I’m sitting here with a bottle of Padre Kino red, listening to a burro honk outside and trying to figure out Israel and AIPAC and life itself. It’s hard going, I tell you.
Why is everybody mad at AIPAC? Everybody, I mean, everybody that’s heard of it, which means maybe five percent of Americans. Apackers are simply patriots, earnestly trying to do the best they can for their country, which isn’t the United States. I’d do the same thing, if I were one of them. I mean, everybody buys Congress—big pharma, the military companies, the teachers unions, anybody that wants anything pays Congress to do what it wants if it has enough money. I’m surprised they don’t have advertised sales. I guess AIPAC can buy them too.
Why aren’t people mad at Congress instead, which does what The Lobby tells it to? AIPAC isn’t supposed to be concerned about the good of the US. Congress is, and isn’t.
What I reckon is: AIPAC figures it’s helping Israel, but I gotta suspect it may be Israel’s worst enemy. Think about it. Israel is a tiny little country in a bad neighborhood. Everybody where it is hates it. Greater Israel is full of Hay-rabs that hate it, and getting fuller. Does this sound like a recipe for a happy ending?
I remember what a friend said about Phnom Penh during the siege: “It’s hopeless but not critical.”
You’d figure under those circumstances the Israelis would go back in the ’67 borders, try their damndest to get along with the people next door, and thus stay Jewish, which was the point of the thing in the first place. It’s probably their only shot. But they aren’t going to do it.
No. They gotta bomb everybody they can reach, and keep building apartments on Palestinian land, which is why Greater Israel has pretty much turned into South Africa or the US in 1930. Looks to me as if we’re gonna have fewer and fewer Israelis holding down more and more Hay-rabs so they’ll have to be meaner and meaner to do it until the whole shebang falls in. They want this?
Why does Israel do everything it can think of to make the whole world hate it? Because it can. Why can it? Because America is its enabler. Israel has a huge air force because America gives it airplanes. Nobody else would. Its economy stays afloat because America gives it money. If it wants to bomb somebody, the US keeps the world from stopping it. If it loses a war, which it did in ’73, the US bails it out. Israel can always say, “If you don’t like it, I’ll make my big brother beat you up.”
And that’s a bad thing, because one day the big brother may not come. Israelis might be better off with less help, so they’d have to learn to live where they are.
As best I can tell, AIPAC is all that makes the US pony up. If Israel got overrun tomorrow, most Americans would see it as less upsetting than a lost Super Bowl. They don’t hate Israel. They don’t even hate Jews. They just aren’t interested. Israel is like, you know, a foreign country, over there. Somewhere. “Huge Earthquake in Latvia.” Yeah, well. What’s on channel four?
Me, I’d be nervous if my country, and my house with my kids in it and my stereo and wine rack, depended on one lobby.
Now, will The Lobby ever lose its grip, or will the US ever stop saving Israel from itself? I don’t know. If I were an Israeli, I believe I’d rather avoid making the experiment. Certainly people talk about The Lobby more than they used to dare, and some major columnists have gotten kind of blunt about it. Pat Buchanan, Charlie Reese, Paul Craig Roberts, and such for example. On the other hand, most people don’t read columns and anyway, Congress is what counts, and it doesn’t have to do what people want.
Can anything shake AIPAC’s control in Washington? Yep. Money. Oil. Twelve dollar gas. The American public is the most clueless in the First World, but it knows the price of gas. So far, AIPAC has had an easy ride because Israel hasn’t really cost much: a few billion a year in aid, some vetoes in the UN, and a bunch of angry ragtops growling on their sand dunes. This doesn’t affect folks back in the district. You can do anything you want in Washington as long as people back home are comfortable.
However, it is worth remembering that Congress doesn’t like AIPAC, or Israel. It fears them. The moment Congress comes to fear people back home more than it does AIPAC, it will change sides.
Now, the US is not heading in happy directions. Economically, it was not so long ago the greatest creditor nation; today it is the greatest debtor. (The number-one creditor: China.) General Motors is tottering, closing factories and firing people as Japanese car-makers take over. Financial institutions crump to be bailed out by the government. Gas was at $4.50 yesterday in California. The country seems to be in an economic decline and hasn’t figured it out, sort of like a fifty-year –old man who thinks he’s nineteen. Economic decline eventually means military decline.
If Bush, Cheney, and AIPAC push the US into attacking Iran, God only knows what will happen. Bush, Cheney, and AIPAC don’t know. At least their record isn’t encouraging: They pushed the country into attacking Iraq, and look how that went. I’d call it Iranian roulette with about a two-shot revolver.
Even without Padre Kino it’s easy to imagine the region turning into an unparalleled mess with America having to back out because it just doesn’t have the army, and crazed Wahabis coming to power in Saudi Arabia, and OPEC, no longer afraid of the US and hating it, setting prices wherever it wants. Which probably wouldn’t be downward. How much do you trust in the mercy of Hugo Chavez?
If gas prices (and all prices dependent on petroleum) hit truly absurd highs, every voter in every congressional district will be screaming, along with all his cousins, dogs, cats, and blowup dolls, for cheap gas—and the heads of those responsible. If the choice ever becomes oil or Israel, then Israel will lose. I would think AIPAC would go to great lengths to prevent the choice from materializing. But no. It wants to attack Iran. As it wanted to attack Iraq. That’s how smart Apackers really are.
If there is anything that could ignite serious hostility to Jews in the US, methinks this is it. It would be something of a bum rap. Jews and AIPAC are not the same thing. I know all sorts of Jews who think attacking Iran is a fool idea.
Historically however Jews have been blamed for what they have done, what they could have done, what they might have done, what they didn’t do, and what they couldn’t possibly have done. Respectable voices begin to blame The Lobby for getting America into Iraq. (E.g., Michael Scheuer, the former CIA analyst.) The charge is only partly true: In a world in which the supply of oil is getting dicey, colonization of Iraq would give the US strategic control of lots of it. This, I promise, has occurred to Dick Cheney. But petro-strategic considerations are too complex for the public mind. “AIPAC did it!” is much simpler.
If I were Jewish, I would ask, “Is AIPAC really helping Israel by enabling its crazies to make war on everyone within reach while staring into the face of onrushing demographic self-mutilation?” But I’m just some Anglo in Mexico with a bottle of Padre Kino.