Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Freedom’s Watch and “Strong Supporters of Israel”

Jim Lobe

In an article that expands our knowledge base about the anything-but-grassroots “Freedom’s Watch” (about which I have posted here and here), Paul Kane and Jonathan Weisman wrote about its ambitions — among other things, to raise $250 million this year to become the right-wing answer to MoveOn.org — in the Washington Post Sunday. The article noted that the group, after focusing its initial work on Iraq and Middle East policy, is now running “aggressively negative anti-illegal-immigration ads” on behalf of Republican candidates.

As has been previously reported, the group was conceived at a meeting last March of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) and the Post article tends to confirm the notion that it is a kind of RJC project. But, apart from the article’s substance, what I found most provocative about the article was one particular paragraph toward the end in which the authors wrote: “Many in Freedom [sic] Watch’s donor base — including [multi-billionaire Sheldon] Adelson, the chairman and chief executive of the Last Vegas Sands Corp. [about whom the New York Times published a profile just last week] and [former Amb. Mel] Sembler, the strip-mall magnate from St. Petersburg, Fla. — have always been strong supporters of Israel. The group’s initial ad blitz in defense of Bush’s troops buildup in Iraq came naturally out of those interests.” I found this paragraph compelling for two reasons.

First, the latter sentence makes a connection that the mainstream media has almost entirely ignored and that remains somewhat taboo — the connection between the Iraq War and “support” for Israel . (I have long contended that, along with the kind of global geo-strategic thinking that first came to public attention in the leaked 1992 draft Defense Planning Guidance (DPG) overseen by then-Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Paul Wolfowitz, and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the main impetus for war — at least, for the neo-conservatives around Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld both inside and outside the administration — was tilting the balance of power in the Middle East decisively in favor of Israel.) Unfortunately, having asserted this very controversial — if rarely voiced — connection, the Post article does not elaborate precisely how Freedom’s Watch’s backing for the “Surge” arose from its “support” for Israel. It’s as if the Post believes that the connection is common knowledge and that no further explanation is needed. Yet the Post, like other mainstream media, has never made clear what the connection between support for Israel and the Iraq War is.

(Continued here.)


Anonymous Rebeca said...

During August, hundreds of people were killed in indiscriminate attacks in many parts of the Iraq. The hundreds of civilian casualties, in addition to major property losses, illustrated that the war in Iraq is far from over for the people who live there and the many foreign troops and mercenaries still fighting there more than six years after the invasion.

5:40 AM  

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