The New Thought Police; The Israel Lobby and Traumatic MemorySubmitted by LittleWing on Fri, 08/02/2013 - 08:57
The New Thought Police; The Israel Lobby and Traumatic Memory
by LAWRENCE SWAIM
Edward Snowden speaks of an electronic “architecture of oppression,” based on the mania of our national security state to control the communications of humankind at large. But there are other systems of control—emotional and cultural rather than digital—whose mechanisms of control are no less capable of being abused. The most effective of these are the overlapping systems of influence and control set up by the Israel Lobby. This is a generic term referring to disparate people and institutions that believe that Americans should not be allowed to publicly criticize the government of Israel, even when it does bad things; and it is with that intent in mind that they conduct extensive policing of public discussion of anything having to do with Israel.
The Lobby consists mainly of the leadership of three important organizations—the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee and the Simon Wiesenthal Center; the Lobby’s most well-known public figures are Abraham Foxman, Director of the ADL, and Alan Dershowitz, an American attorney, professor lawyer and political commentator. They are backed up by an even larger contingent of rightwing Christian evangelicals, the largest and most active constituency in the Republican Party, many of whom believe that a religious war would bring about the Second Coming of Christ. All of the above-mentioned people have one thing in common: they attack American critics of the Israeli state, usually by calling them anti-Semites or self-hating Jews, often trying to ruin their reputations or drive them from their jobs.
In Congress the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) does pretty much the same thing, with one major difference: they have at their disposal immense amounts of money. Currently an actual majority of elected officials receive money from AIPAC to vote as the current government of Israel wants them to, at least on issues having to do with the Middle East. There’s nothing illegal about it—it’s called ‘bundling,’ and is basically a form of legal bribery. But one must say that it’s rather odd, not to mention unprecedented, that the Prime Minister of a foreign country would participate in the distribution of money through his proxies to the US Congress, so that its members vote as he wants them to. From the point of view of American sovereignty, not to mention political morality, it’s an astonishing situation.
But why do people and organizations in the Israel Lobby behave in this manner, and why do so many supposedly free Americans follow their dictates? Why do they cooperate in suppressing criticism of the Israeli state, when everybody knows that self-criticism and robust debate are necessary to the health of the state, any state? Why do so many people who say they love Israel embrace doctrines that ensure Israel’s eventual destruction? And why do so many people feel constrained to think, speak and act according to the dictates of a Lobby that is often irrational?