There is an Israel Lobby....And it is powerful.*

So, I read an interesting book; the Israel Lobby. Therein Mearsheimer and Walt make a compelling (although sometimes tenuous) argument for the loose (and not-so loose) coalition of individuals and entities that advance the cause of Israel in general, and pan-Zionism in particular. While not agreeing with the balance of the book, I do agree that very often what is in Israel's best interest isn't necessarily in the best interests of our nation or the people of the U.S. Thus, the book is best read critically, with an open-mind, and reach your own conclusions.

Enter Charles Freeman, an undisputed intelligence genius, who just happens to hold views critical of the Middle East conundrum, and who feels, like many others do, that our unilateral intractability (e.g., Palestine - bad, Israel - good) isn't perhaps the best way to broker peace. Then the shit hit the fan. Online campaigns from the "Lobby" essentially made Freeman's acceptance of the Chair for the Nat'l Intell. Council untenable. Now, others are questioning the Lobby's disproportional influence. Including, naturally, Freeman himself:

"The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East," Freeman wrote.Referring to what he called "the Israel Lobby," he added: "The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views." One result of this, he said, is "the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics."

While this is rhetoric of a bitter man, wrongly tarred, it is useful to ask ourselves: Who gains from having a foreign policy voice that is status quo as opposed to one that seeks bilateral concensus, and a more diplomatic option for all the principals in the ne'er-ending Israeli-Palestinian conflict? I think you know the answer.

Preface: before I get tarred with the ADL's all-time favorite schtick (e.g., "anti-semite" taunting), I will put my goddamned civil rights record as a professional, an attorney, an activist and human being against nearly anyone. Having spent the better part of my 35 years working in ghettos, shtetls, barrios, reservations, trailer parks, suburbia, micro-mansionville and the like, I am hopeful -but not expectant- that what is said here will be judged on its merit without the de rigeure resort to name-calling. Thank you for listening to the barrage.

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