From Stephen Sniegorski;
According to the critics, John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, in their “The Israel Lobby,” much exaggerated the power of the lobby. The critics claimed that congressional support for Israel simply reflected the views of the American people. Congress’ recent resolution on Gaza, however, would seem to belie this criticism and underscore the immense power of the Israel Lobby.
Congress almost unanimously endorsed the Israeli mass killing of civilians in the Gaza Strip, which, of course, involves the use of American weapons. By voice vote, the Senate gave unanimous support for the resolution.
The House of Representatives voted 390 for the resolution with only 5 against [Kucinich, Moore (WI), Paul, Rahall, Waters]
The view of the American public, however, was significantly different. As the following article points out, the American people “do not support this senseless slaughter in anything near overwhelming numbers.” [Quoting from a Rasmussen Poll]
“Americans, while far more sympathetic to Israel than the Palestinians, are closely divided over whether the Jewish state should be taking military action against militants in the Gaza Strip. Forty-four percent (44%) say Israel should have taken military action against the Palestinians, but 41% say it should have tried to find a diplomatic solution to the problems there...” [Source: Rasmussen Reports, Dec. 31, 2008]
The author continues: “If 41% of Americans didn't support the onset of military action, surely fewer than that support the disproportionate murder of over 700 people. Yet, 89.6% of our representatives just voted to express our government's support for this crime. Less than one percent of the House voted 'no'.”
The author wonders, rather pretends to wonder, “How did we get to this point where there is such a massive distortion and disconnect between what the public thinks and how their representatives vote? That's a matter for speculation.”
Let’s engage in a little “speculation.” Despite a media which has slanted coverage of Gaza about as much as possible in favor of Israel (totally different from what the rest of the world is getting), the American public is roughly divided on the issue of the correctness of the Israeli attack. That Congress provides almost unanimous support for Israel (even when such support is contrary of American national interest since it increases world hatred of the US) would seem to indicate the power of the Israel Lobby.
Very few of those Americans who oppose the Israeli attack on Gaza base their political support and voting on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, and even those few who do lack the wherewithal to make much of a political impact. In contrast, the Israel Lobby can exert considerable power (money, media) against those members of Congress who oppose it. Since members of Congress, in the main, tend to be lacking in sincere conviction and political courage, they are not willing to take the chance of opposing the Israel Lobby. Of course, the same is true in the media—bucking the lobby is simply not career enhancing. The vast majority of people simply prefer career success in the media or politics as opposed to becoming a martyr—especially a martyr who might be smeared as a devil by the pro-Israel saturated media.
Average Americans don’t sacrifice much by taking a position opposed to Israel—certainly, in most cases, their jobs do not depend on their views of Israeli policy.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
From Stephen Sniegorski;