Israel Lobby Sees Obama as Enemy of Zionist Agenda
By Michael Collins Piper
President Barack Obama’s foreign policy inclinations are a threat to Israel’s survival. That’s the no-holds-barred assessment by one of Israel’s leading American publicists, Norman Podhoretz, the prominent neo-conservative long associated with the American Jewish Committee’s influential magazine, Commentary. Podhoretz made the inflammatory charge against the U.S. president in an article in the May 2009 issue of Commentary in an article entitled “How Obama’s America Might Threaten Israel,” one of a series of polemics addressing the subject: “Israel at Risk.”
This is no surprise to AFP readers. On Dec. 1, 2008, AFP surprised many by suggesting that Barack Obama might “pull a JFK” and begin putting pressure on Israel. Six months later, AFP’s prediction appears on the mark. The difference between JFK and Obama, though, is that JFK’s pressure was applied privately, through diplomatic channels. Obama’s pressure has been both public and forthright.
The most recent frenzy from Israel and its American supporters in response to initiatives from the Obama administration came when the president forcefully demanded that Israel cease building settlements in the occupied West Bank. The president further inflamed the Zionist state and its American lobby by reiterating that demand in his widely heralded address to the Muslim world, delivered in Cairo.
In fact, the confrontation between the United States and Israel has been simmering for some time, beginning with the Obama administration’s open call for Israel to submit to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
On May 7 the Philadelphia Bulletin carried a report headlined “Obama Follows JFK Example and Pressures Israel to Limit Nuclear Capability.” The Bulletin stated: “For the first time since the Kennedy administration, a senior American official has commented explicitly and negatively about Israel’s nuclear capability.”
Shock waves rolled through Israel and the Jewish lobby in Washington after President Obama’s assistant secretary of state, Rose Gottemoeller—speaking on May 5 at a meeting on the international Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty—said Israel should become a signatory to the treaty. By doing so, Israel would be required to open up its secret nuclear arsenal to international inspection, something Israel has consistently refused to do.
The Bulletin noted that “The Obama administration’s newfound opposition to Israel’s formally undisclosed nuclear program reverses nearly 50 years of American silence on the subject,” adding that after JFK struggled with then Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion over the issue of Israel’s nuclear arms, “President Kennedy refused to budge and continued to push Israel to abandon its nuclear option until his death on Nov. 22, 1963. No American president has made an issue of Israel’s nuclear capability—until now.”
In response to the perceived danger posed by Obama, the Jewish lobby rallied its troops. A leading voice for the lobby, The Washington Times, featured a front page headline story on May 6 shrieking “Secret U.S.-Israel nuclear accord in jeopardy,” a clarion call for Republicans, conservatives, fundamentalist Christians, and those who want to curry favor with pro-Israel money barons, to join together to stop President Obama from pressuring Israel to sign the treaty.
Editorially, the Times asked if the United States would “sell out its strongest ally” by forcing Israel to come clean on its nuclear arsenal (which some say is the fifth largest in the world). The Times expressed fear the United States might close ranks with other nations that have repeatedly called for Israel to adhere to the non-proliferation treaty and open its nuclear installations for inspection.
A former Israeli foreign ministry advisor, Alan Baker, said the comments from the Obama administration were “surprising and worrying.”
For its part, The Jerusalem Post asserted Israel sees no reason to sign the nuclear treaty because—according to Israel—the treaty is “ineffective.”
Israel and its supporters believe Israel is the only nation in the Middle East that should be permitted to have nuclear weapons and that Israel (and the United States) must stop other nations, especially Iran, from developing a nuclear counter to Israel, the only nation in the Middle East that does have atomic weapons.
In fact, the statement by the Obama administration differs in no way from a 2006 position paper by the distinguished Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, the training ground for the “best and the brightest” among up-and-coming officers. The War College asserted that neither talk of a military attack on Iran nor ongoing American diplomatic initiatives are likely to stop Iran and that either course could result in disaster.
The report said Israel should take the initiative, close its nuclear reactor, turn over nuclear materiel to a third party, and allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to maintain regular inspection of Israel’s nuclear operations.
The report urged the United States to put pressure on Israel to make this possible.
America’s military thinkers believe if Israel were to curtail its nuclear arms, the United States would be more able to convince other Middle East states with nuclear ambitions to do likewise. In truth, Israel’s determined push for nuclear supremacy—a foundation of Israel’s national defense policy—led Arab nations as well as Pakistan and Iran to also pursue a nuclear option.
Although many Obama critics find it hard to believe his administration would pressure Israel, noting that Israel’s stalwart, Rahm Emanuel, is White House chief of staff, AFP noted on Dec. 1, 2008 that even though President Kennedy had placed Myer Feldman—a pro-Israel hardliner—in a key post in his White House, JFK and his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and other administration insiders, worked assiduously to keep Feldman out of the loop on the conduct of U.S. Middle East policy. The president and his brother were even known to remark critically of Feldman behind his back.
JFK even sent word to friends of the Arab world at the State Department that even though JFK had won 90 percent of the Jewish vote that it should not be assumed that he was “in their pocket.”
As part of their effort to destabilize Obama, Israel’s advocates in the so-called “neo-conservative” network have deployed one of their longtime front men, ex-ambassador Alan Keyes, into the field.
The former Harvard roommate of Bilderberg figure William Kristol—the powerful neo-conservative publicist who remains a close Keyes friend—Keyes has been promoting an array of questionable allegations about Obama, some of which—a point little known—actually originated in Israel among supporters of Obama’s 2008 opponent, John McCain. (Although Obama won 75 percent of the Jewish vote, McCain was favored over Obama in polls in Israel, the only foreign nation where McCain was the preferred choice. And note, too, as related by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his book The Samson Option, that following John F. Kennedy’s 1960 election victory, one of the first things JFK did upon assuming office was to assure State Department officials who were sympathetic to the Arab world that they should not assume that the new president was “in their [the Jews’] pocket.”)
In any case, the questionable stories about Obama being promoted by Keyes have been picked up by independent “patriot” media in the United States and loudly publicized by three widely circulated supermarket tabloids, The National Enquirer, The National Examiner and The Globe, which are all owned by one company, American Media Inc., a subsidiary of Evercore Partners, a shadowy consortium of pro-Israel financial interests under the direction of Wall Street operator Roger Altman.
Although Israeli propagandists have—for years—had a stranglehold on conventional “conservative” think tanks and media, Israel’s disinformation specialists are filtering Keyes’ stories into the “patriot” movement to checkmate the Obama administration’s effort to put the reins on Israel.
A journalist specializing in media critique, Michael Collins Piper is the author of The High Priests of War, The New Jerusalem, Dirty Secrets, The Judas Goats, The Golem, Target Traficant and My First Days in the White House All are available from AFP.
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(Issue # 25, June 22, 2009)