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Les puissantes coulisses de l’axe.......................

vendredi 24 décembre 2004

The FBI investigation of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has long been viewed as the pro-Israel lobby on Capitol Hill, has sparked the thought that the once powerful organization may be headed for history’s dustbin. If it is required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), as even mainstream Newsweek hinted at this week, it may spell the ruin of the organization that always professed itself the great supporter of « American » interests.
But some supporters are wondering if Israel’s AIPAC is really needed.

Those who have been following the course of foreign aid to Israel realize that the amount of pure economic assistance given each year is gradually shrinking, and very shortly will amount to nothing at all. This year it is a mere $360 million - compared to $1.2 billion eight years ago. At the same time, military aid is being increasingly rechanneled through the Defense Department budgets in the guise of « joint U.S.-Israel Defense » programs. In October the defense budget passed by Congress included $300 million for several joint programs - the Arrow missile defense program, the Counter Terrorism Support Working Group, the Mobile Tactical High Energy Laser (lasers that hit incoming rockets), and the Bradley Reactive Armor Tiles (panels attached to military vehicles that explode outward on impact, protecting soldiers). In addition some $2.2 billion in further military aid is given as part of the yearly foreign aid package.
In Congress, the Zionist lobby is now comfortably institutionalized. The core bipartisan group of congressional supporters of Israel can be found in the Middle East subcommittee of the House Committee on International Relations, headed by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and including Gary Ackerman (D-NY) (also minority leader of the full IR committee), Howard Berman (D-CA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), Shelley Berkley (D-NV), and Tom Lantos (D-CA). Along with Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Robert Wexler (D-FL), and Dan Burton (R-IN), this core group habitually puts forward congressional resolutions and « dear colleague » letters to the President on any number of Israeli needs and requests. The latest letter from Wexler, Ackerman, Menendez, and Engel to President Bush expressed their « concerns » about and requested information on why the FBI needs to investigate their good friends at AIPAC, and Wexler has suggested that the FBI is targeting Jews. This is the same group that circulated a letter condemning the Presbyterian Church for its Israel divestment policy, and wrote the President of France asking him to add Hezbollah to the European Union list of terrorist organizations.

Meanwhile, Israel’s every military and security need is articulated and promoted - sometimes in advance - by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). This so-called non-partisan « think tank » cleverly spots ways in which U.S. defense needs can be meshed with Israel’s military-industrial complex. Currently it is busy promoting the applicability of Israel’s anti-Palestinian expertise to America’s « war on terrorism, » mostly notably through exchange programs between Israel and each of the state law enforcement agencies. The primary focus of the program is to bring U.S. law enforcement executives (chiefs, sheriffs, deputies, etc.) to Israel for an intensive two-week program aimed at educating the officials on the possible threats posed by terrorists in America. Law enforcement trainers have been drawn from Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Minneapolis, and New Jersey.

So why is AIPAC needed at all ? It clearly is no longer required to push for economic or military aid ; all that seems to be left for the organization to do is provide junket trips for congressmen and their staff to visit Israel. But does this require a budget of $33 million a year and a staff of 140, including full-time lobbyists on Capitol Hill ?
One might wonder what will happen to an organization with four of its principal officers testifying before a grand jury investigating espionage on behalf of Israel.

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