“No, I’m Not Going To Start Using ‘ Israel Firster’ Again
I know that was the first thought on many reader’s minds when they heard that I am leaving Media Matters. “That means MJ can start using the term ‘Israel Firsters” again.”
But Media Matters never told me not to use the term. In fact, Media Matters never censored me in any way, shape or form.
I stopped using “Israel Firsters” because the term was inaccurate. The people I called “Israel Firsters” do not, in fact, put Israel first. I worked at AIPAC. I know those people. They put AIPAC first.
Same with the other “pro-Israel” organizations, all of which are fighting to maintain their overblown budgets despite being mastodons, relics of an ancient past.
How else could executive directors at AIPAC, American Jewish Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, and a few of the other like-minded groups pay themselves $500,000 salaries?
Throwing their weight around in Washington, in addition to ensuring that the U.S. never says “no” to Netanyahu (or Shamir, Barak, Sharon, Olmert or whoever) also is a great fund-raising device.
Big donors are impressed when they see, over and over again, just how powerful the lobby is. That is why every AIPAC conference is accompanied by a demand that Congress endorse some one-sided AIPAC bill on Israel or now Iran. It dispatches its minions to Capitol Hill to demand that legislators co-sponsor the AIPAC-drafted vehicle. Congress does and AIPAC can then say to the big bucks boys: “See we can get whatever we want from Congress.”
Impressed, the donors give more and more and pretty soon AIPAC has an eight story building overlooking the Capitol.
So it is unlikely I will use the term “Israel Firster” again any time soon. However, I will continue to point out here and in all my other outlets that U.S. policy in the Middle East is dictated by a lobby that uses the threat of withholding campaign contributions to keep both the White House and Congress in line, i.e. backing Netanyahu and screwing both the Israeli and Palestinian people.
That same dynamic is pushing us to either bomb Iran or to back Israel if it chooses to bomb that country.
In short, the people I used to call Israel Firsters are anything but. The occupation is deadly for Israel. And war with Iran would be a nightmare.
The President knows that and so does the Congress but, given the current campaign finance system, they can’t do anything about it. Or won’t.
They need us to tell them that we know exactly what is going on. That is what the neocons are so afraid of. That is why they went ballistic over “Israel Firster.”
Americans are beginning to figure it out. For America’s sake, for Israel’s, Palestine’s, Iran’s and the whole world, we need to get a move on. Time is passing. War is looming although, to be honest, thanks to all our efforts, things are looking a little better. Iran will not be another Iraq. This time, we know the game the neocons are playing.