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Thread: Biggest Barrier To Peace is 'Unlimited' Funds Given to AIPAC, Says Jack Straw

  1. #1

    Biggest Barrier To Peace is 'Unlimited' Funds Given to AIPAC, Says Jack Straw

    Although he is not seeking re-election, could someone in US Congress make a statement like this?

    Biggest Barrier To Peace is 'Unlimited' Funds Given to AIPAC, Says Jack Straw

    Ex-British Foreign Secretary To Quit Parliament

    Published October 27, 2013.

    Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said during a debate in the British parliament that “unlimited” funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the U.S. are used to control American policy in the Middle East.

    The comments reportedly were made last week during the Round Table Global Diplomatic Forum in the British House of Commons.

    Former Israeli Knesset Member Einat Wilf was in attendance at the debate and posted Straw’s comments on her Facebook page.
    Straw said, according to Wilf, that the greatest obstacles to peace between Israel and the Palestinians and her Arab neighbors are the “unlimited” funds available to Jewish organizations and AIPAC in the U.S., as well as Germany’s “obsession” with defending Israel.
    “I guess he neglected to mention Jewish control of the media…,” Wilf added on her Facebook status.
    Straw announced Friday that he would step down as a member of Parliament from the Labor Party at the upcoming 2015 general election. He has served in Parliament continuously since 1979. Straw served as both Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary under Prime Minister Tony Blair, and as Secretary of State of Justice under Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

    No pressure, friendly reminder to Drudge to cover this story .. just as it covered AIPAC puppet Panetta's Iran war call yesterday.

    Panetta: USA may have to use military force...

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  3. #2
    "Today, even as the lobby carefully coordinates funding, grooming and promotion of American politicians to in turn deliver outsized US taxpayer handouts to Israel, average Americans have finally noticed and are beginning to voice opposition. Continuing to buy politicians who will dutifully pass unpopular policies while U.S. public support collapses looks unsustainable. According to Congressional Research Service data, since 1949 US aid to Israel has increased at an average rate of 28% per year, leaping 11.4% from 2010 to 2013. Israel’s lobby is moving to exempt that aid from automatic spending cuts that are being applied to virtually all other U.S. government programs. Yet, according to a 2012 Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey of American public opinion and US foreign policy, the number of Americans who want aid to Israel increased has fallen from 18% in 2002 to only 11% in 2012. Americans wanting aid to stay the same (45%) barely outnumber the 41% who in 2012 said such aid should be decreased or stopped altogether.

    Can careful framing and feeding of conspiracy theories into mass media and congress by debasing party platforms and highly coordinated campaign funding negate a growing wave of popular opposition? AIPAC tries mightily, but often fails to frame the message.
    Dan Fischer recently ambushed American Israel Public Affairs Committee president Michael Kassen and demanded to know why Israel boycotted a major regional WMD-free zone conference. Kassen stammered and stalled as AIPAC staffers rushed in to seize Fischer’s smartphone video. AIPAC, the wellspring of Israel lobby conspiracy theories and agitation since 1963, lost the small skirmish as gleeful tweets ridiculing Kassen and AIPAC swiftly winged the video across the internet.
    For decades propagating Israel lobby conspiracy theories has relied heavily on establishment media acquiescence, but been costly to credibility. According to a recent Gallup poll, the number of Americans who have “not very much/none at all” confidence in mass media skyrocketed from 50% in 2006 to 60% in 2012. The Israel lobby’s attempts to frame and shape the establishment media thereby forming a “consensus” for unconditional American support and war is ever more challenging in the age of irate citizen-journalists, blogs, ubiquitous Internet video and disgruntled taxpayers far more eager for facts than the latest self-serving Israel lobby conspiracy theories.

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      Does AIPAC Have Only Two Major Donors?
      Mystery unfolds as members of Congress head to Israel

      A large congressional delegation is heading for Israel. During three weeks of recess, 55 Republicans and 26 Democrats will enjoy “educational” trips funded by the American Israel Education Foundation, a tax-exempt nonprofit located in the same Washington, D.C., building as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Absent AIPAC’s influence on pro-Israel campaign contributors, members of Congress would probably skip international travel this year to meet the pressing needs of their districts or to venture to places of actual importance to the U.S., such as Europe, China, or Latin America. Instead, because AIPAC is always watching members of Congress, our representatives go to Israel. But this raises an important question: Who is really behind AIPAC?

      AIPAC’s last IRS list of contributors claims the organization now has only two major donors [.pdf]. As a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) organization (a category intended for civic leagues, social welfare organizations, and local associations of employees) AIPAC files an IRS Form 990. AIPAC has long structured its fiscal year end in such a way that it languidly files 2-year-old data while other nonprofits are rushing to report their previous year. Therefore, the AIPAC Form 990 listed as “year 2010″ at, the officially designated website to consult such data, is actually year 2009 data [.pdf]. It also lacks the most important data in Form 990 — donor contributions.
      Unlike the far more numerous nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations, which have to continually “means test” that they have a wide public funding base in order for contributor donations to be tax-deductible, contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations such as AIPAC (which actively lobbies Congress, the executive, and numerous government agencies) are not tax-deductible. There are no contribution limits to 501 (c)(4) nonprofit groups. Individuals, foreign nationals, partnerships, associations, and other organizations may contribute whatever amount they like to a 501(c)(4).
      Given AIPAC’s oversize clout in U.S. Middle East policy, it’s always informative to see just how many people are giving — and how much. When AIPAC’s founder, Isaiah Kenen, was dispatched in the early 1950s from his job at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs with orders to lobby the U.S. Congress for guns and diplomatic support as an American (rather than the U.S. State Department as an Israeli foreign agent), it was supposed to be only a six-month gig. As that operation morphed into a semi-permanent Washington institution run outside the normal purview of the Foreign Agents Registration Act office, AIPAC was forced to tap a very small base of wealthy donors (some with criminal records) while simultaneously receiving covert support from the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency in Jerusalem.
      After that “conduit” foreign- funding ruse was uncovered by a Justice Department investigation, Kenen emerged from the crisis and slowly built back up AIPAC’s donor base, whipping up post-1967 Six-Day War donor fears and anxieties that Israel was in danger of being overrun (it wasn’t) if people didn’t send in their checks. Now, AIPAC is pushing largely the same “Israel in danger” emotional buttons, with Iran as the flashing red light.
      AIPAC’s schedule of donors doesn’t appear on Guidestar. The IRS won’t release it for any organization except by special request. Only then will the IRS send a “Schedule B” of contributors with all $5,000-plus contributors’ names — but not their donations — censored. If the breadth of AIPAC’s funding base is a “leading indicator” of AIPAC’s popular support, it is America that should now be deeply worried that AIPAC is catering to drastically fewer — and possibly much more extreme — voices.
      For fiscal year 2006, AIPAC’s top contributor gave $650,000. The rest of AIPAC’s “Schedule B” donors gave on average $16,772 each. The list of $5,000-plus donors numbered just over 1,700 individuals, so numerous that AIPAC had to attach a separate spreadsheet to its return [.pdf]. This large group of donors represented the majority (56 percent) of AIPAC’s total claimed direct public support. If we assume AIPAC had approximately 50,000 paying members that year, the rest gave $464 each for a total of $50,920,792 in public support.
      According to the special IRS release of AIPAC’s 2009 Schedule B [.pdf] there were only two $5,000-plus donors. Donor number one gave $48,842,187. Donor number two chipped in $13,503,472. This means small donors contributed only $2,261,755 for total year 2009 public support of $64,607,414. The IRS confirms that there is no additional 2009 spreadsheet attachment of $5,000-plus donors as in 2006. AIPAC is now telling the IRS that it has only two meaningful donors.
      There have been many reasons for smaller givers to bail out on AIPAC, leaving a pair of committed donors to carry all the weight. AIPAC, like any corporation, wants to chart a steadily increasing line of total revenues because any crisis-driven decline could weaken its brand and perceived power. But the years since 2006 have been rocky. Two former AIPAC officials narrowly escaped a long-awaited espionage prosecution, which was mysteriously tossed out by the Obama administration in 2009 after years of pre-trial escalation. Many AIPAC donors probably didn’t have the stomach or risk-tolerance to donate to an organization that nurtured and then threw overboard top employees in order to save itself from an espionage indictment.
      In 2009, former AIPAC official Steven J. Rosen noisily filed a $20 million defamation lawsuit against AIPAC and its board of directors. 2009 marked the year an ongoing campaign was launched to have AIPAC return to its roots by re-registering as an agent of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, rather than continue to operate as a domestic American lobby and “social welfare” organization. In 2010, AIPAC’s tax exempt status was also challenged. These concerns could have been sufficient to drive away scores of AIPAC’s key base of $5,000-plus donors. AIPAC’s signature Washington gathering in May 2011 had a Potemkin village feel to it. Many attendees interviewed by Max Blumenthal seemed woefully uninformed about the issues. Many hundreds of others, including student leaders, attended only after receiving heavy travel subsidies.
      If the threat of Rosen walking away with $20 million was enough to keep small donors at bay in the recent past, it will likely remain that way for a few more years. On June 20, 2011, Rosen filed a brief [.pdf] and a 629-page addendum in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. Rosen explains why within the AIPAC corporate culture it was defamatory for his former employers to characterize his attempts to gather and use classified intelligence on Iran as not comporting with “standards that AIPAC expects of its employees.” Rosen has even filed a “smoking gun” [.pdf] July 21, 2004, email updating AIPAC director Howard Kohr on U.S. intelligence obtained about Iran and details of Rosen’s early use of classified U.S. secrets to derail Jesse Jackson’s political career. Rosen’s lawsuit will not only elevate insider concerns that AIPAC donor funds may soon be paid out as damage awards, but also raise the larger and more public governance questions about why AIPAC has never been indicted for espionage or theft of government property as a corporation, given what has now been so thoroughly documented in court.
      As Americans nervously ponder their representatives’ travel plans and AIPAC’s nonstop lobbying for American economic and clandestine warfare on Israel’s enemies, they must ask other serious questions. Who are the two people now providing the lion’s share of AIPAC’s funding? As long-time Washington Report on Middle East Affairs editor Janet McMahon revealed during the May 2011 Move Over AIPAC conference, it’s not clear what percentage of AIPAC’s donations come from American contributors and sources. Given AIPAC’s influential leadership role at the head of a network of stealth political action committees it helped establish in the 1980s, will AIPAC’s concentrated pool of core donors channel ever more extreme candidate guidance [.pdf] to the people who really count come election day, i.e., single-issue pro-Israel campaign contributors? What do the big AIPAC donors dispatching 20 percent of Congress to Israel think about trip-wiring the U.S. into an unwarranted military conflict with Iran? Americans should ask themselves whether any two people should have so much influence on U.S. Middle East policy.

  4. #3
    Israeli pol says Jews can talk about the lobby like blacks can use the n-word

    Philip Weiss on November 1, 2013

    Here are two recent reports about the Israel lobby, suggesting that the subject is getting more and more into the mainstream discourse, but with a lot of resistance.
    Earlier this week, former British foreign secretary Jack Straw made news when he said that unlimited AIPAC money in the US political system is an obstacle to peace. He told Israeli media that he based his critique on Walt and Mearsheimer’s classic book on the subject of the lobby.
    Straw, responding Monday in an e-mail to The Jerusalem Post’s Henry Rome, noted that his comments about AIPAC ’s influence on US policy are essentially based on Mearsheimer’s and Walt’s book. Straw also notes that in his 2012 memoir Last Man Standing he quotes in pages 445- 447 from these two men’s “critical study of AIPAC .”
    Some Israelis regarded Straw’s comments as anti-Semitic, Anschel Pfeffer reports in Haaretz.
    on Sunday, a number of Israeli newspapers and websites… published stories on the former foreign minister’s “anti-Semitic tirade,” saying that he had accused “Jewish money” of perverting American foreign policy.
    Straw probably didn’t believe his ears when he was told what Israeli newspapers were writing about him; no British paper thought there was anything worth reporting. Finally on Monday, his office released a statement where Straw insisted: “I am not remotely anti-Semitic. Quite the reverse. I have all my life strongly supported the state of Israel, and its right to live in peace and security,” and reiterated the points he had made in the debate. In conclusion he wrote, “none of this is ‘anti-Semitic.’ There are plenty of people in Israel who take a similar view to me – not least (as I do) because they believe that the current approach of the Government of Israel will weaken the position of the state of Israel in the medium and long-term.”
    Straw’s comments were first reported by an Israeli politician, Einat Wilf, who participated in a British roundtable then went on Facebook in anger. Pfeffer asked Wilf what was anti-Semitic about Straw’s statement.
    I asked, did Straw say the words “Jewish money”? She confirmed that he did not and said she was not responsible for the newspapers writing it.
    Pfeffer: But what is the problem with AIPAC and other Jewish organizations donating large sums of money to pro-Israeli candidates? I asked her. … Israeli newspapers talk very freely of Israel’s influence in the U.S., and I have even heard advisors to Israel’s prime minister talk about it off the record, so why is Straw in your opinion peddling a classic image of anti-Semitism? “That’s different,” she said. “It’s like two black men calling each other ‘******’ which is not right but it’s not racism.”
    So apparently, according to Wilf, only Jews are allowed to speak of the effect lobbying and political donations have on U.S. policy in the Middle East.
    Others have used that term, Jewish money; Seymour Hersh for example. Because, as I noted earlier today, Jewish wealth is widely confused with pro-Israel wealth– because the two communities overlap so broadly, and because Israel supporters brag on Jewish wealth. Shmuley Boteach talks about Cory Booker meeting “wealthy donors” at his events; a Jewish cultural festival shuts out participants who are critical of Birthright/Israel because its “funders” support Birthright; a Jewish stage in Washington cancels a Nakba play because of donors’ pressure. It’s hard to say where the Jewish community stops and Zionism begins. (And Tom Friedman says that with AIPAC’s support, a candidate need only make three phone calls to raise the amount of money it would take 50,000 calls to raise.)
    More on the lobby from foreign-policy blogger Max Fisher in the Washington Post. Fisher pooh-poohs the power of the lobby, saying that when AIPAC supported an unpopular cause, bombing Syria, it lost. Its power derives from the fact that its cause, Israel, is usually popular, Fisher alleges.
    Critics of the right-leaning, pro-Israel group often refer to it simply as “The Lobby,” as if it were so powerful that other lobbyist organizations hardly even mattered. It’s not considered especially controversial to suggest that the group plays a major role in shaping U.S. policy toward the Middle East.
    AIPAC’s influence is thought to be strongest in Congress, where support for pro-Israeli policies is indeed bipartisan and passionately held. Its membership is thought to include lots of Washington power-brokers and heavy-hitters, the types who, in the common telling, pull all the hidden levers of American governance and foreign policy. So when AIPAC began lobbying on behalf of Obama’s Syria strike plan, many assumed it was a done deal, particularly since the administration most needed help in Congress, turf AIPAC knows well…
    Typically, though, AIPAC has public opinion on its side; in this case, it very much did not.
    The problems with Max Fisher’s claims are first, the lobby isn’t covered openly by the media. As Jack Straw is discovering in England, it’s been considered anti-Semitic to speak of anything that seems to raise the issue of Jewish influence. The Washington Post hasn’t covered Walt and Mearsheimer’s thesis in any depth and it rarely refers to the lobby. If “AIPAC [is] typically portrayed as the most shadowy and powerful” of all lobbies, as Fisher says, why isn’t the Post doing stories on it every day?
    He is right that in this instance, the papers did at last cover AIPAC on Syria, because Obama called on AIPAC to work for him against the popular will. But Democrats were coming out against AIPAC on the question, and it did not touch on Israel per se. The matter was alot like Republican Steve Largent and Democrat Bill Clinton joining forces against the Cuba lobby on the Elian Gonzalez case: the facts were so extreme (a boy taken from his father), they knew they could get the American public’s support.
    But settlements in the West Bank have been disastrous policy for decades, and the press doesn’t cover AIPAC’s work in that case. Because it’s treated as a matter of Israel’s security.
    This case marked a new terrain for AIPAC, and that’s a great thing. Maybe Americans will finally get to debate whether they want to support racially-based apartheid?

  5. #4
    1776 > 1984

    The FAILURE of the United States Government to operate and maintain an
    Honest Money System , which frees the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, is the single largest contributing factor to the World's current Economic Crisis.

    The Elimination of Privacy is the Architecture of Genocide

    Belief, Money, and Violence are the three ways all people are controlled

    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Our central bank is not privately owned.

  6. #5
    Stephen M. Walt
    Professor of International Affairs, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government

    AIPAC Is the Only Explanation for America's Morally Bankrupt Israel Policy

    Posted: 07/22/2014 1:59 pm EDT Updated: 07/23/2014 6:59 pm EDT

    The official name for Israel's latest assault on Gaza is "Operation Protective Edge." A better name would be "Operation Déjà Vu." As it has on several prior occasions, Israel is using weapons provided by U.S. taxpayers to bombard the captive and impoverished Palestinians in Gaza, where the death toll now exceeds 500. As usual, the U.S. government is siding with Israel, even though most American leaders understand Israel instigated the latest round of violence, is not acting with restraint, and that its actions make Washington look callous and hypocritical in the eyes of most of the world.

    This Orwellian situation is eloquent testimony to the continued political clout of AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) and the other hardline elements of the Israel lobby. There is no other plausible explanation for the supine behavior of the U.S. Congress--including some of its most "progressive" members--or the shallow hypocrisy of the Obama administration, especially those officials known for their purported commitment to human rights.
    The immediate cause of this latest one-sided bloodletting was the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli hikers in the occupied West Bank, followed shortly thereafter by the kidnapping and fatal burning of a Palestinian teenager by several Israelis. According to J.J. Goldberg's reporting in the Jewish newspaper Forward, the Netanyahu government blamed Hamas for the kidnappings without evidence and pretended the kidnapped Israelis were still alive for several weeks, even though there was evidence indicating the victims were already dead. It perpetrated this deception in order to whip up anti-Arab sentiment and make it easier to justify punitive operations in the West Bank and Gaza.
    And why did Netanyahu decide to go on another rampage in Gaza? As Nathan Thrall of the International Crisis Group points out, the real motive is neither vengeance nor a desire to protect Israel from Hamas' rocket fire, which has been virtually non-existent over the past two years and is largely ineffectual anyway. Netanyahu's real purpose was to undermine the recent agreement between Hamas and Fatah for a unity government. Given Netanyahu's personal commitment to keeping the West Bank and creating a "greater Israel," the last thing he wants is a unified Palestinian leadership that might press him to get serious about a two-state solution. Ergo, he sought to isolate and severely damage Hamas and drive a new wedge between the two Palestinian factions.
    Behind all these maneuvers looms Israel's occupation of Palestine, now in its fifth decade. Not content with having ethnically cleansed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in 1948 and 1967 and not satisfied with owning eighty-two percent of Mandatory Palestine, every Israeli government since 1967 has built or expanded settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem while providing generous subsidies to the 600,000-plus Jews who have moved there in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Two weeks ago, Netanyahu confirmed what many have long suspected: he is dead set against a two-state solution and will never--repeat never--allow it to happen while he is in office. Given that Netanyahu is probably the most moderate member of his own Cabinet and that Israel's political system is marching steadily rightward, the two-state solution is a gone goose.
    Worst of all, the deaths of hundreds more Palestinians and a small number of Israelis will change almost nothing. Hamas is not going to disband. When this latest round of fighting ends, the 4.4 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza will still be Israel's de facto prisoners and still be denied basic human rights. But they are not going to leave, mainly because Palestine is their homeland, but also because they have nowhere to go, especially given the turmoil in other parts of the Middle East.
    Eventually another ceasefire will be negotiated. The dead will be buried, the wounded will recover, the tunnels now being destroyed will be rebuilt, and Hamas will replenish its stockpile of missiles and rockets. The stage will then be set for another round of fighting, and Israel will have moved further down the road to becoming a full-fledged apartheid state.
    Meanwhile, U.S. politicians and policymakers continue to back a brutal military campaign whose primary purpose is not to defend Israel but rather to protect its longstanding effort to colonize the West Bank. Amazingly, they continue to support Israel unreservedly even though every U.S. president since Lyndon Johnson has opposed Israel's settlements project, and the past three American presidents--Clinton, Bush and Obama--have all worked hard for the two-state solution that Israeli policy has now made impossible.
    "The explanation for America's impotent and morally bankrupt policy is the political clout of the Israel lobby."

    Yet as soon as fighting starts, and even if Israel instigates it, AIPAC demands that Washington march in lockstep with Tel Aviv. Congress invariably rushes to pass new resolutions endorsing whatever Israel decides to do. Even though it is mostly Palestinians who are dying, White House officials rush to proclaim that Israel has "the right to defend itself," and Obama himself won't go beyond expressing "concern" about what is happening. Of course Israelis have the right to defend themselves, but Palestinians not only have the same right, they have the right to resist the occupation. To put this another way, Israel does not have the right to keep its Palestinian subjects in permanent subjugation. But try finding someone on Capitol Hill who will acknowledge this simple fact.
    The explanation for America's impotent and morally bankrupt policy is the political clout of the Israel lobby. Barack Obama knows that if he were to side with the Palestinians in Gaza or criticize Israel's actions in any way, he would face a firestorm of criticism from the lobby and his chances of getting Congressional approval for a deal with Iran would evaporate.
    Similarly, every member of the House and Senate--including progressives like Senator Elizabeth Warren--knows that voting for those supposedly "pro-Israel" resolutions is the smart political move. They understand that even the slightest display of independent thinking on these issues could leave them vulnerable to a well-funded opponent the next time they're up for re-election. At a minimum, they'll have to answer a flood of angry phone calls and letters, and, on top of that, they are likely to be blackballed by some of their Congressional colleagues. The safer course is to mouth the same tired litanies about alleged "shared values" between Israel and the U.S. and wait till the crisis dies down. And people wonder why no one respects Congress anymore.
    To be sure, the lobby's clout is not as profound as it once was. Public discourse about Israel, U.S. policy toward Israel and the lobby itself has changed markedly in recent years, and a growing number of journalists, bloggers and pundits--such as Andrew Sullivan, Juan Cole, Peter Beinart, M.J. Rosenberg, Max Blumenthal, Phyllis Bennis, Bernard Avishai, Sara Roy, Mitchell Plitnick, David Remnick, Phil Weiss and even (occasionally) Thomas Friedman of the New York Times--are willing to speak and write candidly about what is happening in the Middle East. Although most Americans openly support Israel's existence--just as I do--their sympathy for an Israel that acts more like Goliath than David is fading. The ranks of the skeptics include a growing number of younger American Jews, who find little to admire and much to dislike in Israel's actions and who are far less devoted to it than were previous generations. Pro-peace groups such as J Street and Jewish Voice for Peace reflect that trend and show that opinion among American Jews is far from unified.

    More at:

  7. #6
    IO controversy seems like a replay of JS controversy:

    Storm over Jack Straw 'hate' remarks
    Oct 31, 2013 - Her comments were picked up by Israeli newspapers, which interpreted Mr Straw's remarks as an “antisemitic diatribe”.

    Former UK foreign minister hits back at Israeli "anti-Semitism" smear ...
    Oct 28, 2013 - Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said today there was “no justification whatever” for Israeli reports he had made anti-Semitic.


    Jack Straw: Haunted by the Iraq war?
    Britain's former foreign secretary discusses the official UK investigation into the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
    04 Jun 2016

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