Lobbies, like cockroaches, are happiest operating in the dark. Here are a couple of pieces suggesting that things may finally be moving in the right direction – even if only a little – in the US.
One is a major new TV series starring Kevin Spacey in which a plotline brings out into the open the way Israel is a make-or-break issue for US politicians and how the most cynical use it for their ends.
The other is the glaring way in which the interests of the Israel lobbyists were to the fore in Chuck Hagel’s nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
It’s quite astonishing to see the charts produced in the article below: Republicans on the committee raised the issue of Israel 64 times compared to 4 mentions of Afghanistan, where there are 66,000 American troops officially at war. Democrats fared little better. A browbeaten Hagel responded to this onslaught by all but declaring fealty to Israel.
In nearly eight hours of interrogation and testimony, Israel and its interests were referred to by the Senate Armed Services Committee a total of 106 times. On the other hand, there were a mere 24 references made to Afghanistan and the Americans fighting there—most by Democratic Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the committee.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan—where the U.S. frequently targets militants with drone-launched Hellfire missiles—barely merited mention at all.
It’s difficult to interpret this message any other way: the Senate Armed Services Committee—particularly its Republican membership—is more concerned with the apparent American defense secretary’s relationship with Israel than with the future of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the fate of U.S. troops engaged in both locations.