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Do Only Some Massacres Matter?

Munich Olympics, Revisited

By Alison Weir | CounterPunch | February 11, 2014

The Washington Post has published a moving article, “Russian Jews remember Israeli athletes murdered at 1972 Munich Olympic Games.” Unfortunately, it gets a few things wrong and provides a one-sided context for the tragedy.

Allow me to correct the report and fill in a few of the missing facts.

Just 23 years before the Olympic incident, Israel had been created through ethnically cleansing much of the indigenous Palestinian population.

This had been accomplished through at least 33 massacres and was maintained in the years following by still more acts of ethnic cleansing and additional massacres. (These included areas from which the Munich kidnappers came).

Five years before the Munich incident, Israel violently conquered even more Palestinian land (illegal under international law), pushing out another 325,000+ Palestinian men, women, and children, and killing at least 13,000 Arabs in all. About 800 Israelis died.

The violence continued, and beginning in 1968 Israeli forces repeatedly savaged 150 or more towns and villages in south Lebanon alone. By the time of the Munich Olympics, Israel held hundreds of prisoners in its notorious prison system.

It is widely known, but rarely stated, that the goal of the Munich hostage-taking was not to kill them; it was to return the athletes to Israel in return for Israel returning its Palestinian prisoners.

Many of these prisoners were also young people, and, if we could have seen them, they might have looked very much like the Israeli athletes, minus the physical health. Israel is not known for its merciful treatment of those it dislikes.

When the Israeli government refused to consider an exchange, the German police, with the Mossad at hand, were pushed into an ill-planned rescue attempt in which some of the hostages (no one knows how many) were killed accidentally by the attackers, and a German policeman was also killed.

The day after the botched and unnecessary “rescue,” Israel launched heavy air attacks against Lebanon and Syria, killing between 200 and 500 Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians, mostly civilians.

While Washington Post reporter Kathy Lally gives a great deal of information about the position of Russian Jews, going back over 100 years, it would have been valuable for her to tell a little about what the Munich incident was about – and about all the tragic victims of violence connected to the event, not just the 11 preferred ones.

~

Alison Weir is the executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of the upcoming history of US-Israel relations, Against Our Better Judgment, to be released next month.

February 11, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel as Mad Dog

By Philip Giraldi | The Passionate Attachment | July 4, 2012

An article by Scott McConnell “The Special Relationship with Israel: Is it worth the cost?” which appeared in the Spring 2012 Middle East Policy Council Journal, reviews an interesting analysis attributed to Professor Ariel Roth of John Hopkins University. Roth accepts that the only US strategic interest in the Middle East is to maintain relative stability to keep the oil flowing. Because the greatest threat to stability is Israel, which is paranoid about its own security, he argues that it is therefore in America’s interest to be bound tightly to the Jewish state so it will not do something stupid, like lashing out with its nuclear arsenal to start a war against a neighbor. Scott expands on the argument, “This claim is at once alarming and compelling. Roth is asserting that the principal ally of the United States in the twenty-first century — its main source of strategic advice, the nation whose leaders have an unequaled access to American political leadership — is not a rational actor. The United States is in the position of a wife whose spouse is acting erratically. A ‘panicked and unrestrained Israel,’ armed with an estimated 200 nuclear weapons, could do an extraordinary amount of damage. The only conclusion one can draw is that the special relationship would now be very difficult to exit, even if Israel had no clout whatsoever within the American political system, even if the United States desired emphatically to pursue a more independent course.”

The argument made by Roth and McConnell assumes that while Israel might be an irrational player, Washington is not and is acting out of self-interest. I am not really convinced that either congress or the White House is intelligent enough, collectively speaking, to have carefully thought through the possible consequences of a rogue Israel, therefore responding preventively to the mad dog in the room. American politicians have difficulty in seeing beyond their own very narrow personal self-interest, which is certainly why Mitt Romney has just announced that he will be making his fourth trip to Israel before the Tampa GOP nominating convention. He will hope for a photo op or two to make him look like an experienced foreign hand while receiving his marching orders on what is acceptable from Netanyahu. He will not be thinking of what a reckless Israel might do if Washington were not restraining it, a formulation that would never enter into his tiny mind.

It is, in fact, difficult to conclude that Israel has in any way been seriously restrained by its relationship with the US. On the contrary, Washington has provided it with the resources and political cover to enable it to act recklessly. If one considers events in Lebanon, the war against Iraq, the current drive to bring about a civil war in Syria leading to the breakup of that country, and the near constant urging to attack Iran, it might instead be argued that Israel’s influence over Washington has evolved to such a point that it is no longer taking the lead on aggressive military operations because it is able to have the United States do the fighting and dying for it.

The Romney foreign policy agenda is a symptom of the sickness that has seized control of the Republican Party in particular and the Washington elite in general. Romney is focused on supporting Israel at all costs while reverting to a new cold war with Russia, stitching together the most dangerously ignorant doctrine to emerge from the recent presidential primary campaign. Draft dodger Romney’s truculent posturing can only bring grief. And worse still, all the politically ambitious excepting only Ron Paul are falling into line. Demonstrating that wisdom does not necessarily run in families, Senator Rand Paul’s specific endorsement of the Romney foreign policy should be seen for what it is, a thoughtless pandering to a GOP establishment that is dedicated to catering to every Netanyahu whim while simultaneously going about in search of new enemies.

Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues.

July 4, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Wake-Up May Be Too Late

By Philip Giraldi | The Passionate Attachment | June 27, 2012

Is it possible that Americans are finally waking up to the dangers resulting from Washington’s involvement in Israel’s foreign policy? In the New York Times on June 24th there was an astonishing feature opinion piece by Professor Misha Glenny writing from London about “A Weapon We Can’t Control.” The editorial slammed the “decision by the United States and Israel to develop and then deploy the Stuxnet computer worm against an Iranian nuclear facility,” describing the development as a “significant and dangerous turning point in the gradual militarization of the internet.” Glenny warned that to use such a devastating weapon in peacetime will “very likely lead to the spread of similar and still more powerful offensive cyberweaponry across the Internet,” also noting that “virus developers generally lose control of their inventions, which will inevitably seek out and attack the networks of innocent parties.”

Glenny also mentioned the second generation Flame virus, developed jointly by Israel and the US, and which has now spread to computers throughout the Middle East.

On the same day in the same issue of the Times, Jimmy Carter chimed in with an op-ed, “A Cruel and Unusual Record,” which asserted that “Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended.” Carter did not mention Israel or name President Obama, but the decade long transition of the United States into a nation that believes itself to be above the law, following the Israeli example, would have been all too clear for the reader.

One day before the editorial and op-ed’s appearance, there was also another emperor’s new clothes moment at the Times. Regular columnist Nicholas Kristof had just completed a trip across Iran with his family in tow. And guess what? He found in “Not-So-Crazy in Tehran” that Iran was a “complex country,” not a police state, has a “vigorous parliament and news media,” and most university students are women who later obtain important jobs after graduation. Kristof’s advice? “Let’s not bluster…or operate on caricatures. And let’s not choose bombs over sanctions…”

I would add that it is about time that people in the United States begin to realize that unlimited support of Israel has turned US foreign policy into the poison that is bidding to destroy the republic.

Alas, over the same weekend that the Times was possibly coming to its senses, Mitt Romney was meeting in Park City Utah with his large donors. At a breakout session to discuss his support of Israel he revealed that he speaks regularly with Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren to get advice on the Middle East. Unseemly does not begin to describe such an arrangement, as Oren is not exactly a disinterested party re the advice he is giving. Oh, and Bill Kristol and Michael Chertoff also spoke to the pro-Israel group.

Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues.

June 27, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Another Senator for Israel

By Philip Giraldi | The Passionate Attachment | June 13, 2012

It is ironic that the hard core supporters of Israel among the neoconservatives are hoping for a Republican victory in the fall even though the party that has passionate Israel firsters most deeply embedded continues to be the Democrats. To be sure, Eric Cantor, Republican majority leader in the House and the only Jewish congressman from the GOP, has done some heavy lifting for Benjamin Netanyahu, including advising the Israeli Prime Minister that congress would protect him in any conflict with President Barack Obama. Republican from Florida Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is descended from Sephardic Jews, has also burnished her pro-Israel credentials as chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee while other Republicans from the Bible belt reflexively praise Israel as, one assumes, a tenet of their faith.

But the breadth and depth of outspoken advocates of Israel in the Democratic Party goes far beyond anything the Republicans can muster. Thirteen Jewish Senators are all Democrats as are 26 of the 27 Jewish members of the House. The Democratic National Committee is headed by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz while Steny Hoyer, who is not Jewish, is Minority Whip in the House of Representatives and an outspoken passionate supporter of Israel. Other frequent sponsors of resolutions favoring Israel and condemning Iran and the Palestinians include Howard Berman, Steve Israel, Steve Rothman, Jan Schakowsky, Brad Sherman, Benjamin Cardin, Carl Levin, Frank Lautenberg, Charles Schumer and Joe Lieberman. The late Tom Lantos, often referred to as Israel’s congressman, was also a Democrat. Many of Israel’s friends have characteristically sought and attained powerful positions on committees that deal with foreign and defense policies to enable them to directly influence legislation favorable to Israel.

English: Official Congressional portrait of Co...One would think that more pro-Israel muscle wouldn’t be needed in congress, but yet another prominent Israeli firster is now being groomed for bigger things. Congresswoman Shelley Berkley is being promoted by the Democratic Party leadership to make a run for a Senate seat from the State of Nevada currently held by Republican Dean Heller. Berkley’s support of anything and everything Israel does is notable even by congressional standards. She is co-chair of the Israel Allies Caucus (part of the International Israel Allies Caucus Foundation) and has been described by the Jewish media as “one of the most hawkish pro-Israel voices in the US House.” She has co-sponsored six resolutions relating to Israel including one “recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks from Gaza” and has been blistering in her condemnation of the several Gaza relief flotillas, which she evidently sees as boatloads of terrorists.

Berkley is also not shy about supporting other special interests. She is currently under investigation by the House Ethics Committee (an oxymoron if there ever was one) because she allegedly used her influence to block the closure of a kidney transplant facility in Las Vegas, where her doctor husband works. Given that lack of separation between her personal interest and her responsibility as a congresswoman one might have thought that she should have recused herself from the issue, though the scandal is unfortunately probably insufficient to derail her senatorial bid.

Unlike in some other recent congressional races in Illinois and New Jersey where Israel was a focal point, Berkley will no doubt campaign on local issues in Nevada because raising the ethnic card could prove risky. Heller is a Mormon in a state that has many of his co-religionists. But it should be assumed that if Berkley is elected to the Senate her advocacy of Israel and its policies will be a hallmark of her time in office, just as it has been during her time in the House of Representatives.

Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues.

June 13, 2012 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel Lobby Always Believes More Is Better

By Philip Giraldi | The Passionate Attachment | May 17, 2012

Everyone who cares enough to express an interest knows that Israel gets $3 billion every year in military assistance, money that continues to flow no matter what is happening to the US economy. It being an election year, it should be no surprise that both the Obama Administration and a Republican controlled House of Representatives have agreed to send an additional $1 billion taken from the United States defense budget to fund the so-called Iron Dome missile defense system for Israel in 2013-4.

But there’s more. House Resolution HR 4133 United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012, which recently sailed through the US Congress by a 410 to 2 vote, reveals the true objective of Israel and its friends in congress. It is to bind the United States and even NATO to Israel in such a fashion that Israel can continue to behave as it wishes vis-à-vis its neighbors and will be able to do so with impunity because the US and possibly even the Europeans will be obligated to defend it. HR 4133 provides what amounts to a blank check for Israel’s defense and also advances the Israel-as-part-of-NATO agenda, calling on the White House to implement “an expanded role for Israel within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), including an enhanced presence at NATO headquarters and exercises.”

JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, founded by AIPAC, has not been slow to see an opportunity by putting 4133 and the Iron Dome funding together. In a May 10th article, Gabriel Scheinmann, a “Visiting JINSA Fellow,” argues that Iron Dome should become a joint US-Israel system, which he calls a “bold and mutually beneficial symbol of the closeness and importance of the US-Israel strategic alliance.” One might well ask, “What strategic alliance?” and “beneficial to whom?” US joint ownership and management of Iron Dome would make US citizens who are involved in the project hostages to Israeli misadventures. Israel creates an incident to justify an attack against its neighbors, they respond with missiles, a handful of US citizens die, and Washington is at war. And in the meantime you can bet that the US will bear all the costs. Sounds like a great deal to me.

Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues.

May 16, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Israel Lobby Never Sleeps

By Philip Giraldi | The Passionate Attachment | May 10, 2012

There has been no media reporting on H.R.4133 — United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 introduced into the House of Representatives of the 112th Congress on March 5th “To express the sense of Congress regarding the United States-Israel strategic relationship, to direct the President to submit to Congress reports on United States actions to enhance this relationship and to assist in the defense of Israel, and for other purposes.” The sponsors include Eric Cantor, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Howard Berman (all of whom are Jewish) and also Steny Hoyer of Maryland, who is Norwegian but might as well be Jewish given his frequently expressed love for Israel. The bill provides Israel with a blank check drawn on the US taxpayer to maintain its “qualitative military superiority” over all of its neighbors combined. It is scheduled for passage on a “suspension of the rules,” which means it will not actually be voted on and will be approved by consent of Congress.

It is perhaps no coincidence that on Monday the Republicans in the guise of the redoubtable Howard “Buck” McKeon released their proposal for increased defense spending (yes, increased) for 2013. It includes a cool $1 billion for Israel to upgrade its missile defenses. That’s on top of the $3 billion it already receives plus numerous co-production programs that are off the books and defense spending that is not considered to be part of the annual grant. Perhaps “Buck” should consider changing his sobriquet to “Warbucks.” Buck is not Jewish but he is a Mormon, perhaps a sign of what will be coming if we are so unlucky as to vote into office the born again Hawk Mitt Romney. Mitt has a foreign policy team consisting of more than thirty stalwarts, mostly drawn from the Bush Administration, and nearly all of whom are neocons. It features Robert Kaplan, John Bolton, and Dan Senor.

Israel and its partisan hacks in Congress are utterly shameless. At a time when the country is screaming for some measure of restraint in government spending, Israel is the one budget line that only sees increases.

Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues.

May 9, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Iran’s Tactical Strength

By Philip Giraldi | The American Conservative | May 2, 2012

A New York Times story on March 19 reported that there might be “perils” for the U.S. in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran and warned that “it may be impossible to preclude American involvement in any escalating confrontation” with “dire consequences for the region and for United States forces there.” The story received wide play in the media, a respite from the barrage of persistent press coverage that has been portraying a new Middle East war as both inevitable and a legitimate response to a burgeoning threat. The conclusion, based on the outcome of the Internal Look war games concluded in early March, is not particularly surprising, as many inside and outside the government have long been arguing that it would be impossible for Washington not to get involved in such a conflict given the U.S. military presence in the region and expected pressure from Israel and its friends.

But the real story of the still-classified war games, which were designed primarily to test internal communications and response coordination between Central Command in Tampa and operational units in the Middle East, was the ability of the Iranians to counterattack effectively against American forces and U.S. regional allies. The Netanyahu government has been arguing that any Iranian response to an Israeli air attack would be manageable, with few casualties among Israelis, because Iran would fear an escalation that would bring U.S. forces to bear. Yet even modest retaliation from Iran would almost unavoidably draw the U.S. into the fray. The war games tested a number of scenarios in which U.S. forces were hit either deliberately or by accident, producing a reaction from Washington that included sustained bombing of Iranian coastal defenses and nuclear sites, which quickly escalated into a full-scale regional conflict.

The war games demonstrated that the United States Navy would have considerable problems in dealing with Iranian offensive operations in the narrow waters of the Straits of Hormuz. Iran is believed to have more than 5,000 mines available, many of modern design and exceedingly difficult to detect, sweep, and disarm. The Iranian Navy has also become adept at small-boat swarming tactics, in which large numbers of light vessels attack larger warships in what have been described as suicide runs. U.S. warships have been training to deal with such tactics and it is believed that they can counter them somewhat effectively, but the games revealed that there is a high probability that American vessels will be sunk with considerable loss of life. Iranian cruise missiles also pose a threat. Iran has Chinese sea-skimmer models and has also developed its own variants. Again, U.S. warships have countermeasures, but sustained attacks at sea level combined with missiles that approach their targets vertically from high altitude could cause considerable casualties. In the earlier Millennium Challenge war games carried out in 2002, a combination of Iranian cruise missiles and swarming small boats employing innovative tactics and operating on internal lines defeated a much larger U.S. Navy squadron. The result was so disturbing that the game was canceled before it was concluded. 

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

May 5, 2012 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dying for AIPAC

By Philip Giraldi | The Passionate Attachment | March 15, 2012

In ancient Greece and Rome the front line soldiers were drawn from the wealthiest class of citizens. That was partly because each soldier had to provide his own equipment and armor was expensive, but it was also due to the belief that men who had the most to lose would fight best. It also guaranteed that wars would be no more frequent than necessary, would be short in duration, and would be decisive in nature. America’s Founding Fathers clearly had similar ideas, envisioning only a small national army and much larger state militias where the local property owners would come out on weekends and drill with their weapons on the village green, developing the skills necessary to defend their homes.

I was thinking about the duties entailed in citizenship as I watched television coverage of the spectacle of the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). I wondered about the six thousand plus attendees at the conference and their hubristic sense of entitlement minus any sense of responsibility for what they advocate. The entire conference was dedicated to going to war with Iran, a war that is manifestly not in America’s interest. But there they were, welcoming more than half of Congress and a majority of Supreme Court Justices as well as the President of the United States, as they called for war on behalf of a foreign country.

I asked myself how many of those at AIPAC would pay any price at all for going to war with Iran? How many of them have children in the military? With a little searching I could only find ten members out of the 535 members of Congress having recently had sons or daughters in the military and I would imagine the numbers among other AIPAC attendees would be even lower. I would bet the percentage is miniscule. And how many of those at AIPAC will be contributing their wealth to support another absolutely senseless foreign war? None, most likely as America has become addicted to going to war on a credit card. Instead, the AIPAC attendees have learned that it is possible to start wars by using much smaller sums of money to buy influence and votes on Capitol Hill and compliant editorial writers in the media, meaning that AIPAC’s $65 million budget can easily translate into a war that costs the American taxpayer several trillion dollars, as occurred with Iraq.

AIPAC understands that there is no need to sacrifice one’s children or spend anything more than necessary when there are other people’s children out there who are ready, willing and able to die for your cause and for the foreign land that you hold most dear. It is a coward’s way to go to war without pain, without grief, and without cost to you personally, where fighting and dying by others is little more than an abstraction. It is one more powerful reason why groups like AIPAC, instead of being celebrated, should be placed under Justice Department supervision and strictly monitored as collaborative and subversive agents of foreign powers, which is precisely what they are. And when they step out of line by stealing secrets or suborning politicians it should mean hard time in prison. No one deserves to die in someone else’s fight, particularly in a bad cause, and no one should be able to start a war and escape the consequences.

Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

March 15, 2012 Posted by | Corruption, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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