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 9/11 catastrophe could have been prevented if any U.S. president 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.
The U.S. lobby for Israel is powerful and intimidating, but any determined president could prevail and win overwhelming public support for the suspension of aid by laying these facts before the American people:
Israel’s present government, like its predecessors, is determined to annex the West Bank — biblical Judea and Samaria — 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.
In its violent assaults on Palestinians, Israel uses the pretext of eradicating terrorism, but its forces are actually engaged in 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. Injured or ill Palestinians needing emergency medical care are routinely held at checkpoints for an hour or more. Many children are undernourished. Four million Palestinians are held in the West Bank and Gaza, which are like giant internment centers, bordered with a high concrete wall that Israel calls a “separation fence.” 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.
Once 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 faiths.
How did the American people get into this fix?
Nine-eleven had its principal origin 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.
Thanks 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 since then have maintained a close watch on Congress.
For many 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 more than 30 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 forces.
As 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. This bias is widely noted beyond America, where most news media candidly cover Israel’s conquest and generally excoriate America’s complicity and complacency.
The 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, have expressed their opposition to U.S. policies with steadily growing frequency and severity.
The 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.
Nothing can justify 9/11. Those guilty deserve maximum punishment, but it makes sense for America to examine motivations 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.
In the years since 9/11, American presidents have made no attempt to redress grievances. In fact, they have made the scene far worse by supporting Israel’s religious war against Palestinians, an alliance that has intensified anti-American anger. America’s leaders seem oblivious to the fact that nearly two billion people worldwide regard the plight of Palestinians as today’s most important foreign-policy challenge.
No one in authority will admit a calamitous reality that is skillfully shielded from the American people, but which is clearly recognized by most of the world: America suffered 9/11 and its aftermath, and was then 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 its leaders intensify Palestinian misery, our president should suspend all aid until Israel ends its occupation of Arab land seized in 1967. The suspension would force compliance by Israel’s leaders or lead to their removal from office, as the Israeli electorate will not tolerate a prime minister who is at odds with the White House.
If the American president 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 the American president suspends U.S. aid, he will liberate all Americans from long years of bondage to Israel’s misdeeds.
About the Author
Paul Findley, a U.S. Congressional Representative from Illinois 1961-83, 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, and slightly revised/updated in March and June 2013.