By Justin Raimondo
Editorial note: What follows is the text of a speech delivered at the MidCoast Forum on Foreign Relations in Rockport, Maine, on April 21, 2008. Click here for Part 1.
"Bush caved. Shortly after the Lobby launched its campaign against the White House, Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer announced that the president believed Sharon was "a man of peace" – this, as Powell returned to Washington in defeat and the IDF continued to occupy Palestinian lands, in defiance of Washington.
The Lobby kept up the pressure on Bush, relentlessly pushing Congress and mobilizing its supporters in the streets. A huge rally was held in Washington: Netanyahu, Republican congressional leaders, House Minority leader Dick Gephardt, and Paul Wolfowitz spoke. The latter was booed when he dared mention the suffering of the Palestinians. Netanyahu made a well-publicized visit to Congress in mid-April, where he met with 40 senators and lobbied them to override the administration's objections and pass a resolution in support of the Israelis. Arafat was condemned, "solidarity with Israel" reasserted, and a congressional delegation on a visit to Israel held a press conference and asked Bush to stop pressuring the Israelis to negotiate with Arafat. The coup de grace was delivered by the House appropriations committee, which was considering an extra $200 million for Israel in order to fight terrorism. Bush tried to stop it and Powell took the lead in opposing it, but to no avail: it passed overwhelmingly, and a reluctant Bush signed the bill.........
The U.S. – which has no compunction about pressuring client countries to toe the line – has not done so with Israel. Quite the opposite: it is the U.S. that has toed the Israeli line, and that is due entirely to the power of the Israeli lobby – in Congress, in the political parties, in the Washington think tanks, and in the media. I have taken the example of the Palestinian problem as an example of how the Israel lobby distorts American foreign policy and turns the policymaking process against the very purposes it was meant to accomplish – advancing the national interest. Yet this distortion takes places on a much wider scale, not just in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, but also when it came to the Iraq war, our policy toward Iran, our relations with Syria, and virtually every issue of consequence in the region."