Iran, the USA and a Closer Look at the Israel Lobby
As of late, what with the Iranian nuclear issue heating up, there are cries and suggestions that the supposedly unbreakable Israel-Washington bond will prompt the U.S., at the very minimum, to approve Israel's potential strike on Iran. This relationship is already dangerous enough, many say, but couple this with hawkish views on violence and you have the US military as a powerful tool of Israel that the US can and will deploy at Israel's behest.
Let's take a look at the facts, shall we?
For all of this make any sense, only one premise needs to be agreed upon: the basis that politicians respond to money. After all, isn't that why we are so ardently (and rightfully) averse to the idea of "Corporate personhood" upheld by Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission?
For the 2012 election cycle: compare the monetary contributions of real estate interest groups, which has contributed an aggregate total of $253,290,163 to Washington, law interest groups at $86,656,519, and Israeli interest groups -- coming in with a relatively dismal $5,662,108. As a matter of fact, the money that real estate interest groups have spent so far in 2012 compose more than almost double the Israel industry has in its entire history.
Granted, $5,662,108 is nothing to be overlooked in the domestic industry influencing our politicians. However, this pales in comparison with other interest groups influencing Washington.
Ah, but how about the Israel lobby, you say? It's so powerful that in some circles, it's simply referred to as "the Lobby". What about that? There's no denying its omnipotence in controlling the foreign policy of the United States.
Compared with monetary statements made by the top industry, "Pharmaceuticals/Health Products" at $67,602,011, the "Pro-Israel" is almost a non-player with a total of $710,849. Including the supposed lobby god that is AIPAC.
In spite of these contributions however, some politicians are adamantly pro-Israel or supportive of it. What then explains this?
Simple. How about the fact that it's the only functioning democracy in the Middle East (note that the criteria for this index is "electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; the functioning of government; political participation; and political culture")? Maybe take into account that the U.S. has a realpolitik interest with the Middle East's sole democracy's military intelligence capabilities, especially with the two wars in the Middle East and Central Asia? What about the fact that it too, alongside the U.S., is engaged in fighting Islamist organizations?
Such unadulterated focus on such irrelevant forces is not only politically distracting as well as conversationally vexatious, but it's also potentially dangerous. This narrow focus detracts us from other, more pressing issues, such as the real estate monetary contributions to Washington officials. As the non-profit, non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics notes, "despite the mortgage and banking crises of 2008, the financial sector still managed to donate $468.8 million to federal campaigns and candidates during the 2008 election cycle, an 80 percent increase during the two previous years." The ramifications of this influence should be all too raw for the reader.
So do yourself, the country's political discussion, and its future a favor: stop worrying about the "Zionist-controlled Washington" hypothesis. After all, since we elect our officials, even perceiving that Israel controls Washington only tightens the grasp those "evil Zionists" may have on Washington.
Joseph Suh is a Contributing Writer for The Propagandist