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Neoconservatives

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“Neoconservative” is the somewhat misleading term for an increasingly influential group in Washington these days largely responsible for the push toward war in the Middle East.

Previously terming themselves “leftists,” and now calling themselves “conservatives,” in actuality neo-cons seem to be neither. Rather, their ideology largely revolves around passionate devotion to Israeli interests.

Not long ago some of these “neoconservatives” wrote position papers for Israeli politicians. Now they are occupying a growing number of top-level and mid-level positions in the US government. They seem to consider Israeli interests synonomous with American interests. Most American policy experts disagree.

Following are articles from former CIA analysts, Pentagon officers, and journalists describing the activities of these increasingly powerful individuals.

If there is anything that Americans should inform themselves on, it is this growing Israeli-centric influence on American policies.

A Rose by Another Name

The Bush Administration’s Dual Loyalties

By Kathleen and Bill Christison
Former CIA Political Analysts
CounterPunch
December 13, 2002

Since the long-forgotten days when the State Department’s Middle East policy was run by a group of so-called Arabists, U.S. policy on Israel and the Arab world has increasingly become the purview of officials well known for tilting toward Israel. From the 1920s roughly to 1990, Arabists, who had a personal history and an educational background in the Arab world and were accused by supporters of Israel of being totally biased toward Arab interests, held sway at the State Department and, despite having limited power in the policymaking circles of any administration, helped maintain some semblance of U.S. balance by keeping policy from tipping over totally toward Israel. But Arabists have been steadily replaced by their exact opposites, what some observers are calling Israelists, and policymaking circles throughout government now no longer even make a pretense of exhibiting balance between Israeli and Arab, particularly Palestinian, interests.

In the Clinton administration, the three most senior State Department officials dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli peace process were all partisans of Israel to one degree or another. All had lived at least for brief periods in Israel and maintained ties with Israel while in office, occasionally vacationing there. One of these officials had worked both as a pro-Israel lobbyist and as director of a pro-Israel think tank in Washington before taking a position in the Clinton administration from which he helped make policy on Palestinian-Israeli issues. Another has headed the pro-Israel think tank since leaving government.

The link between active promoters of Israeli interests and policymaking circles is stronger by several orders of magnitude in the Bush administration, which is peppered with people who have long records of activism on behalf of Israel in the United States, of policy advocacy in Israel, and of promoting an agenda for Israel often at odds with existing U.S. policy. These people, who can fairly be called Israeli loyalists, are now at all levels of government, from desk officers at the Defense Department to the deputy secretary level at both State and Defense, as well as on the National Security Council staff and in the vice president’s office.

We still tiptoe around putting a name to this phenomenon. We write articles about the neo-conservatives’ agenda on U.S.-Israeli relations and imply that in the neo-con universe there is little light between the two countries. We talk openly about the Israeli bias in the U.S. media. We make wry jokes about Congress being “Israeli-occupied territory.” Jason Vest in The Nation magazine reported forthrightly that some of the think tanks that hold sway over Bush administration thinking see no difference between U.S. and Israeli national security interests. But we never pronounce the particular words that best describe the real meaning of those observations and wry remarks. It’s time, however, that we say the words out loud and deal with what they really signify.

Dual loyalties. The issue we are dealing with in the Bush administration is dual loyalties-the double allegiance of those myriad officials at high and middle levels who cannot distinguish U.S. interests from Israeli interests, who baldly promote the supposed identity of interests between the United States and Israel, who spent their early careers giving policy advice to right-wing Israeli governments and now give the identical advice to a right-wing U.S. government, and who, one suspects, are so wrapped up in their concern for the fate of Israel that they honestly do not know whether their own passion about advancing the U.S. imperium is motivated primarily by America-first patriotism or is governed first and foremost by a desire to secure Israel’s safety and predominance in the Middle East through the advancement of the U.S. imperium.

“Dual loyalties” has always been one of those red flags posted around the subject of Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict, something that induces horrified gasps and rapid heartbeats because of its implication of Jewish disloyalty to the United States and the common assumption that anyone who would speak such a canard is ipso facto an anti-Semite. (We have a Jewish friend who is not bothered by the term in the least, who believes that U.S. and Israeli interests should be identical and sees it as perfectly natural for American Jews to feel as much loyalty to Israel as they do to the United States. But this is clearly not the usual reaction when the subject of dual loyalties arises.)

Although much has been written about the neo-cons who dot the Bush administration, their ties to Israel have generally been treated very gingerly. Although much has come to light recently about the fact that ridding Iraq both of its leader and of its weapons inventory has been on the neo-con agenda since long before there was a Bush administration, little has been said about the link between this goal and the neo-cons’ overriding desire to provide greater security for Israel. But an examination of the cast of characters in Bush administration policymaking circles reveals a startlingly pervasive network of pro-Israel activists, and an examination of the neo-cons’ voluminous written record shows that Israel comes up constantly as a neo-con reference point, always mentioned with the United States as the beneficiary of a recommended policy, always linked with the United States when national interests are at issue.

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Additional Resources

Book – Perceptions of Palestine: Their Influence on U.S. Middle East Policy

Book – A Pretext for War: 9/11, Iraq, and the Abuse of America's Intelligence Agencies

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