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U.S. Anti-Israel Activity  
Manufacturing the Next Big Lie: The “Israel Lobby,” Jews & Iran RULE Anti-Israel Movement

Posted: November 11, 2008

Former Government Officials
Anti-Israel Movement
A Convergence of the Antiwar and Anti-Israel Movements
The U.S. Presidential Elections and Iran

Several individuals with significant roles in the anti-Israel movement, whose work includes books, magazines and articles that reflect and impact the left-wing anti-Israel movement, have voiced charges against the “Israel lobby” and accused the lobby of pushing for a war against Iran.  

Alexander Cockburn, a columnist for The Nation and co-editor and publisher of the radical anti-Zionist newsletter CounterPunch, is a harsh critic of Israeli policy and has continually accused the “Israel lobby” of pushing for a war against Iran. In a January 2007 CounterPunch article, Cockburn argued that the “Israel lobby” has succeeded in doing a “competent job” of halting the antiwar sentiment within Congress. He further lamented that the Democratically-controlled Congress should have expressed opposition to President Bush’s increasingly tough talk about Iran, noting, “This [the Congress’] temperate posture is surely not unconnected to the fact that the lobby’s prime foreign policy task, joined by Israeli hawks like Bibi Netanyahu, has been to rally support for an assault on Iran.”

Similarly, Phyllis Bennis, a fellow at a Washington, DC-based think tank called Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) and a co-founder and steering committee member of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, has repeatedly accused the “Israel lobby” of pushing for a war against Iran. Bennis is often critical of Israel, including referring to Israel as an “apartheid” and “pariah” state during various speeches she has given at anti-Israel rallies and conferences. In a 40-page primer published in 2008 called “Iran in the Crosshairs: How to Prevent Washington’s Next War,” Bennis defends Iran and challenges White House concerns that Iran intends to build nuclear weapons, going so far as to argue that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s calls to “wipe Israel off the map” were misinterpreted and that really, “the threat is the other way around” because Israel is pushing for a war against Iran. She concludes with the allegation that a major reason why the U.S. is acting tough against Iran must be “Israel’s powerful lobbies” which have “embraced Israel’s approach to Iran” and have created a “serious stumbling block” to efforts to prevent a war against Iran.


Mazin Qumsiyeh, a co-founder of Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition and former genetics professor at Yale and Duke Universities, alleges that Zionists in government are pressuring the U.S. to go to war against Iran.  Qumsiyeh has frequently employed this sort of conspiratorial rhetoric since tensions over Iran began to escalate.


In a May 2008 interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), an official Iranian radio station, Qumsiyeh alleged that Zionists in leading government positions are more loyal to Israel than the countries in which they live. He also argued that the war against Iraq and “stretch against Iran” is “partly related to the Zionist organizations in the wars who are engaged in formatting [sic] disturbances, violence.”  Qumsiyeh is regularly interviewed on IRIB.


Similarly, in a March 2008 e-mail message about Israeli influence in the U.S., Qumsiyeh wrote, “Thus we do not only support Israel’s wars…but we are fighting wars partially to help Israel (e.g. Iraq and plans for conflict with Iran).” And in an article published in April 2008 on Palestine News Network, Qumsiyeh further advanced a conspiracy theory about the “Israel lobby”: “These two governments [Israel and the U.S.] continue to ‘cooperate’ to send more U.S. citizens as cannon fodder in Zionist wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and soon Iran…This reminded me of what was foreseen by Zionist neocons when they implored the U.S. to attack Iraq so that it would bring Israeli and U.S. policies into ‘alignment.’ This Israelization of the U.S. that has been going on is almost perfect now.”


In a November 2007 posting to several anti-Israel listserves, Qumsiyeh noted, “The Zionist establishment in the meantime is busy in the U.S. suppressing free speech in academia and pushing for a new war (this time on Iran).” Qumsiyeh also claimed that the economy might be saved if U.S. foreign policy is rescued from the “Zionist straightjacket,” which he defined as “the Israeli lobby that now occupies Washington DC like it occupies Palestinian lands.”


James Petras, a retired professor of sociology at Binghamton University, has evoked classic anti-Semitic narratives, accusing the “Israel lobby” of exerting complete control over the U.S. government. For example, in a June 2008 essay, Petras wrote that the “Israel lobby” uses its power to ensure that U.S. policy conforms to Israeli interests: “In pursuit of the Israeli agenda, the [Zionist lobby] led by AIPAC has exploited its control and influence over the U.S. Congress and Executive branches…has leveraged the presence of highly placed Israel-Firsters in key positions in Treasury, the Pentagon, Commerce, the National Security Council, the Justice Department and Homeland Security to design and pursue economic and military policies in line with Israel’s war policies toward Iran. AIPAC, through its media and economic leverage, undermined domestic opposition.”


Petras also devotes a section of his most recent book, Zionism, Militarism and the Decline of U.S. Power, released in August 2008, to the Iran issue. In “War on Iran: The American Military versus the Israel Firsters,” Petras argues that pro-Israel Americans, whom he refers to as the “Zionist Power Configuration,” have launched a massive crusade to get the U.S. into a war with Iran.  This “crusade” includes suppressing reports that minimize Iran’s nuclear threat, insulting military analysts who oppose war, and publishing “reams of propaganda articles fabricating an Iranian nuclear threat.”


Petras’ conspiracy theories also include the anti-Semitic accusation that the American Jewish community is “controlling the communications media” and is “bloodthirsty” in its appetite for war.  He has stated that [U.S.] “presidents are on their knees before Jewish power,” and maintained that Jews, in their religious doctrine of “chosenness,” advance their “righteous victimology” and represent “the greatest threat to world peace and humanity.”

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