to suck up to his wealthy and politically powerful audience.

How does Israel maintain its control over American politicians? First of all, no politician who wants to get reelected can risk even the mildest criticism of the Jewish state. Anyone who does so will be pilloried in the media before finding him or herself confronted by an extremely well-funded opponent who will oust them from office. And anyone who even suggests that the Palestinians are human beings that are being severely punished by a powerful Israel had best watch his or her back. On October 8th Congressman Eliot Engel of New York spoke regarding liberal Democrat rising star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three other liberals seeking congressional seats next month, all of whom have expressed sympathy for the Palestinians while also criticizing Israel’s heavy handed repression.

Engel told a New York synagogue gathering that had been organized and promoted by AIPAC that all Democrats “need to be educated” in support of Israel. “We are going to continue to work in Congress to make sure that we have overwhelming support for Israel on both sides of the aisle… I am certainly cognizant of the fact that people who are coming in as far as I’m concerned on the Democratic side, will be educated and need to be educated. But we have overwhelming support for Israel in the Congress. And… it will continue that way. We will maintain it that way.”

So, maintaining “overwhelming support” for Israel requires doing whatever is necessary, be it fair or foul, and many Jews and Jewish organizations worldwide, like Engel, are prepared to place alleged Israeli interests ahead of those of the countries where they actually reside. In America, Jewish groups and individuals have succeeded in buying politicians and using their money and control over much of the media to corrupt the entire political system to benefit Israel.

Israel should be judged by how it behaves, not by how well it buys favor among morally challenged politicians and media shills. Nor should it be seen favorably as it engages, threatens and destroys critics. When private citizens cannot write a letter to an entertainer without risk of being sued, deference to perpetual Israeli victimhood has gone way too far. When an intelligent man like Mike Pompeo finds it in his interest to say something transparently stupid in praise of Israel, something which he knows to be the reverse of the truth, the corruption of our elites becomes clear even to those who choose to remain blind to it. When a candidate for national office has to be “educated” by Jewish politicians to say the right things about Israel it smacks of Stalinism.

We Americans don’t need any more of this nonsense, which is inter alia destroying our liberties. It is largely driven by the guilt laden “holocaust hucksterism,” as Norman Finkelstein has termed it, that has been giving Israel a free pass for seventy years. It is time for a change in thinking about how we view our “good friend and ally” Israel, a country that is neither. It is time for government to do what is best for Americans, not for Israelis.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

The Path to World War III

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The minimal U.S. press coverage accorded to last Monday’s shooting down of a Russian intelligence plane off the coast of Syria is, of course, a reflection both of lack of interest and of Israel’s involvement in the incident. If one had read the New York Times or the Washington Post on the morning after the shoot-down or watched the morning network news it would have been easy to miss the story altogether. The corporate media’s desire to sustain established foreign policy narratives while also protecting Israel at all costs is as much a feature of American television news as are the once every five minutes commercials from big pharma urging the public to take medications for diseases that no one has ever heard of.

Israel is, of course, claiming innocence, that it was the Syrians who shot down the Russian aircraft while the Israeli jets were legitimately targeting a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” Seeking to undo some of the damage caused, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quickly telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express his condolences. He also sent his air force chief to Russia on Thursday to provide a detailed report on what had occurred from the Israeli perspective.

But that story, however it will be spun, is inevitably only part of the tale. The narrative of what occurred is by now well established. The Russian aircraft was returning to base after a mission over the Mediterranean off the Syrian coast monitoring the activities of a French warship and at least one British RAF plane. As a large and relatively slow propeller driven aircraft on a routine intelligence gathering mission, the Ilyushin 20 had no reason to conceal its presence. It was apparently preparing to land at its airbase at Khmeimim in Syria when the incident took place. It may or may not have had its transponder on, which would signal to the Syrian air defenses that it was a “friendly.”

Syrian air defenses were on high alert because Israel had attacked targets near Damascus on the previous day. On that occasion a Boeing 747 on the ground that Israel claimed was transporting weapons was the target. One should note in passing that Israeli claims about what it is targeting in Syria are never independently verifiable.

The Israelis for their part were using four F-16 fighter bombers to stage a surprise night attack on several sites near Latakia, close to the airbase being used by the Russians. They came in from the Mediterranean Sea and clearly were using the Russian plane to mask their approach as the Ilyushin 20 would have presented a much larger radar profile for the air defenses. The radar systems on the F-16s would also have clearly seen the Russian plane.

The Israelis might have been expecting that the Syrians would not fire at all at the incoming planes knowing that one of them at least was being flown by their Russian allies. If that was the expectation, it proved wrong and it was indeed a Syrian S-200 ground to air missile directed by its guidance system to the larger target that brought down the plane and killed its fourteen crew members. The Israelis completed their bombing run and flew back home. There were also reports that the French frigate offshore fired several missiles during the exchange, but they have not been confirmed while the British plane was also reportedly circling out of range though within the general area.

There was also a back story. The Israelis and Russian military had established a hotline, similar to the one that is used with the U.S. command in Syria, precisely intended to avoid incidents like the Ilyushin shoot-down that might escalate into a more major conflict. Israel reportedly used the line but only one minute before the incident took place, leaving no time for the Russian plane to take evasive action.

The Russian Ministry of Defense was irate. It saw the exploitation of the intelligence plane by the Israelis as a deliberate high-risk initiative. It warned “We consider these provocative actions by Israel as hostile. Fifteen Russian military service members have died because of the irresponsible actions of the Israeli military. This is absolutely contrary to the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership. We reserve the right for an adequate response.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin was more conciliatory, saying the incident was a “chain of tragic circumstances.” He contrasted it with the Turkish shoot-down of a Russian warplane in 2015, which was planned and deliberate, noting that Israel had not actually attacked the Ilyushin. Though the Putin comments clearly recognize that his country’s relationship with Israel is delicate to say the least, that does not mean that he will do nothing.

Many Israelis are emigres from Russia and there are close ties between the two countries, but their views on Syria diverge considerably. As much as Putin might like to strike back at Israel in a hard, substantive way, he will likely only upgrade and strengthen the air defenses around Russian troop concentrations and warn that another “surprise” attack will be resisted. Unfortunately, he knows that he is substantially outgunned locally by the U.S., France, Britain and Israel, not to mention Turkey, and a violent response that would escalate the conflict is not in his interest. He has similarly, in cooperation with his Syrian allies, delayed a major attempt to retake terrorist controlled Idlib province, as he works out a formula with Ankara to prevent heavy handed Turkish intervention.

But there is another dimension to the story that the international media has largely chosen to ignore. And that is that Israel is now carrying out almost daily air attacks on Syria, over 200 in the past 18 months, a country with which it is not at war and which has not attacked it or threatened it in any way. It justifies the attacks by claiming that they are directed against Iran or Hezbollah, not at Syria itself. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that any peace settlement in Syria include the complete removal of Iranians, a demand that has also been repeated by the United States, which is also calling for the end to the Bashar al-Assad government and its replacement by something more “democratic.”

Aggressive war directed at a non-threatening country is the ultimate war crime as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunals that followed after the Second World War, yet the United States and its poodles Britain and France have not so much as squeaked when Israel kills civilians and soldiers in its surprise attacks against targets that it alone frequently claims to be linked to the Iranians. Washington would not be in much of a position to cast the first stone anyway, as it is in Syria illegally, bombs targets regularly, to include two major cruise missile strikes, and, on at least one occasion, set a trap that reportedly succeeded in killing a large number of Russian mercenaries fighting on the Syrian government side.

And then there is the other dimension of Israeli interference with its neighbors, the secret wars in which it supports the terrorist groups operating in Syria as well as in Iran. The Netanyahu government has armed the terrorists operating in Syria and even treated them in Israeli hospitals when they get wounded. On one occasion when ISIS accidentally fired into Israeli-held territory on the Golan Heights it subsequently apologized. So, if you ask who is supporting terrorism the answer first and foremost should be Israel, but Israel pays no price for doing so because of the protection afforded by Washington, which, by the way, is also protecting terrorists.

There is, of course, an alternative explanation for the Israeli action. Netanyahu might have considered it all a win-win either way, with the Russian plane masking and enabling the Israeli attack without consequence for Israel or, perversely, producing an incident inviting retaliation from Moscow, which would likely lead to a shooting war with the United States after it inevitably steps in to support Israel’s government. In either case, the chaos in Syria that Israel desires would continue and even worsen but there would also be the potential danger of a possible expansion of the war as a consequence, making it regional or even broader.

It’s the same old story. Israel does risky things like attacking its neighbors because it knows it will pay no price due to Washington’s support. The downing of the Russian plane through Israeli contrivance created a situation that could easily have escalated into a war involving Moscow and Washington. What Israel is really thinking when it seeks to create anarchy all around its borders is anyone’s guess, but it is, to be sure, in no one’s interest to allow the process to continue. It is past time for Donald Trump to fulfill his campaign promise to pull the plug on American engagement in Syria and terminate the seemingly endless cycle of wars in the Middle East.

By Philip Giraldi
Source

Time for the U.S. to declare independence? israel’s (apartheid state) Fifth Column: Exercising control from inside the government

Israel’s Fifth Column: Exercising control from inside the government

Israel’s Fifth Column: Exercising control from inside the government

Back row, L-R: Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, Stuart Levey, Adam Szubin. Front row, L-R: Ambassador David Friedman, Sigal Pearl Mandelker, David Cohen. Pictured in front of the flag of Israel.

A Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff once said: ‘If the American people understood what a grip Israel has on our government, they would rise up in arms. Our citizens certainly don’t have any idea what goes on’… An attack on a U.S. Navy ship… Top officials in a secretive office in the Treasury Department… A U.S. ambassador and his senior assistant… Wars for Israel… Where does it all end?

By Philip Giraldi, Council for the National Interest

Referring to Israel during an interview in August 1983, U.S. Navy Admiral and former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Thomas Moorer said “I’ve never seen a President — I don’t care who he is — stand up to them. It just boggles the mind. They always get what they want. The Israelis know what is going on all the time. I got to the point where I wasn’t writing anything down. If the American people understood what a grip these people have got on our government, they would rise up in arms. Our citizens certainly don’t have any idea what goes on.”

USS Liberty crew wounded during
Israeli attack that killed 34 and injured 174.

Moorer was speaking generally but he had something specific in mind, namely the June 8, 1967, Israeli attack on the American intelligence ship, U.S.S. Liberty, which killed 34 American crewmen and wounded 174 more. The ship was operating in international waters and was displaying a huge stars and stripes but Israeli warplanes, which had identified the vessel as American, even strafed the life rafts to kill those who were fleeing the sinking ship. It was the bloodiest attack on a U.S. Naval vessel ever outside of wartime and the crew deservedly received the most medals every awarded to a single ship based on one action. Yes, it is one hell of a story of courage under fire, but don’t hold your breath waiting for Hollywood to make a movie out of it.

President Lyndon B. Johnson had ordered the recall of U.S. carrier planes sent to aid the stricken vessel, saying that he would prefer the ship go to the bottom rather than embarrass his good friend Israel. Then came the cover-up from inside the U.S. government. A hastily convened and summarily executed board of inquiry headed by Admiral John McCain, father of the senator, deliberately interviewed only a handful of crewmen before determining that it was all an accident. The sailors who had survived the attack as well as crewmen from Navy ships that arrived eventually to provide assistance were held incommunicado in Malta before being threatened and sworn to secrecy. Since that time, repeated attempts to convene another genuine inquiry have been rebuffed by congress, the White House and the Pentagon [and the media]. Recently deceased Senator John McCain was particularly active in rejecting overtures from the Liberty survivors.

Israeli spying gets Israel $10 billion

The Liberty story demonstrates how Israel’s ability to make the United States government act against its own interests has been around for a long time. Grant Smith of IRMEP, cites how Israeli spying carried out by AIPAC in Washington back in the mid-1980s resulted in a lopsided trade agreement that currently benefits Israel by more than $10 billion per year on the top of direct grants from the U.S. Treasury and billions in tax exempt “charitable” donations by American Jews.

If Admiral Moorer were still alive, I would have to tell him that the situation vis-à-vis Israeli power is much worse now than it was in 1983. He would be very interested in reading a remarkable bit of research recently completed by Smith demonstrating exactly how Israel and its friends work from inside the system to corrupt our political process and make the American government work in support of Jewish state interests. He describes in some detail how the Israel Lobby has been able to manipulate the law enforcement community to protect and promote Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s agenda.

Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence: safeguarding Israel’s interests

A key component in the Israeli penetration of the U. S. government has been President George W. Bush’s 2004 signing off on the creation of the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (OTFI) within the Department of the Treasury. The group’s website proclaims that it is responsible for “safeguarding the financial system against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats,” but it has from its founding been really all about safeguarding Israel’s perceived interests. Grant Smith notes however, how “the secretive office has a special blind spot for major terrorism generators, such as tax-exempt money laundering from the United States into illegal Israeli settlements and proliferation financing and weapons technology smuggling into Israel’s clandestine nuclear weapons complex.

Stuart Levey

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (left) meets with U.S. Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Fnancial Intelligence Stuart Levey, March 4, 2007. Levey operated secretly within the Treasury while coordinating regularly with the Israeli government as well as with pro-Israel organizations like AIPAC, WINEP and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). Levey also traveled regularly to Israel on the taxpayer’s dime, as did his three successors in office.

The first head of the office was Undersecretary of Treasury Stuart Levey, who operated secretly within the Treasury itself while also coordinating regularly both with the Israeli government as well as with pro-Israel organizations like AIPAC, WINEP and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). Levey also traveled regularly to Israel on the taxpayer’s dime, as did his three successors in office.

David Cohen

Levey left OTFI in 2011 and was replaced by David Cohen. It was reported then and subsequently that counterterrorism positions at OTFI were all filled by individuals who were both Jewish and Zionist. Cohen continued the Levey tradition of resisting any transparency regarding what the office was up to. Smith reports how, on September 12, 2012, he refused to answer reporter questions “about Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons, and whether sanctioning Iran, a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, over its internationally-inspected civilian nuclear program was an example of endemic double standards at OTFI.

[Editor’s note: Cohen has been close to Israel advocate Alan Dershowitz and his family from high school. “He practically lived in my house,” Dershowitz says. Dershowitz got Cohen his first job – working for the prominent Washington attorney Nathan Lewin.]

David Cohen began his career defending the right to display menorahs on government property. Cohen was the Obama administration’s top Iran sanctions official as the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. He was next second in command at the CIA.

Adam Szubin and Sigal Pearl Mandelker

Cohen was in turn succeeded in 2015 by Adam Szubin who was then replaced in 2017 by Sigal Pearl Mandelker, a former and possibly current Israeli citizen. All of the heads of OTFI have therefore been Jewish and Zionist. All work closely with the Israeli government, all travel to Israel frequently on “official business” and they all are in close liaison with the Jewish groups most often described as part of the Israel Lobby. And the result has been that many of the victims of OTFI have been generally enemies of Israel, as defined by Israel and America’s Jewish lobbyists. OTFI’s Specially Designated Nationals And Blocked Persons List (SDN), which includes sanctions and enforcement options , features many Middle Eastern Muslim and Christian names and companies but nothing in any way comparable relating to Israel and Israelis, many of whom are well known to law enforcement otherwise as weapons traffickers and money launderers . And once placed on the SDN there is no transparent way to be removed, even if the entry was clearly in error.

Adam J. Szubin testifies at Congressional hearing on Iran May 25, 2016 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. See video and transcript here.
Sigal Mandeker testifies against Iran on panel chaired by Deputy Attorney General Ros Rosenstein, March 23, 2018.  Video and transcript here. Mandeker was born in Israel; her current citizenship status is unknown.

Here in the United States, action by OTFI has meant that Islamic charities have been shut down and individuals exercising their right to free speech through criticism of the Jewish state have been imprisoned. If the Israel Anti-Boycott Act succeeds in making its way through congress the OTFI model will presumably become the law of the land when it comes to curtailing free speech whenever Israel is involved.

The OTFI story is outrageous, but it is far from unique. There is a history of American Jews closely attached to Israel being promoted by powerful and cash rich domestic lobbies to act on behalf of the Jewish state. To be sure, Jews who are Zionists are vastly overrepresented in all government agencies that have anything at all to do with the Middle East and one can reasonably argue that the Republican and Democratic Parties are in the pockets of Jewish billionaires named Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban.

Neocons pushed Iraq War, now target Iran

Neoconservatives, most of whom are Jewish, infiltrated the Pentagon under the Reagan Administration and they and their heirs in government and media (Doug Feith, Paul Wolfowitz, Scooter Libby, Richard Perle, Bill Kristol) were major players in the catastrophic war with Iraq, which, one of the architects of that war, Philip Zelikow, described in 2004 as being all about Israel. The same people are now in the forefront of urging war with Iran[More info on neocons pushing Iraq war is here]

Advertisement placed in New York Times with the names of the sponsoring groups whose symbols are at the bottom of the ad.

David Friedman

American policy towards the Middle East is largely being managed by a small circle of Orthodox Jews working for presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner. One of them, David Friedman, is currently U.S. Ambassador to Israel. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer who has no diplomatic or foreign policy credentials, is a Zionist Jew who is also a supporter of the illegal settlements on the West Bank and a harsh critic of other Jews who in any way disagree with the Israeli government. He has contributed money to settlement construction, which would be illegal if OTFI were doing its job, and has consistently defended the settlers while condemning the Palestinians in speeches in Israel.

He endlessly and ignorantly repeats Israeli government talking points and has tried to change the wording of State Department communications, seeking to delete the word “occupied” when describing Israel’s control of the West Bank. His humanity does not extend beyond his Jewishness, defending the Israeli shooting thousands of unarmed Gazan protesters and the bombing of schools, hospitals and cultural centers. How he represents the United States and its citizens who are not dual nationals must be considered a mystery.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman speaks at 2018 AIPAC national conference. Video and more information here. Friedman is a bankruptcy attorney with no previous diplomatic experience.
Palestinians in Gaza carry an injured girl, March 31, 2018. David Friedman defended Israeli shooting of unarmed Palestinian men, women, and children. (For list of all Israelis and Palestinians killed since 2000 go here.)

Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone

Friedman’s top adviser is Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone, who is described by the Embassy as an expert in “Jewish education and pro-Israel advocacy.” Once upon a time, in an apparently more enlightened mood, Lightstone described Donald Trump as posing “an existential danger both to the Republican Party and to the U.S.” and even accused him of pandering to Jewish audiences. Apparently when opportunity knocked he changed his mind about his new boss.

Pre-government in 2014, Lightstone founded and headed Shining City, a Jewish advocacy group supported by extreme right-wing money that opposed the Iran nuclear agreement and also worked to combat the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. He is reportedly still connected financially with anti BDS groups, which might be construed as a conflict of interest. As the Senior Adviser to Friedman he is paid in excess of $200,000 plus free housing, additional cash benefits to include a 25% cost of living allowance and a 10% hardship differential, medical insurance and eligibility for a pension.

Rabbi Aryeh Lightstone speaks at Yeshiva Ohr Yitzchok. Lightstone founded and headed Shining City, a Jewish advocacy group supported by extreme right-wing money that opposed the Iran nuclear agreement and also worked to combat the nonviolent BDS movement. As the Senior Adviser to Friedman he is paid in excess of $200,000 plus free housing, additional cash benefits to include a 25% cost of living allowance and a 10% hardship differential, medical insurance and eligibility for a pension.

Nothing for Americans, everything for Israel

So, what’s in it all for Joe and Jill American Citizens? Not much. And for Israel? Anything it wants, apparently. Sink a U.S. warship? Okay. Tap the U.S. Treasury? Sure, just wait a minute and we’ll draft some legislation that will give you even more money. Create a treasury department agency run exclusively by Jews that operates secretly to punish critics of the Jewish state? No brainer. Meanwhile a bunch of dudes at the Pentagon are dreaming of new wars for Israel, and the White House sends an ignorant ambassador and top aide overseas to represent the interests of the foreign government in the country where they are posted. Which just happens to be Israel. Will it ever end?


Philip M. Giraldi is Executive Director of the 501(c)3 tax deductible organization Council for the National Interest. He is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer. Mr. Giraldi was awarded an MA and PhD from the University of London in European History and holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Chicago. He speaks Spanish, Italian, German, and Turkish. An earlier version of this article was posted on Unz Review.

israel’s (Apartheid state) Money Machine, Jewish oligarchs fund crimes against humanity

Israel’s Money Machine

By Philip Giraldi,

The stars came out in Hollywood on November 2nd, or at least some of them did. The gala event celebrated the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and raised funds to support its mission in Israel itself and on the occupied West Bank. The organization being fêted was the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), which has fourteen regional offices in the United States and operates under the slogan “Their job is to look after Israel. Our job is to look after them.” In attendance were Arnold Schwarzenegger and actor Gerald Butler. Entertainment was provided by the singer Seal.

Hollywood Jewish royalty was thick on the ground, the grub was strictly kosher and billionaires competed to see who could give the most to such a worthy cause. The 1,200 attendees at the Beverly Hilton Hotel donated a record $53.8 million, with Oracle founder Larry Ellison leading the pack with a contribution of $16.6 million. Israeli media mogul Haim Saban, Hillary Clinton’s most generous supporter, served as host of the event and donated $5 million. Two weeks ago, a similar gathering of 1,200 in New York City dubbed “A Night of Heroes,” attended by GOP major donor casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, raised $35 million, $7 million coming from Adelson personally. FIDF reportedly was sitting on $190 million in contributions for the year before the Hollywood and New York events.

Donations to FIDF are tax deductible as the organization is registered with the U.S. Treasury as a 501(c)3 educational and charitable non-profit foundation. One might well ask how it is possible that the American taxpayer should subsidize a foreign military organization that is regularly accused of war crimes in its ongoing brutal and genocidal occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem? One might also wonder how an organization that continues a military occupation in opposition to multiple United Nations resolutions that have been endorsed by Washington gets any kind of tax break at all? And finally, one might reasonably ask why an organization that already gets in excess of $3.8 billion annually directly from the U.S. Treasury needs more money to allegedly provide creature comforts for its soldiers?

The answer to all of the above would be that Jewish power in the United States makes it happen. But more particularly, it is Jewish money that does the trick since cash on the table provides access both to the media and to the people that matter in Washington. A tight circle of billionaire oligarchs, including Saban, Ellison and Adelson as well as Paul Singer and Bernard Marcus directly support organizations like FIDF as well as major pro-Israel groups like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the America Israel Political Action Committee, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. The billionaires are not shy about where their loyalty lies, boasting as does Saban, that he is a one issue guy and that issue is Israel. Adelson has stated that he wishes that he had served in the Israeli army instead of the U.S. military and wants his son to grow up to “be a sniper for the IDF.” Both have publicly advocated bombing Iran. In Adelson’s case, the bomb would be nuclear.

Sometimes both the Israel agenda and the financial support is deliberately hidden, as in the case of the recently launched “Christian engagement in the Middle East” anti-Iran Philos Project, which was funded by Singer. The billionaires also directly donate to the campaigns of politicians and support projects that engage in the message management that is used to justify pro-Israel policies in Congress and the media.

Much of the current agitation to “do something” about Iran comes, for example, from these groups and media assets. In truth, American aid to Israel has become virtually untouchable and is something like a goose that keeps on laying golden eggs. The operation of “The Lobby,” generally regarded as the most powerful voice on foreign policy in Washington, led Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer to ask,

“Why has the U.S. been willing to set aside its own security … in order to advance the interests of another state? [No] explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the U.S. provides.”

They observed that

“Other special interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. interests and those of the other country—in this case, Israel—are essentially identical.”

The money committed by the Jewish oligarchs on behalf of Israel has turned out to be a good investment, returning billions for millions spent. Since the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948, it has been “the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II,” according to the Congressional Research Service. The United States has provided Israel with $233.7 billion in adjusted for inflation aid between 1948 through the end of 2012, reports Haaretz.

The $38 billion over ten years in military assistance that the Obama recently promised to Israel is far less than what will actually be received from the United States Treasury and from other American sources, including handouts from Congress. To cite only one recent example, in September Congressman Alcee Hastings proposed a legislative amendment that would give $12 million to help settle Israel’s Ethiopian community. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), speaking in the most recent legislative discussion over Israeli aid, stated that the $38 billion should be regarded as a minimum amount, and that Congress should approve additional funds for Israeli defense as needed.

At its most recent meeting in March 2017, AIPAC announced the latest windfall from America, applauding “the U.S. House of Representatives for significantly bolstering its support of U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation in the FY 2017 defense appropriations bill. The House appropriated $600.7 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense programs.” And there is a long history of such special funding for Israeli-connected projects. The Iron Dome missile-defense system was largely funded by the United States, to the tune of more than $1 billion. In the 1980s, the Israeli Lavi jet-fighter development program was funded by Washington, costing $2 billion to the U.S. taxpayer before it was terminated over technical and other problems, part of $5.45 billion in Pentagon funding of various Israeli weapons projects through 2002.

How Israel gets money from the United States Treasury is actually quite complex and not very transparent to the American public, going well beyond the check for $3.8 billion handed over at the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1st. Even that check, uniquely given to aid recipient Israel as one lump sum on the first day of the year, is manipulated to produce extra revenue. It is normally immediately redeposited with the U.S. Treasury, which then, because it operates on a deficit, borrows the money to pay interest on it as the Israelis draw it down. That interest payment costs the American taxpayer an estimated $100 million more per year. Israel has also been adept at using “loan guarantees,” an issue that may have contributed to the downfall of President George H.W. Bush. The reality is that the loans, totaling $42 billion, are never repaid by Israel, meaning that the United States Treasury picks up the tab on principle and interest, a form of additional assistance. The Bush-era loan amounted to $10 billion.

Department of Defense co-production projects, preferential contracting, “scrapping” or “surplusing” of usable equipment that is then turned over to the IDF, as well as the forward deployment of military hardware to an Israeli base, are considerable benefits to Tel Aviv’s bottom line. Much of this assistance is hidden from view.

In September 2012, Israel’s former commander-in-chief, Gen. Gabi Ashkenaziadmitted at a conference that between 2009 and 2012 American taxpayers had paid for more of his country’s defense budget than had Israeli taxpayers. Those numbers have been disputed, but the fact remains that a considerable portion of the Israeli military spending comes from the United States. It currently is more than 20 percent of the total $16 billion budget, not counting special appropriations.

Through tax exemptions, the U.S. government also subsidizes the coordinated effort to provide additional assistance to Israel. Like FIDF, most organizations and foundations that might reasonably be considered active parts of the Israel Lobby are generally registered with the Department of the Treasury as tax-exempt foundations. Grant Smith, speaking at a conference on the U.S. and Israel on March 24th, explained how the broader Israel Lobby uses this legal framework:

“Key U.S. organizations include the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Hundreds more, including a small number of evangelical Christian organizations, play a role within a vast ecosystem that demands unconditional U.S. support for Israel. In the year 2012 the nonprofit wing of the Israel lobby raised $3.7 billion in revenue. They are on track to reach $6.3 billion by 2020. Collectively they employed 14,000 and claimed 350,000 volunteers.”

The $3.7 billion raised in 2012 does not include the billions in private donations that go directly to Israel, plus billions in contributions that are regarded as “religious exemptions” for groups that don’t file at all. There are also contributions sent straight to various Israeli-based foundations that are themselves often registered as charities. The Forward magazine investigated 3,600 Jewish tax-exempt charitable foundations in 2014 and determined that they had net assets of $26 billion, $12–14 billion in annual revenue, and “focuse[d] the largest share of [their] donor dollars on Israel.” The Forward added that it is “an apparatus that benefits massively from the U.S. federal government and many state and local governments, in the form of hundreds of millions of dollars in government grants, billions in tax-deductible donations and billions more in program fees paid for with government funds.”

Money being fungible, some American Jews have been surprised to learn that the donations that they had presumed were going to charitable causes in Israel have instead wound up in expanding the illegal settlements on the West Bank, an objective that they sometimes do not support. Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner has a family foundation that has made donations to Israel, including funding of West Bank settlements, which is illegal under U.S. law, as has Ambassador David Friedman.

Israel also benefits in other ways, frequently due to legislative action by Congress. It enjoys free and even preferential trade status with the United States and runs a $9 billion trade surplus per annum. Its companies and parastatal organizations can, without any restrictions, bid on U.S. defense and homeland-security projects—a privilege normally only granted to NATO partners. It’s major defense contractor Elbit recently was awarded a multi-million dollar contract to apply technologies to defend American tanks. It was a prime example of U.S. aid subsidizing an Israeli industry that then competes directly with American companies, producing a loss of jobs in the United States.

And the transfer of public money to Israel is common even at state and local levels. Some state treasuries and pension funds have purchased Israel Bonds, which are a bad investment, putting retirees at risk, as they have to be held to maturity and therefore have no secondary market and lack liquidity. Most recently, the Ohio Treasurer’s office bought a record $61 million in Israel Bonds on April 3rd. Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel admitted the purchase was in response to the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, meaning that Ohio taxpayers are unsuspecting participants in a risky investment scheme largely intended to punish critics of Israel. Mandel is, not surprisingly, hardly a disinterested party on the subject of Israel. He was a member of AIPAC while attending Ohio State University and spoke at its 2008 Policy Conference in Washington. After denouncing Iran, he said that “Israel is our best friend and ally in the Middle East and it’s important that we maintain a strong and lasting relationship with them.” Eighty other state and municipal public employee pension and treasury funds have also reportedly bought the bonds.

The U.S.-Israeli bilateral relationship has been an expensive proposition for Americans, yet another instance where the perceived needs of a U.S. “ally” take precedence over genuine national interests. Tens of billions of dollars need not necessarily be spent to placate a wealthy foreign country and its powerful domestic lobby or to satisfy the pretensions of the billionaires who grease the machinery to keep Israel’s money machine operating.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

Featured image is from the author.

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