Jewish Lobby Says Hillary Too Pro-Palestinian
By Michael Collins Piper
Although many Americans focused on the successful effort to scuttle President Barack Obama’s nomination of former Ambassador Charles Freeman to head the highly influential National Intelligence Council (NIC) many are unaware that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also emerged as a target of the Israeli lobby.
In the wake of Freeman’s announcement he was withdrawing his name from consideration, publicly blasting what he called “the Israel lobby,” charging openly that this lobby had rallied opposition against him, both
The Washington Post and The Washington Times—the ostensible “liberal” and “conservative” rival counterpoints in the nation’s capital—rushed to condemn Freeman for allegedly peddling what both papers called “conspiracy theories” full of “canards” of an “anti-Semitic” nature.
Both newspapers—in a variety of stories and commentaries littered throughout their pages—repeatedly raised the provocative question: “Why did Obama select for such a pivotal post a nominee with a history of making harsh comments about Israel and of criticizing U.S. favoritism for Israel?”
Implicit in that question was the suggestion the Obama administration may be poised—or is attempting to position itself—toward reassessing the U.S.-Israeli special relationship and of the U.S. attitude toward Iran’s nuclear development programs which are of immense concern to Israel. In addition, there have been demands that the president himself repudiate Freeman’s charges against the efforts by Israel-centric forces to derail his nomination to the NIC.
In fact, the concerns of the major dailies reflect an open unease that has appeared in journals of the Jewish lobby in America and in newspapers in Israel. For example, the national security correspondent of The Jerusalem Post warned darkly against “disturbing things about the climate in Washington these days.”
In that regard, Mrs. Clinton is very much under scrutiny. Although it has not been widely reported, the fact is that after seeing the devastation wrought by Israel’s bloody incursion into Gaza, Mrs. Clinton outraged supporters of Israel by urging Israel to speed up aid to Gaza. The headline “Jewish Leaders Blast Clinton Over Israel Criticism,” as reported by the website of the CBS affiliate in Manhattan, told the story.
The report noted that top Jewish leaders say that the “new” Clinton is “not the Hillary Clinton they used to know.”
CBS quoted Mortimer Zuckerman as among those in distress. This is significant. Zuckerman, publisher of The New York Daily News and U.S. News & World Report, is a prominent member of the New York City Jewish Community Relations Council and former president of the Council of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the official umbrella group of the Jewish lobby.
New York State Rep. Dov Hikind (D) expressed the view of many who have long been suspicious of Mrs. Clinton’s real attitude toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying, “Now, I wonder—as I used to wonder—who the real Hillary Clinton is.”
Another Clinton critic, Babak Chafe, charged, “She is pro-Palestinian 100 percent, really. Of course, we always knew it.”
As first lady—at the time when hard-line elements in Israel were working with their allies in the United States to undermine Bill Clinton’s efforts to build a consensus for peace in the Middle East—Mrs. Clinton called for a Palestinian state, even in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky affair first unveiled by pro-Israel stalwart William Kristol. As a consequence, when Clinton first ran for the Senate in New York, she received barely more than half the Jewish vote even as Al Gore, the Democratic presidential candidate, was winning 80 percent. Now that she is in a policy-making position, perhaps having foresworn future elective ambitions, the Jewish lobby clearly fears Mrs. Clinton may be reverting to form.
In the meantime, although Charles Freeman was denied appointment to the chairmanship of the NIC, there is, in place, an open “war” between the United States and Israel over the question as to how far Iran has progressed in its nuclear programs.
While, for example, the chief of Israeli military intelligence, Amos Yadlin, announced that “Iran has crossed the technological threshold” and that Iran’s “reaching military nuclear capabilities is a matter of adapting its strategy to the target of manufacturing a nuclear bomb,” Adm. Dennis Blair, the new U.S. director of national intelligence, told a congressional hearing that Israel “take[s] more of a worst-case approach to these things.”
The Jerusalem Post’s national security correspondent charged that Blair “is willing to take Iran’s word on everything” and that, “on the other hand, he isn’t willing to take Israel’s word on anything.”
Blair and other key U.S. intelligence officials— those who are not under the thumb of pro-Israel elements— clearly do not share Israel’s concerns and reject the daily media bombardment of Americans with scare stories about Iran being on the verge of assembling a nuclear arsenal.
Despite all of the media-based claims about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the media is careful to omit the fact that Iran (and other Middle Eastern nations) may have an interest in nuclear weapons because of the fact that their neighbor, Israel, is one of the world’s five great nuclear powers with untold numbers of nuclear weapons in place, aimed—as one Israeli geopolitical and military analyst, Dr. Martin van Crevald has admitted—at London, Rome, Moscow, and other global capitals.
However, in a recent commentary entitled “How to Deal With Iran,” published in the Feb. 12 edition of the small-circulation New York Review, three influential American analysts laid waste to much of this media ballyhoo and underscored what Adm. Blair told Congress.
Although the authors—William Luer, president of the United Nations Association of the United States of America, Thomas R. Pickering, former undersecretary of state for political affairs, and Jim Walsh, a research associate in the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—have called for the transfer of Iran’s program for uranium enrichment (central to weapons development) to multinational ownership and operation following negotiation with Iran, they dispute claims (coming from Israel and from pro-Israel media voices—although the authors don’t pinpoint those as the source of the claims) that Iran now has enough nuclear fuel to build a nuclear weapon.
In regard to this misinformation, they wrote:
News reports and some commentators have recently claimed that Iran has enough material for a nuclear weapon. These reports referred to Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium. This is a misleading claim. To begin with, one cannot make a nuclear weapon with low-enriched uranium. A nuclear weapon requires highly enriched uranium or plutonium, and Iran possesses
neither. In theory, Iran could take its stock of low-enriched uranium and enrich it to a grade required for making bombs, but its low-enriched uranium is currently under the surveillance of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Diverting this material for military purposes would be discovered by the IAEA. (Detection of diversion is the IAEA’s technological strong suit.)
Iran’s choices, therefore, are to cheat and get caught or kick out the inspectors. Either action would represent an extreme departure from Iranian strategy to date and in any case would likely precipitate military action by Israel.
In short, as the authors say, “having the capacity to build a nuclear weapon is not the same thing as having one, and having a large stock of low-enriched uranium is not the same as having the highly enriched uranium necessary for a bomb,” despite the myths prevalent in the mass media.
Whether the pressures from the Jewish lobby on the Obama administration will bend the will of experienced American diplomats and intelligence officials and others who dare to counter the claims of Israel and its adherents is the big question that remains to be answered.
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.
(Issue # 13, March 30, 2009)