Recent events in Pakistan should serve as a wake up call. There is more to the Mideast region than Israel and its Arab antagonists. The Israel Lobby has been successful in inducing the United States into mis-allocating its resources to protect Israeli interests, and this is now having a profound and lasting impact. It is time for supporters of the Israel Lobby to face up to the fact that what is good for Israel is not necessarily good for the United States. The Mideast is not best viewed through Israeli interests, and there is much more at stake than Israel’s welfare.
Pakistan is for all practical purposes under martial law. This is hardly a surprise outcome. Management of the “war on terror” was delegated by the Bush administration to strongman General Pervez Musharraf, who quickly fell in line after being presented with the alternative of Pakistan being bombed into the stone-age. Musharraf has managed the situation as well as he could, given his pre-condition that he stay in power (the economy, for example, has grown nicely during his tenure). This pre-condition, however, is clearly not acceptable to Pakistanis, and he is now being forced into elections. For the US, the shift in focus from Afghanistan, Bin Laden, and Al Qaeda to Iraq, Iran, and Israel’s interests has proved to be seriously distracting.
Our Mideast strategy is managed directly or indirectly by the Israel Lobby. This Lobby functions as a “monopoly” in the manner of Microsoft. Until recently, no alternate viewpoints were seriously considered, and the Israel Lobby has represented itself as the establishment. Monopolies, however, corrupt the system; Microsoft distorted the software industry, and the Israel Lobby is corrupting our body politic. We are now seeing clear and tangible evidence of the consequences of this betrayal of American interests. Rather than pursue Bin Laden, vanquish the Taliban, and guide Pakistan towards democracy, the Bush administration was misdirected into attacking Iraq, and US power is now being targeted at Israel’s perceived enemies such as Iran.
The Israel Lobby has labored at caricaturizing Muslims as natural enemies of the United States. It has succeeded in skillfully amplifying Israel’s contempt and fear of Arabs, into contempt and fear of Muslims by mainstream Americans. This has required a sustained campaign, and the results speak for themselves: after 9/11 80%+ of Muslims the world over were pro-US, and today a similar percentage is anti-US. Such swings in public opinion are not accidental, and reflect US actions under the “war on terror”, and a calculated strategy to provoke an adversary into being.
There are now numerous excellent and well documented books that describe the Israel Lobby, its machinations, and the detrimental impact of its pervasive influence. It is time for us to switch our priorities to other countries that are being neglected at our peril, foreign policy things that matter, reduce the importance of Israel and its concerns, and refocus to American interests.
BADRUDDIN KHAN lives in San Francisco. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org