Lieberman has become a one issue Senator; Israeli policy and needs over our own
(Editor's Note The following opinion piece was written by Waterbury resident George Hajjar, Jr. Hajjar is a social worker and university lecturer, and spent several years in the Middle East studying and lecturing.)
During last year' s presidential election campaign, it was said that our top two concerns were the economy and the Middle East conflicts [Iraq, Afghanistan and the Arab-Israeli conflicts]. Actually, before the collapse of our stock and real estate markets, the Middle East conflicts, particularly the Bush administration's failed Iraq and Afghanistan policies, were our number one concerns.
Along these lines, intellectuals like former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair stated that the best way to reduce terrorism and security threats is to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Specifically, what they mean is that Israel must return just a fraction of the land, property and livelihoods that they took from the Palestinians through extreme violence and gross human rights violations over the past 60 years. If the Middle East conflicts headed by our engagement in Iraq are a major interest of ours, as buttressed our university students' great interest in Middle East studies, then why haven't these conflicts been resolved to our interest and that of the world?
There are many reasons why the Middle East conflicts have not been solved, but one reason reared its ugly head during the Obama vs. McCain presidential election in the form of Joe Lieberman. The Middle East conflicts have not been resolved due in part to Lieberman favoring hard-line Israeli interests and policy over our own interests and policies.
Lieberman is a biased and perhaps unethical politician when it comes to his Israel first favoritism and personal interests, even when they are at odds with our Middle East, international and constituent supported policies. Last we checked, Israel is a foreign state and Lieberman is supposed to be a Connecticut focused Senator.
To begin with, let's think back eighteen years, to 1990 when George H. W. Bush was considering invading Iraq. Expert military analysts and other specialists warned that if the U.S. engaged in a war in Iraq the U.S. could very well suffer 55,000 soldier deaths.
Despite this and our real fear and concern Lieberman was the first to come forward telling us everything would be okay, even though he knew full well what the experts were stating about the possible loss of American lives. Why did Lieberman take this position?
Simple, it was in Israel's interest that the US attack Iraq, as Israel has claimed for decades that Iraq was its worst and most hated enemy. Lieberman in no way had a crystal ball that told him few Americans would die in Iraq, yet he was more than willing to offer and risk our soldiers' lives for Israel's benefit. Secondly, let's be honest. There is an Israeli-Arab conflict going on and Lieberman certainly favors the Jewish state. The issue here is not that Lieberman is Jewish by faith, but rather that he supports Israel unequivocally, even though Israel is one of the international community's least law abiding, poorly behaved states in the world.
Israel is in violation of dozens of U.N resolutions, Articles of the Geneva Convention, The Hague Agreement, human rights laws and illegal use of cluster bombs and chemical weapons on civilians. The other problem is that Lieberman is supposed to be an Connecticut senator whose agenda and focus should mostly be domestic American issues.
While there are some Jewish Americans who protest Israeli crimes, these groups do not have adequate political power to make change in Israeli policy, and Lieberman is certainly not one of these individuals anyway. The days where US politicians are to be honest, unbiased international peace brokers are long gone with the likes of Lieberman, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, Douglas Feith, Rahm Emanual, Dennis Ross, Sandy Berger, Martin Indyk and other powerful Jewish American politicians who favor Israeli interests over our own.
For example Douglas Feith's education was in Russian studies and law. However, he managed to become our Under Secretary of Defense for Policy for United States President George W. Bush from July 2001 until he resigned from his position on August 8, 2005. An assistant of Feith's, Larry Franklin, was convicted, and sentenced to 12 years in Federal prison in 2005 for charges in an espionage for Israel scandal which also led to Feith's resignation. Franklin was convicted of giving classified information. to an Israeli diplomat and Steven Rosen, an employee of the Israeli AIPAC lobby.
In this role as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Feith had a great deal to do with steering U.S. Middle East policy to completely favor Israeli needs. Feith worked harder that anyone else pushing the U.S. into the now failed Iraq war.
Feith served on the board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), a think tank that promotes a military and strategic alliance between the United States and Israel. Feith was one of 18 founding members of the organization One Jerusalem to oppose the U.S. sponsored Oslo peace agreement. He is also Director of Foundation for Jewish Studies. According to the long-running Washington newsletter, The Nelson Report, edited by Christopher Nelson, quoting an anonymous source, Feith was presenting at a 2003 interagency 'Principals' Meeting' debate on the Middle East, and ended with his remarks on behalf of the Pentagon. Then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said, "Thanks Doug, but when we want the Israeli position we'll invite the ambassador."
Take the example of Richard Pearle, a U.S. government politician and lobbyist. He has been referred to as "the Prince of Darkness" and has been accused of being an Israel advocate at the expense the U.S. It has been reported that while he was working for our government, "An FBI summary of a 1970 wiretap recorded Perle discussing classified information with someone at the Israeli embassy," writes Paul Findley (They Dare To Speak Out, Chicago, Ill, Lawrence Hill Books 1989)." He came under fire in 1983 when newspapers reported he received substantial payments to represent the interests of an Israeli weapons company: Perle admitted that he received payment for these services after he had assumed his position in the Defense Department, but said he was between government jobs when he worked for the Israeli firm. According to former national security advisor, Brent Scrowcroft "I don't think Perle gives a shit about democracy. Fundamentally, it's all a means to an end." Former Secretary of State Colin Powell stated of Perle "We used to have major problems when Richard would wander off the farm and be caught doing things that were not consistent with the policies." These profiles go on and on for each and everyone of the above listed men.
Getting back to Lieberman's preference for Israeli policy and interests is his complete lack of criticism of Israeli settler, politician and soldier behavior.
These Israelis have been indicted for hideous human rights abuses against civilians, which Lieberman is well aware of, yet never has he been constructively critical of Israel ever. Israel's former chairman of the Commission on Human Rights and Abuse, the late Israel Shahak called Israel's treatment of the Palestinians "Hitlerian." Even Israel's Association for Civil Rights and its human rights organization, Bt'selem, consider Israel's treatment of Palestinian civilians as worse than apartheid. It is clear to the world now that Israel's murderous attack on Gaza had nothing to do with self defense.
Israeli has starved and attacked Gaza for decades and did so intensively for the past few years in order to make its pre-planned invasion easier. Israeli analysts themselves admit that Israeli politicians, who are up for election, wanted to raise their popularity in the polls, reverse their perceived defeat in Lebanon in 2006, exercise their military in live situations and get away with massacres between U.S. presidential terms. Don't expect Joe Lieberman to raise concern about any of this.
Lieberman hasn't even criticized Israel for spying on us, a practice that harms our homeland security, a committee post for which Lieberman is the chairman, and continues till this very day, despite the billions of US dollars we send Israel each year. By not criticizing Israel for this, more than anything else, proves Lieberman is an Israel first favortist.
Moreover is the issue of Lieberman's' total disrespect for the Democratic Party who has supported him generously for over two decades and made him a multi-millionaire to boot. After being defeated by Ned Lamont because of his selfish willingness to risk our soldiers' lives in Iraq, Lieberman took his Israel first interest on the road and became an independent and raised more money outside of the state of Connecticut than from within. Isn't Lieberman supposed to be a Connecticut senator? Lieberman even publicly called his colleagues in the house and senate cowards just because they wanted to eventually withdraw from Iraq and proceed with caution about attacking Iran. Israel was the only nation in the world that wanted more US involvement in Iraq and a US attack on Iran. Lieberman was right there with them. While top experts of the American Foreign Policy Project strongly urge us to take a different approach to Iran and Iraq, Lieberman and Israel want us to continue to attack both.
Lastly, Lieberman was so afraid that President Elect Obama's promise of change would include US policy on the Middle East that he supplied and supported the John McCain campaign with every underhanded trick possible in order to defeat Obama. For example, Lieberman approved of smear campaigns depicting Obama as a radical Muslim, a radical Christian, and even as Moses in order to discredit Obama. If Lieberman can question Obama's loyalty to the US as he did, then why can't we call into question his Israel first favoritism?
Lieberman traveled the globe campaigning with McCain on Ct. taxpayer's time, which reeks of ethics violations. Lieberman even teamed up with radical/weirdo Christian pastor John Hagee, simply because this nut supported taking more Palestinian land out from under their feet and because of his theological pandering to Israel, which again supports Lieberman's needs. John Hagee even went as far to state that God sent Hitler to attack the Jews of Europe because he wanted them to return to Palestine. Despite this despicable statement, Lieberman continued to cozy up to Hagee.
The U.S. and U.N. policy calls for a two state solution of the Israel Palestinian conflict, however Hagee wants the Palestinians expelled from their own homes in mass and replaced by Jews, which appears to be more to Lieberman's liking. The reasons Lieberman supported McCain was because McCain talked about continuing to attack Iraq, wanted to attack Iran, and Lieberman hoped to become our next Secretary of Defense where he could act out his favoritism for Israel while threatening to attack the rest of the Middle East. Lieberman should have been kicked out of the Democratic Caucus not only because of his disgraceful tactics on behalf of the McCain campaign, but because he is supposed to concentrate his work on Connecticut taxpayers and not favor unlawful Israeli policy and interests over our own.