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The Egos at AIPAC

In the official indictment of ex-AIPACers Steven Rosen and Keith Weisman and their Pentagon contact Larry Franklin, there is a tidbit that hints at the role of egos and self-aggrandizement in the lobby’s day-to-day activities. This topic is related to something I discuss in my book, which conveys how AIPAC and the conventional Israel lobby prop up the perception that they have extraordinary power and limitless resources, a perception that is not always grounded in reality.

What I did not mention was that the management of perceptions occurs not only when people involved with Israel present themselves to public officials; it also happens when they present themselves to other Jews.

That is part of what energizes the machine, an unabashed, exaggerated advertising of personal clout and personal connections. That happens everywhere, of course. But when it happens in AIPAC, it concerns issues of great importance to national security.

By all accounts, Steven Rosen was a dedicated practitioner of this craft of personal power puffery. The indictment provides an example. It asserts: “On or about August 5, 2002,” Rosen called an unnamed Defense Department employee and “asked for the name of someone” in the Pentagon’s Internal Security Affairs office “with expertise on Iran.” He “was given the name of Lawrence Franklin.”

Isn’t that odd, given his reputation? With all of the organization’s supposed tentacles into the Pentagon, and with Iran policy reportedly a longtime personal obsession of Rosen, it seems curious that he had to act like a graduate student trolling the bureaucracy and searching for a proper source for a thesis.

But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his insider status, because we don’t know precisely what he said when he requested the expert on Iran. He finally got hold of Franklin and they made an appointment, which was canceled and rescheduled in a series of phone calls. If anything important was discussed in those initial phone calls, surely it would have been prominently displayed in the indictment. But we aren’t told much about what they discussed and apparently they were innocuous conversations about scheduling. So Rosen could not have known what Franklin could do for him until they actually met.

Yet, on February 2, 2003, while driving to his first meeting with Franklin, he told someone on the phone in the AIPAC office that he was “really excited” to meet with a “Pentagon guy” who was a “real insider.”

Franklin was one of 1,400 people who worked for Douglas Feith, the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. He was about five steps below Feith in the hierarchy, barely qualifying as a mid-level bureaucrat. How could Rosen have known that meeting Franklin was an “exciting” opportunity or that Franklin was a “real insider?” Yet he felt compelled to boast and seem impressive before he had any idea of what Franklin could bring to the table.

This was hardly the first time he engaged in that kind of self-branding. Former AIPAC Executive Director Tom Dine told reporter Lawrence Cohler-Esses that:

…federal agents investigating Rosen unearthed a memo from 1983, soon after Rosen’s arrival at AIPAC, in which Rosen boasted about his access to a comprehensive, classified review of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Rosen then wrote about his discovery in a memo to Dine and one of the lobby’s prominent supporters.

…Dine’s account indicates that…Rosen explicitly informed his boss — the lobby’s top staff official — of his success in obtaining such information in writing.

Asked his reaction to the memo at the time, Dine said his impression was that Rosen had not actually laid his hands on the classified document itself but had obtained intelligence on it in the draft stage…

..Another source who has seen the memo said, “He [Rosen] was bragging, ‘I got access to this classified document that shows us where U.S. policy is going. And I’m working to influence it.'”

So it’s unclear whether the actual document was classified or not, but Tom Dine didn’t think so. Yet Rosen used it to begin building his reputation within AIPAC.

Such braggadocio was hardly limited to Rosen within the culture of AIPAC. Douglas Bloomfield, who worked there in the 1990s, told me that one of the organization’s presidents once informed him, “I am the most politically astute guy in the country.”

When AIPAC began its executive lobbying operation in the 1980s, Bloomfield said the operation was created in part to puff up the egos of “affable millionaires who expected to get access. At first, they would meet with Members in the House but soon that wasn’t important enough. Then meeting with Senators wasn’t important enough. Then Assistant Secretaries of State weren’t important enough…They ended up going up the chain of command and having strategic conversations about topics they knew nothing about. Steve [Rosen] adroitly played to their egos.” {That quote is in a chapter of my book entitled “Lamp Salesmen and Secretaries of State.”)

The best known example occurred a month after Bill Clinton’s election in 1992, when then-AIPAC President David Steiner spoke to New York City businessman and AIPAC donor Harry Katz, in what turned out to be a taped phone conversation. Steiner said American Jews with connections to AIPAC had played a role in Clinton’s campaign and there was an expectation that they would get “big jobs.” He said “we’re negotiating” with the Clinton people on who might be Secretary of State….He also said he had personally met with outgoing Secretary of State Baker and “cut a deal with him” for extra aid to Israel.

When the story broke, Steiner quickly resigned, after admitting that he had lied through his teeth and was just trying to impress a donor. Most of what Steiner said is preposterous. For one thing, an outgoing secretary of state, especially someone like {“F&*# the Jews”) James Baker, who had not had cordial relations with AIPAC, does not “cut a deal” with one American Jew on aid packages for Israel; those are carefully negotiated with Israel and Congress, with the conventional Israel lobby and others weighing in. Still, that incident was in the Walt-Mearsheimer book and is prominently displayed in the many blogs that claim that the Zionists control America.

As I noted, personal power puffery happens everywhere. It has been on display in every company I’ve ever worked in and in my teenage daughter’s Model UN meetings. But it appears to play an outsized role in AIPAC’s operations. The group’s board members and staffers are indeed powerful, but one gets a sense that some of them are happiest when they believe in their own exaggerations about themselves. Keep that in mind when you read about the power puffery on display at the AIPAC policy conference, which begins on May 3rd.

39 thoughts on “The Egos at AIPAC

  1. You know Dan people at aipac, and aipac members are well meaning people who try to explain Israel’s side and make sure that they have the ability to defend themselves. O nthe other side of that you have the entire Moslem world, oil companies, Europeans, the rest of the third world. and Everybody else that wants to see the destruction Of Israel. And evidently that includes you. When you make common cause with Israel’s enemies and people that want to see Jews dead. ( Phil Weiss and Richard Silverstein to name two) where does that put you?

  2. Interesting, Bill. I also received an email insisting that I “favor the original ethnic cleansing of Palestine.” That is a clever use of the present tense, isn’t it? Some think I and others like me who insist on the importance of protecting Israeli lives and oppose the one-state solution are making “common cause” with Zionist demons. So who’s right?

  3. Keep your eye on the prize.

    The current question that is publicly posed to Israel (by King Abdullah of Jordan, interviewed yesterday on Meet the Press), is whether Israel will take up the Arab League offer to normalize relations with 30+ states that currently do not recognize Israel, thereby achieving permanent validity.

    He asks “Does Israel prefer to be a good neighbor to good neighbors or fortress Israel?”

    You posted earlier about “calling Netanyahu’s bluff”, whether he in fact does want a free-trade zone in the middle east, with the prerequisite acceptance and emphasis on law that underlies that?

    This is what King Abdullah is doing. He is asking the primary question that includes success for the assertion that Zionism is valid, that provides for considerable and GREATLY improved peace for Israel with its neighbors (if not perfect), and holds Israel to relevant moral criteria (a gift for those that desire to be good neighbors as a value in itself).

    Israel should get off its hindquarters and move toward the prize already.

  4. Richard-
    What exactly are the Arabs doing to entice Israel to do this, other than making vacuous declarations? Did they, for example, stay away from Durban II? Are the ending antisemitic incitement in their state-controlled media? Have the agreed to have their leaders appear in the Knesset, Sadat-style, to offer a REASONABLE peace (meaning no Palestinian Right of Return) offer to Israel? If they don’t make any real, tangible moves towards peace then their supposed offer of the so-called Saudi plan is mere propaganda made to get the onus of 9/11 off the Saudis.
    So-called “progressives” will now say that the ball is in Israel’s court, but today, after 15 years of the Oslo fiasco and almost 4 years since the Gush Katif-Gaza fiasco, the large majority of Israel DO NOT believe that the Arabs want peace under ANY terms. THIS IS THE REALITY, and J-Street and the Israel Policy Forum can scream to high heaven that they want Obama to threaten Israel with one-sided sanctions, but it won’t work on the Israeli public. I (who is very skeptical about the Israeli “Right” after its repeated betrayal of its supporters like myself) am seeing a real change in tone from this current government, that they are not repeating the tired mantras of “continuing the peace process”, but they SEEM to be demanding real changes, such as the demand that, in the end, the Palestinians and Arabs must recognize Israel AS A JEWISH STATE, which means an end to all demands on Israel upon achieving a peace agreement. If this is so, I can say that Netanyahu has solid support behind him by the Israeli public for his new policies, and all the deceit, back-stabbing and other tricks that J-Street, the IPF and other similar organizations are doing (e.g. claiming that “we love Israel, that’s why we want it to be condemned in the UN and for one-sided sanctions to be applied to it-for your own good, of course!”) to undermine Israel’s position in the US won’t work. Period.

  5. Dan,
    My lasting memory of AIPAC from when I was there was the contempt in which its foreign policy people, and I include Rosen in this, held Congress. As with wild animals, constant proximity and contact means a loss of fear and the willingness to attack to satiate their appetite.

  6. Yakov,
    They offered to normalize relations with Israel. Clearly, assertively, repeatedly.

    Is that contrary to Israel’s goals?

  7. Richard-
    You are avoiding my question. “Offers” made through the media without actions are meaningless. The Israeli gov’t including “doves” like Peres have made this clear.

    Peter-
    If you are referring to the roadblocks, I glanced at it. The claim that the roadblocks are merely harrassment for its own sake makes no sense, don’t forget that the pro-Oslo camp has been running Israel and the Defense Minstry for 12 of the last 15 years. They are supposedly “pro-peace”. Why would they do this simply to harrass the Palestinians whom they claimed they wanted to give a state

  8. Remember Dan’s post, fellas? It was about AIPAC and the nature of the people who work for it and fund it. Dan, I don’t have much personal experience with the AIPACers, and I don’t know whether your conclusions apply to the orgnizational “culture” as a whole. But those are terrific examples.

    I’m 3/4 of the way through your truly amazing and unsettling book (and I’ve skimmed through the rest of it). I wonder why you didn’t include this aspect of “power puffery.” Somehow, it fills in some of the missing pieces in the puzzle about why those people have been so damn effective.

  9. Teddy, excellent question. The answer is…I am not sure. I decided that all or most of the anecdotes about egos, while entertaining, didn’t really contribute enough to the explanations of how AIPAC operates and why it is, as you say, “so damn effective.” They seemed like entertaining excursions but not the main voyage. Perhaps I was wrong.

  10. The offer has been made directly to the Israeli government.

    Yakov,
    You are posing an artificial obstacle. There are elements to clarify in the proposal, not to dismiss.

    It seems like an idiotic choice that you are proposing Yakov, relative to the King of Jordan’s representation.

    With the Arab League proposal, Israel is NOT in any jeopardy of its existence. And that is an enormous qualitative change.

    Netanyahu and Leiberman can literally make that reconciliation impossible. I don’t understand why Israel would prefer the fortress and suppression approach to the reconciliation and normalization approach.

  11. Richard-
    What “artificial obstacle”. Israel is the one who has demands made of it to give away tangible assets….land, settlements, security in return for promises written on scraps of paper. Why won’t the Arabs do like Sadat and make a direct appeal to Israelis to get their support for all these concessions?

    Israel IS in jeopardy from the Arab League proposals. Maybe not in the next 24 hours, but as I have repeated many times here….the Arabs are engaged in a long-term war of attrition, both with real weapons and with political action on the international scene to weaken Israel, and these “peace agreements” INCLUDING THE ONE WITH EGYPT are designed to weaken Israel further. (I know what you are thinking “wow, is he paranoid!”-All I can say is look at the propaganda they direct at their own people, and I include those countries that have signed “peace agreements” with Israel…they say these things openly to their own people).

  12. Yakov,
    In the war of attrition the Palestinians and Arabs will win.

    The Arab League proposal is the opposite of a war of attrition. It is a commitment to peace among the majority of prospective antagonists.

    It is possible that in the next two years, the peace with Egypt and Jordan and even the PA will be renounced, if Israel does make tangible progress towards a regional peace.

    You’d have to ask Abdullah of Saudi Arabia why he doesn’t go to Jerusalem. I know why he wouldn’t be able to now, and that is because Netanyahu demands prior recognition of Jerusalem as exclusive Jewish capital. Not even an “if”.

    It is the description of what Abdullah of Jordan defined: “fortress Israel”. Isolated, fearful, itchy trigger fingers to war (not only incidents).

    There aren’t any tangible assets to be given up. Any land that settlements reside on that is still contested title (by a reasonable man test), is not Israel’s to give up.

    In business, the purpose of identifying risks, once an assessment has been made to proceed with a strategy, is to note where important attention must paid TO proceed to the next stage of equilibrium.

    I don’t see that ANY risk that you’ve identified (none specific yet) is insurmountable by skillful unilateral, bi-lateral and multi-lateral effort.

    There is NO possibility that either Israelis or Palestinians will disappear from the scene, of that the humane requirement for self-governance will disappear.

    The current policy of Netanyahu will result in the dissolution of Israel.

    One reason that a conservative government is often capable of making the leap of peace, is that they are aware of, identify, and navigate the areas of risk by attention and skillful negotiation.

    The tangible, nearly inevitable, dangers of pursuing the Netanyahu strategy of continued gradual annexation, isolated and very limited Palestinian self-governance, are the acknowledgement that Israel has devolved to an apartheid-like rationalization that conflicts with democracy.

    The argument will not be able to be contested. The majority of American Jews will not be able to continue to support Israel in that respect, and it will get put in their face.

    It is time to clearly state that one’s intent is actually peace and reconciliation (or clearly state that it is not), identify the risks as a means to enact the peace, and do it.

    Yakov,
    The most convincing propaganda that the Arab world conveys, is that Israel STEALS land, intentionally and strategically.

    Israel can’t forcefully relocate 4.5 million, not without looking very cruel. The settlement strategy was vain, a gamble, and in conflict with Torah as the Torah promise is “IF you keep my commandments”.

    There is no fly-over.

  13. YBD
    If you are referring to the roadblocks, I glanced at it. The claim that the roadblocks are merely harrassment for its own sake makes no sense, don’t forget that the pro-Oslo camp has been running Israel and the Defense Minstry for 12 of the last 15 years. They are supposedly “pro-peace”. Why would they do this simply to harrass the Palestinians whom they claimed they wanted to give a state

    Amazing, how you, who surely consider yourself such an astute reader of spins in the Arab world and beyond, manages to come across as naiveté personified when it comes to Israeli leaders. Pro-Oslo camp consisted of many threads and most were not for peace, but for continuing the Israeli dominance over the Palestinians by other means.
    Harassment makes perfect sense if you want to oppress, demoralize, encourage emigration, as well as on pure sadistic motives.

  14. Ascribing sadism to Israeli policy regarding protecting its citizenry is neither true or helpful. In fac, all it does is encourage demonization.

    It would seem to me that the Israeli government is at a loss on any more effect9ive method that does not contradict moral considerations.

  15. Richard said:
    —————————————
    In the war of attrition the Palestinians and Arabs will win.
    —————————————

    The Arabs are losing the war. Some, like Hizbullah, HAMAS, Iran and others think they are winning but others know they are losing. Israel is pulling further and further ahead of the Arab countries, economically, socially, politically.

    Yom Ha’atzmaut Sameach

  16. Richard-
    The Arabs will begin to grudgingly accept Israel when they realize that threats and violence are not going to get them anything, that Israelis are standing firm on their rights, and when the Muslims realize that Islamist extremism is destroying them.

  17. On this Yom Ha’atzmaut I want to recommend everyone to read Benny Morris book about Israel’s War of Independence called “1948”. This is THE indespensable book about the origins of the Arab/Israeli conflict. I now quote from his final chapter:

    “The 1948, to be sure, was a milestone in a contest between two national movements over a piece of territory. But it was also-if only because that is how many if not most Arabs saw it (AND SEE IT TODAY) [my emphasis-YBD] – part of a more general, global struggle between the Islamic East and the West, in which the Lando of Israel/Palestine figured and still figres, as a major battlefront. The Yishuv (Jewish community in Eretz Israel-YBD) saw itself, and was universally seen by the Muslim Arab world, as aembodiment and outpost of the European “West”. The assault of 1947-1948 was an expression of the Islmaic Arabs’ rejection of the West and its values (YBD-so much for Bernard Avishai’s “Hebrew Republic” being accepted by the Arabs) as well as a reaction to what it saw a a European colonialist encroachment against sacred Islamic soil. There was no understanding (or tolerance) of Zionism as a national liberation movement of another people. And, aptly, the course of the war reflected the civilizational disparity, in which a Western society, deploying superior organizational and technological skills, overcame a coalition of infinitely larger Islamic societies.”

    “HISTORIANS HAVE TENDED TO IGNORE OR DISMISS, AS SO MUCH HOT AIR, THE JIHADI RHETORIC AND FLOURISHES THAT ACCOMPANIED THE TWO-STAGE ASSAULT ON THE YISHUV (my emphasis-YBD) and the constant references in the prevailing Arab discourse to that earlier bout of Ilsamic battle for the Holy Land, against the Crusaders. This is a mistake. The 1948 War, form the Arab’s perspective, WAS A WAR OF RELIGION (my emphasis-YBD) as much as , of not more than a nationalist war over territory. Put another way, the territory was sacred, its violation by infidels was suffieicent grounds for launching a holy war and its conqueston, or reconquest, a divenely ordained necessity.”

    I now skip some of the text…we resume with “Jihad for Palestine was was seen in prophetic-apocalyptic terms, as embodied in the following Hadith periodically quoted at the time (and today as well-YBD) “The day of resurrection does not come until Muslims fight against Jews, until the Jews hide behind trees and stones and until the trees and stones shout out: ‘O Muslim, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him'”.

    There you have it. Benny Morris is no “right-winger”. He sat in jail once because he refused to do reserve service in Judea/Samaria. But he is an honest historian. And the crucial point is that today, finally, after decades of delusions spread by the Israeli “peace camp” that said “the Arabs don’t really take the radical incendiary, things they say seriously”, an honest historian like Morris and now, the clear majority of the Jewish population of Israel now realize this, that nothing has changed regarding the Arab/Muslim perception about how they view the Arab/Israel conflict. That is why Netanyahu feels he has the backing to say (as he did NOT have in his first term as Prime Minister in the 1990’s) that the “2-state solution” is a dead end. Wailing about AIPAC’s supposedly negative influence as all the “progressive” bloggers and now doing compulsively is merely putting themselves into a denial state about the real reasons that a peace agreement is not attainable. The Arabs do not want one and will not agree to one any terms that an Israeli government AND A RESPONSIBLE AMERICAN ADMINISTRATION can accept. Go ask Bill Clinton. He heard it with his own ears.

  18. 1948 was 61 years ago.

    The present is DIFFERENT. The Arab League has offered to normalize relations with Israel, with only absentions but no objections.

    The “civilizational” war has been concluded by that acknowledgement. To keep fighting it is to ask that that war be revived rather than settled.

    My sense is that you have a lust, not a need, for the territory and are willing to ignore the rule of law in determining title, not to mention denying the Palestinian community the opportunity for actual sovereignty.

    Questions of sovereignty and questions of title, both ignored.

  19. I don’t discount the presence of Islamic jihad behind the I/P conflict. I think it’s a real issue.

    The problem is, it gets buried underneath all the genuine grievances Palestinians have about Israeli occupation.

    It’s a matter of perception–and occupation is all people see.

    If Israel would start by letting go of those settlements, the world would not blink if it incinerated Hamas et ilk.

    Even Sharon said you needed to make concessions. If I recall correctly, he was referring to settlements.

  20. I don’t really have a problem with anything from the Morris’s quotes above. True, as per the first quote, there was a struggle b/w two national movements. “There was no understanding (or tolerance) of Zionism as a national liberation movement of another people.” Duh! Why on earth would there be? Early Zionists understood that perfectly well:
    Jabo:

    As long as the Arabs preserve a gleam of hope that they will succeed in getting rid of us, nothing in the world can cause them to relinquish this hope, precisely because they are not a rubble but a living people. And a living people will be ready to yield on such fateful issues only when they give up all hope of getting rid of the Alien Settlers.

    and

    The Arabs loved their country as much as the Jews did. Instinctively, they understood Zionist aspirations very well, and their decision to resist them was only natural ….. There was no misunderstanding between Jew and Arab, but a natural conflict.

    Ben Gurion:

    Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it’s true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations’ time, but for the moment there is no chance.

    And, true, from the larger Arab perspective there was a “jihadi” aspect to the struggle.
    What I do object is to the simplistic conflation of the conflict with the Arabs and the conflict with the Palestinians, as is YBD’s wont. In 1948 they were two fairly distinct conflicts and I don’t think Morris denies it anywhere.
    Right now the conflict with the Arabs is almost entirely about Arab masses identifying with the plight of the Palestinians and the conflict with the Palestinians is about ending their plight. The Iron Wall of Jabotinsky worked, but narrow minded people like YBD fail to realize this. They forever will see an unsurmountable threat to Israel’s existence and, like a compulsive gambler that doesn’t know when to stop and cash in, they keep betting on the same methods that worked in the past to work in the future, without realizing how much the reality has changed. It will lead only to ruin.

  21. Peter,
    A 1949 quote is not relevant 60 years later, pro or opposed, and certainly not in the environment of the Arab League proposal, which I believe is sincere.

  22. Richard-
    Virtually no one in Israel believes the Arab League proposal is “sincere” if, by that you mean that they are willing to give up the Palestinian “right of return”. You have no basis for assuming they are “sincere” except your own wishful thinking.

    Benny Morris has just come out with another book called “One State, Two States” in which he gives the history of attempts by the Zionist leaders to reach some sort of accomodation with the Arabs. According to the book review written it seems that Morris does not view the basic parameters of the Arab/Israeli conflict as having changed, in other words, the Arabs are just as intransigent as they were 60+ years ago.

  23. Except that Israel has treaties with two of five of its adjacent states, and a non-governmental agreement between the PA and Israel.

    Please start living in the present, towards a future.

    There is possibility of reconciliation and an Israel that Jews and the world can be proud of in all respects, rather than only limited.

  24. Richard-
    I will attempt to make my position as clear as possible. I am not saying that it is impossible for there ever to be peace. In fact, I am sure it will come eventually. But there is no chance of it happening as long as the Arab states continue demonizing and delegimizing Israel, propagating antisemitic propaganda. I will believe they want peace when they tell their own people that Israel is a fact and, not just that, but in addition that Israel is here to stay. I also want to see a general trend toward reducing military expenditures in the Arab states. For example, the Gulf States spend huge amounts of money on weapons they will never use. The excuse is to protect their oil fields, but as we saw in the case of Kuwait, if they are ever really threatened, it will be the US and maybe NATO forces that do the fighting. Their weapons are primarily for show and to impress their neighbors.

    It was assumed 50-60 years ago that it was inevitable that the Arab/Muslim world would secularize, just as the West had done, and this would remove the religious element that Benny Morris described as driving the Arab/Israeli conflict. However, this has been reversed. Important countries that were underoing secularization, such as Iran and Turkey and now going the other direction. In the other Arabs states, it is the intelligensia that is leading the push towards religious extremism. So I don’t see any counter force moving the Arabs/Muslims to becoming really more accomodating. The opposite is true, in spite of propaganda ploys aimed at Western countries like the “Arab Peace Plan” which has no substance behind it.

  25. I think you are cynically choosing to believe “no substance behind it”, rather than exploring at all the extent that it is.

    You are confusing the presence of doubt with the absence of potential.

    King Abdullah’s phrase “fortress Israel” is an important concept. It is a choice that Israel is making.

    You aren’t confident that Israel can retain a Jewish cultural identity if Israelis interact with Arabic world?

    How do you see peace emerging from the present? What does that look like to you? What do you think would change the psychology that you identify as the basis of fomentation against Israel and Judaism?

    Or, is peace impossible by the likud approach, requiring Israel to either suppress and/or expel screened on an ethnic basis?

  26. Maybe its a cause and substantiates that there is no possibility of peace as there is no intention for peace.

    Maybe its an effect of likudnik policy and actions, and substantiates that Israel is acting in ways that make peace impossible by ignoring entirely a plausible and live proposal.

  27. The incident occurred last year when the “peace” government of Olmert/Livni was in power. The “likudnik”-Right-wing was not in power at the time. The government that offered, according to the press reports, an almost complete withdrawal to the pre-67 lines, in line with the demands of the Arab “Peace plan”.

  28. “But there is no chance of it happening as long as the Arab states continue demonizing and delegimizing Israel, propagating antisemitic propaganda.”

    It’s funny you say this because Israel may not have recognition per se diplomatically but things remain quite sustainable with the way things are with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia (and the latter being perhaps the most anti-Semitic nation of the three and yet perhaps Israel’s biggest trump card allying themselves in a bloc against Iran). As a matter of fact, anti-Semitic sympathies are irrelevant to Israel unless they question the legitimacy of Israel’s intention to prevent Palestinians from having any rights at all or anything to that magnitude. So many Arab states have private businesses that deals with Israeli companies; it’s more or less a free trade extravaganza without any hint of principal here (Iran has shown to be doing business with Israelis, so has Hezbollah, the Saudis do it over and over, even Dubai is giving a safe passage for Leviev, Abdullah will do what pleases his own nation, he never cared for the Palestinians). It’s amazing how limited in scope this anti-Semitism card is when it is being spewed from the mouth of Ahmadinejad but doesn’t even get in the print when it comes from Israel’s supposed “reform” and “moderate” Christian allies in Lebanon.

    It’s also preposterous for you to excoriate Arab nations for spending mightily on weapons proliferation when Israel does so in greater magnitude as well as the U.S. Don’t be so limited in scope that the weapons industry can only be for Israel and the U.S. and NATO and Russia. There’s big money to be made here and these weapons may never see the light of day but that doesn’t mean the people making these weapons cannot get rich. Militarisation is everywhere. Why would you just want the Arabs and only the Arabs to dismiss this boom of an economy (especially when most of them are kingdoms and dictatorships and emirs)? In fact, Israel is a democracy as well as the U.S. and they are even more militarised than the Gulf states (Egypt is a military dictatorship and Y.Ben David wants Mubarak to NOT have a military industrial complex?).

  29. Dan,

    I have read many times that AIPAC relies on its slickness to remain latent and “in the shadows” and this helps it to give the impression of its potent power in Capitol Hill. Why would Rosen and other egotists do something that contradicts the efficacy of the body they are lobbying for?

    (Still waiting to get my hands on a copy of the book before I get into more of this.)

  30. Mr. Ben-David,
    You have a very static view of history. Imagine if you had used the same logic in 1910 to look at the prospects for Zionism. Only some 2-3% of Jews leaving Russia were even coming to Palestine, and most of them left within five years. Using your view of history, Zionism was obviously doomed. The same thing could be said about the Yishuv during WWI or in the late 1920s. Or do you apply “believer’s logic” to the Jewish side?

    As far as the Arabs and weapons go, most of the arms being ordered during the last 10 years go to the Gulf. Most are designed as protection against Iran. In Saudi Arabia a prime motive for ordering weapons is the kickbacks that members of the royal family get on the contracts.

    I also believe that peace is not possible at the moment and maybe for several years. But it is not just because the Arabs don’t want peace. The Israelis also don’t want peace, or at least peace with sacrifice in which they have to pay a price. So for several years the conflict will continue until both sides realize that there is a very costly stalemate and their enemy is not going away.

  31. Richard said:
    ———————————————–
    Olmert/Livni never even suggested anything close to the Arab League proposal.

    ————————————————

    I do not accept that. I think they are pretty close on the territorial issues. Press reports say that Olmert offered an almost complete withdrawal to the pre-67 and division of Jerusalem. OK, let’s say from the Arab’s point of view “its not enough!” SO WHAT IS PREVENTING THEM FROM REACHING OUT TO ISRAEL TO KEEP UP THE MOMENTUM? What did they do to keep the Olmert/Livni gov’t in power and to prevent the “right-wing” parties from coming to power? Nothing. Why do they refuse to show the Israeli public that they “really want peace” if that is the case? That is because they WANT the right-wing parties to be in power because they believe that it takes the onus off them to make concessions.

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