Liberating America From Israel
By Paul Findley
Nine-eleven would not have occurred if the U.S. government had refused to help Israel humiliate and destroy Palestinian society. Few express
this conclusion publicly, but many believe it is the truth. I believe the
catastrophe could have been prevented if any U.S. president during the past 35
years had had the courage and wisdom to suspend all U.S. aid until Israel withdrew from the Arab land seized in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
U.S. lobby for Israel is powerful and intimidating, but any determined
president — even President Bush this very day — could prevail and
win overwhelming public support for the suspension of aid by laying these facts
before the American people:
present government, like its predecessors, is determined to annex the West Bank
— biblical Judea and Sumaria — so Israel will become Greater
Israel. Ultra-Orthodox Jews, who maintain a powerful role in Israeli politics,
believe the Jewish Messiah will not come until Greater Israel is a reality.
Although a minority in Israel, they are committed, aggressive, and influential.
Because of deep religious conviction, they are determined to prevent
Palestinians from gaining statehood on any part of the West Bank.
its violent assaults on Palestinians, Israel uses the pretext of eradicating
terrorism, but its forces are actually engaged advancing the territorial
expansion just cited. Under the guise of anti-terrorism, Israeli forces treat
Palestinians worse than cattle. With due process nowhere to be found, hundreds
are detained for long periods and most are tortured. Some are assassinated.
Homes, orchards, and business places are destroyed. Entire cities are kept
under intermittent curfew, some confinements lasting for weeks. Injured or ill Palestinians
needing emergency medical care are routinely held at checkpoints for an hour or
more. Many children are undernourished. The West Bank and Gaza have become
giant concentration camps. None of this could have occurred without U.S. support. Perhaps Israeli officials believe life will become so unbearable that most
Palestinians will eventually leave their ancestral homes.
beloved worldwide, the U.S. government finds itself reviled in most countries
because it provides unconditional support of Israeli violations of the United
Nations Charter, international law, and the precepts of all major religious
did the American people get into this fix?
had its principal origin 35 years ago when Israel's U.S. lobby began its
unbroken success in stifling debate about the proper U.S. role in the
Arab-Israeli conflict and effectively concealed from public awareness the fact
that the U.S. government gives massive uncritical support to Israel.
to the suffocating influence of Israel's U.S. lobby, open discussion of
the Arab-Israeli conflict has been non-existent in our government all these
years. I have firsthand knowledge, because I was a member of the House of
Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee in June 1967 when Israeli military
forces took control of the Golan Heights, a part of Syria, as well as the
Palestinian West Bank and Gaza. I continued as a member for 16 years, and to
this day maintain a close watch on Congress.
35 years, not a word has been expressed in that committee or in either chamber
of Congress that deserves to be called debate on Middle East policy. No
restrictive or limiting amendments on aid to Israel have been offered for 20
years, and none of the few offered in previous years received more than a
handful of votes. On Capitol Hill, criticism of Israel, even in private
conversation, is all but forbidden, treated as downright unpatriotic, if not
anti-Semitic. The continued absence of free speech was assured when those few
who spoke out — Senators Adlai Stevenson and Charles Percy, and Reps.
Paul “Pete” McCloskey, Cynthia McKinney, Earl Hilliard, and myself
— were defeated at the polls by candidates heavily financed by pro-Israel
a result, legislation dealing with the Middle East has been heavily biased in
favor of Israel and against Palestinians and other Arabs year after year. Home
constituencies, misled by news coverage equally lop-sided in Israel's favor, remain largely unaware that Congress behaves as if it were a
subcommittee of the Israeli parliament.
the bias is widely noted beyond America, where most news media candidly cover Israel's conquest and generally excoriate America's complicity and complacency. When
President Bush welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, sometimes called
the Butcher of Beirut, as “my dear friend” and “a man of
peace” after Israeli forces, using U.S.-donated arms, completed their
devastation of the West Bank last spring, worldwide anger against American
policy reached the boiling point.
fury should surprise no one who reads foreign newspapers or listens to BBC. In
several televised statements long before 9/11, Osama bin Laden, believed by U.S. authorities to have masterminded 9/11, cited U.S. complicity in Israel's destruction of
Palestinian society as a principal complaint. Prominent foreigners, in and out
of government, express their opposition to U.S. policies with unprecedented
frequency and severity, especially since Bush announced his determination to
make war against Iraq.
lobby's intimidation remains pervasive. It seems to reach every
government center, and even houses of worship and revered institutions of
higher learning. It is highly effective in silencing the many U.S. Jews who
object to the lobby's tactics and Israel's brutality.
can justify 9/11. Those guilty deserve maximum punishment, but it makes sense
for America to examine motivations promptly and as carefully as possible.
Terrorism almost always arises from deeply-felt grievances. If they can be
eradicated or eased, terrorist passions are certain to subside.
a year after 9/11, President Bush has made no attempt to redress grievances, or
even to identify them. In fact, he has made the scene far worse by supporting Israel's religious war against Palestinians, an alliance that has intensified
anti-American anger. He seems oblivious to the fact that nearly two billion
people worldwide regard the plight of Palestinians as today's most
important foreign-policy challenge.
one in authority will admit a calamitous reality that is skillfully shielded
from the American people but clearly recognized by most of the world: America
suffered 9/11 and its aftermath and may soon be at war with Iraq, mainly
because U.S. policy in the Middle East is made in Israel, not in Washington.
Israel is a
scofflaw nation and should be treated as such. Instead of helping Sharon intensify Palestinian misery, our president should suspend all aid until Israel ends its occupation of Arab land Israel seized in 1967. The suspension would force Sharon's compliance or lead to his removal from office, as the Israeli electorate
will not tolerate a prime minister who is at odds with the White House.
If Bush needs an additional reason for doing the right
thing, he can justify the suspension as a matter of military necessity, an
essential step in winning international support for his war on terrorism. He
can cite a worthy precedent. When President Abraham Lincoln issued the
proclamation that freed only the slaves in states that were then in rebellion,
he made the restriction because of "military necessity." If Bush
suspends U.S. aid, he will liberate all Americans from long years of bondage to
Paul Findley is one of the original Board of Advisers of Deir Yassin Remembered. He was a U.S. Congressional Representative from Illinois 1961-83 and is the author
of three books related to the Middle East, including They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's
Lobby (1985) and, most recently, Silent
No More: Confronting America's False Images of Islam. He
resides in Jacksonville, Illinois. This essay was issued on Sept. 12, 2002.