Challenging the Power of the Jewish Lobby
Report; Posted on: 2006-10-01 02:32:21

What Should Be Done?

By James Petras

A number of writers have recently written critical articles or reviews about the power of the pro-Israel or Jewish Lobby and its influence on US policy in the Middle East. Most of these writings emphasize the power of the lobby over Congress, the two major parties (especially the Democrats) and the Executive branch. Some even describe the pro-Israel lobbies and the allied Jewish federations, the numerous propaganda institutes described as ‘think tanks’, publications as well as their influence or control over the mass media, from Hollywood, the print media, television to corporate “public” radio. However these critics and analysts paint themselves into a corner, attributing to the Jewish lobby so much power as to virtually incapacitate any effort to counter its influence and change the direction of US policy. The image of a near-omniscient and omnipotent Jewish lobby overlooks its vulnerability and significant issues around which an opposition or counter-hegemonic movement can be organized in the United States.

A starting point for building such a movement in some cases already exists in single issue campaigns; in other instances, some of the critical reports on the actions and behavior of the Lobby can become rallying points for organizing and pressing for new legislation and improving legislative restraints on Lobby activities.

What Should be Done: 18 Points of Action

Pressure can be exerted to force the Pro-Israel lobby to register as an agent of a foreign power. There is an abundance of evidence based on public documents, observation, testimony, interviews which demonstrate that the leaders of the Lobby take orders from the Israeli government, serve as transmission belts of Israeli policies into the US, formulate the legislation for the US Congress based on Israeli priorities, coordinate and transmit information from the US government to the Israeli government and have even engaged in espionage in the US for the Israeli secret police (Mossad). If for example AIPAC is obligated to register as an agent of a foreign power, it can be expected that a substantial number of its members/supporters will resign or withdraw, and big contributors will hold back funding, weakening the activist and financial base of the Lobby. Secondly, other members of the pro-Israel coalition will balk at allying with an agency of a foreign power. Thirdly, elected and appointed officials will be more hesitant to follow the lead or share the platform of an organization identified with a foreign government because of the possible legal implications or at least unfavorable publicity.

Organize a campaign to withdraw investments in US companies which supply the Israeli regime with weapons of mass destruction, construction equipment to extend Israeli colonization of Palestine. The boycott should include targeting military industries which contribute to Lobby controlled “think tanks”, State and Union pension funds which invest in Israeli Bonds should be pressured to reallocate to productive industries and social services which create jobs and health benefits for Americans.

Create a data bank on all the key political officials who have long-standing, primary commitments to the state of Israel and who have collaborated with the pro-Israeli lobby. This data bank can focus on the role of the Zionist power configuration engaged in harnessing US policy to Israel’s expansionist policies. The data bank can list all the major pieces of legislation fashioned by the Lobby for Israel; the total sum of US grants, and guaranteed loans, technological transfers secured for Israel through the Lobby; the number of junkets and visits organized by the Lobby for policymakers. In addition, information should be collected on all levels of “consultation” between key lobby leaders, religious notables, and international Zionist organizations and the Israeli state. The “information bank” can provide the bases for demonstrating how the Lobby serves Israeli foreign policy, distorts US domestic and overseas priorities and contributes to silencing and undermining internal democratic debate. In other words, the anti-Lobby campaign can be an important part of the battle of ideas, and engage in the struggle to throw off foreign tutelage, and regain our freedom to openly discuss the role of Israel and the Lobby in US politics.

Support the worldwide boycott against scholarly and academic exchanges with Israeli counterparts and institutes which uphold and participate in the colonization and repression of the Palestinians. In particular, psychologists and psychiatrists should pressure their association to reject all Israeli counterparts who engage in interrogation (usually accompanied by torture) of political prisoners.

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