by Stephen Lendman
In 1949, the American Zionist Council (AZC) was established. It operated until 1962. It was ordered to register as a foreign agent.
It failed to do so. It transferred its responsibilities to AIPAC. It calls itself "America's Pro-Israel Lobby. It operates as an unregistered foreign agent.
It's done so since 1953. With rare exceptions, no one in Congress confronts it. It wields enormous influence over US foreign policy. It fronts for Israeli lawlessness. It's one of 52 major US Zionist organizations.
James Petras' important book titled "The Power of Israel in the United States" discussed its enormous influence on US policy. It's done so for over half a century.
It has deep roots throughout government, the business community, the dominant media, academia, the clergy, and powerful wealthy Jewish families.
Broad support comes from doctors, lawyers, accountants, other professionals, philanthropists, journalists and others.
Challengers risk being intimidated, blackmailed, smeared, pressured, removed from positions of authority, or called national security or terrorist threats.
Senator J. William Fulbright (1905 - 1995) first called Congress "Israeli-occupied territory." He said "Israel controls the United States Senate. We should be more concerned about United States' interests," he added.
Former US Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Thomas Moorer (1970 - 1974) said:
"I've never seen a President - I don't care who he is - stand up to (the Israelis). It just boggles the mind. They always get what they want."
"The Israelis know what is going on all the time. If the American people understood what a grip those people have got on our government, they would rise up in arms. Our citizens certainly don't have any idea what goes on."
In December 2002, Brigadier General James J. David (Ret.) headlined "Passionate attachment to Israel," saying:
"Is there any criminal act that Israel can do without being protected from criticism from the United States? If there is I haven't seen it."
"And I haven't seen it from the Bush Administration or from the Clinton Administration or from any administration before them."
"For more than 54 years the Israelis have committed acts that no other nation would dare get away with."
"But even here in America, where it is not yet illegal to publicly ask the wrong questions, any public figure that does so is subjected to smears, intimidation, and the attempted destruction of his career and reputation by Jewish organizations and by the very cooperative news media."
"Shielding Israel from criticism and supporting the Jewish state no matter what crimes she commits has caused the United States the loss of respect around the world."
He quoted George Washington saying:
"Passionate attachment to another nation produces a variety of evils….the illusion of common interests where no real common interests exist; adopting the enmities of the other; and participation in the quarrels and wars of the other without any justification."
"Still another evil is that such a passionate attachment gives to ambitious, corrupted or deluded citizens the facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country."
Former US diplomat George W. Ball and his historian son Douglas presented a sweeping indictment of America's special relationship with Israel.
They did so in their book "The Passionate Attachment: America's Involvement with Israel, 1947 to the Present." They addressed destructive political, military and economic ties. Militarism, belligerence and occupation prevent peace.
In their book "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy," John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt said America's Middle East policy is driven "almost entirely (by) US domestic politics, and especially (because of) the (Lobby's) activities....This situation has no equal in American political history."
Norman Finkelstein's book "Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History" discussed Israel's longstanding abuse of power.
Fundamental human and civil rights are spurned.
Institutionalized racism is official policy. Praying to the wrong God is criminalized. Self-defense is called terrorism.
Israel created "the eternal Jewish victim." The myth of unique Jewish suffering is claimed. It's connected to power politics. Vested interests take full advantage.
Israeli criticism is deflected. Anti-Semitism accusations target those who dare. Crimes of war and against humanity go unmentioned. Israel gives chutzpah new meaning. It reflects brazen arrogance better than any other word.
From 1961 - 1983, Paul Findley represented Illinois' 20th district in Congress. He did what few others dared. He challenged the Israeli Lobby. His book "They Dare Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby" explained.
It was the first book to do so. He provided documentation and case histories. He explained how the Lobby influences US foreign policy. He supported Palestinian liberation. AIPAC called him "a dangerous enemy of Israel."
In October 2007, his CounterPunch article headlined "The Open Secret About the Israeli Lobby," saying:
He "learned it well during (his) 22-year" congressional tenure. "All members swear to serve the interests of the United States, but there is an unwritten and overwhelming exception: The interests of one small foreign country almost always trump US interests. That nation of course is Israel."
Right or wrong doesn't matter. What Israel wants it gets. Colleagues told him privately that they admired his position. But they "could not risk pro-Israel protests back home by supporting" him.
In 1980, his opponent called him anti-Semitic. Money "poured into his campaign from every state in the union."
Findley won. Two years later, he narrowly lost to current Illinois Senator Dick Durbin. Findley prevailed next time. He served 11 congressional terms.
In 1984, Charles Percy lost his Senate seat. He occasionally criticized Israel. Once was too often. The Israeli Lobby took credit for defeating him.
"The result is that Members of Congress today loudly reward Israel as it violates international law and peace agreements, lures America into costly wars, and subjects millions of Palestinians under its rule to apartheid-like conditions because they are not Jewish," said Findley.
"It is time to call politicians to account for their undying allegiance to a foreign state."
"Pro-Israeli groups subvert democracy when they engage in smear campaigns that intimidate and silence critics."
"America badly needs a civilized discussion of" Israel's destructive role in shaping US foreign policy.
Going along with what's wrong is safe. Doing the right thing is costly. Cynthia McKinney lost her congressional seat twice. She did so for supporting Palestinian rights.
Israeli Lobby power went all out to remove her. Ruining her political career became policy. Ariel Sharon even bragged about it once. He did so on an earlier visit to Georgia. It's McKinney's home state.
On April 29, she addressed the UN Meeting on Palestine. She did so on the same day Press TV headlined "Pro-Israeli US lawmakers urge bombing Syria air bases, arming militants, invasion."
Throughout her 12 years in Congress, she "strove to make respect for human rights a central feature in the formulation of US foreign policy."
Despite "minor successes," her advocacy fell on deaf ears. Political Washington has other priorities. They're "diametrically opposed to the values of the people of the US."
Special interests "buy public policy by way of campaign contributions and misleading media campaigns." Managed news misinformation substitutes for truth and full disclosure.
Media scoundrels "knowingly lie." After Congress, McKinney "became involved in international human rights activism." During Israel's December 2008 - January 2009 war on Gaza, she and other human rights activists tried delivering medical supplies to Gaza.
Israel's military stopped them. It was done violently. An IDF warship rammed their small boat. Doing so destroyed it. "Neither the medical supplies nor we volunteers reached Gaza."
About six months later, McKinney and others tried again. Cast Lead was over. Obama replaced Bush. He "appealed publicly for an easing of the Israeli blockade of Gaza."
His words proved hollow. His one-sided Israeli support belied his rhetoric. McKinney and 20 others volunteered to help. Israeli commandos kidnapped them in international waters.
Their boat was seized. They "were taken by an extremely circuitous route to Israel." They were threatened and forcibly taken to Ashdod. They were held incommunicado under horrific conditions. McKinney experienced its harshness firsthand.
They were incarcerated in Ramle Prison for seven days. It's cockroach-infested. Many inside had no beds. They were forced to sleep on a cement floor. Overcrowding made things painfully uncomfortable for everyone.
Armed soldiers guarded them. Their personal possessions were confiscated. Days later, they were taken to Ashdod's central bus station. They arrived with no money or belongings. They were left there on their own. They were treated like criminals for doing the right thing.
McKinney was prisoner number 88794 at Ramle. It's one of Israel's harshest prisons. It's a former British police station. It's a stinking hellhole. McKinney described her ordeal, saying:
"This is Cynthia McKinney and I'm speaking from an Israeli prison cellblock in Ramle. (I am one of) the Free Gaza 21, human rights activists currently imprisoned for trying to take medical supplies to Gaza, building supplies - and even crayons for children, I had a suitcase full of crayons for children."
"While we were on our way to Gaza the Israelis threatened to fire on our boat, but we did not turn around. The Israelis high-jacked and arrested us because we wanted to give crayons to the children in Gaza."
"We have been detained, and we want the people of the world to see how we have been treated just because we wanted to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza."
Everyone had tiny spaces, she added. Some in isolation had no sunlight. She described a series of dungeons six feet long, three feet wide, and six feet high.
Conditions were dark, filthy, and unbearable to be in. For greater harshness, those inside were stripped naked, beaten, unable to shower, given a thin coverall, and allowed toilet privileges once a day only.
Authorities tried to get McKinney and other activists to admit criminality. They refused and were treated harshly. Ramle conditions constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
McKinney said it's "incredibly black: populated mostly by Ethiopians who also had a dream." They traveled to Israel for it. Instead, they were denied and imprisoned.
McKinney and 14 others were held in a 7 x 7 meter cell under summer heat conditions. Twice daily they were searched. What they endured, she said, paled to how Palestinians are treated.
Activist Ramzi Kysia was there with her. She said "We'll be back again and again….The Israeli regime should be careful, because we're coming."
"We won't stop until this blockade is broken forever and Gaza residents have access to the rest of the world."
Twice Israel prevented McKinney from reaching Gaza. George Galloway heard about her ordeal. He was in Cairo leading "Viva Palestina USA."
He invited her to join him. Together with others they entered Gaza by land. McKinney saw Cast Lead's destructive aftermath firsthand.
She saved some soil in a container. It's likely contaminated with toxic chemicals Israel uses. They include depleted uranium and white phosphorous, among others.
Israeli crimes of war and against humanity repeat. They continue with impunity. Washington provides generous support. Israeli Lobby pressure assures it.
McKinney twice lost her congressional seat for supporting Palestinian rights. Others were discussed above. McKinney mentioned African-American congressional members forced out like herself.
They include Gus Savage (D. IL) and Earl Hilliard (D. AL). They challenged Israeli Lobby power. McKinney's new book titled "Ain't Nothing Like Freedom" discusses its ruthless tactics.
She asked UN Meeting on Palestine participants:
"Can you even imagine what US policy would be like at the United Nations if the will of the people were carried out without the interference of the pro-Israel lobby?"
She's not Palestinian, Arab or Muslim, she added. She's "human." That's "enough." It should be for everyone.
McKinney's forthright and resolute. She's committed to help Palestinians achieve their fundamental rights. She feels the same way about everyone. Supporting right over wrong matters most.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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