Security Issues Project
The following is a revised version of a May 10, 2007 talk that Ronald Bleier gave at a conference on U.S. Middle East Policy at LaGuardia Community College.
by Ronald Bleier
Good morning. My name is Ronald Bleier and I’m delighted to be invited to LaGuardia Community College to discuss the very important topic of the influence of the Lobby on U.S. Middle East Policy. When we speak of the Israel Lobby in the context of a debate on its influence, we are referring to its power to direct U.S. policy against its national interest. If the Lobby were not working against the perceived interest of the United States, then, as analysts John Mearshimer and Stephen Walt write, there would be no need for a Lobby.
Mearshimer and Walt (see below), define the Lobby as a “convenient short hand term for a loose coalition of individuals and organizations that actively work to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro Israeli direction.“ I think this is a good definition to which I will only add a discussion of the role played by the grassroots, the fervent and reliable foot soldiers of the Lobby.
The key positions of the opposing sides of the debate about whether or not the Lobby works against the U.S. interest are well known. On the one hand there are those who feel it is inaccurate, ridiculous as well as anti Semitic to speak about the power of the Lobby or the power of Jews to influence U.S. policy. On the opposite side of the spectrum are those who believe that the Lobby is so powerful that it forced an unwilling or reluctant or naïve Bush administration to invade Iraq in 2003 and currently to threaten war against Iran.
My own position, perhaps similar to most of those who decry the power of the Lobby, is that it has played a devastating role in determining U.S. Middle East policy at least as far back as the post WWII period, Furthermore, I see the Lobby as indispensable enablers making possible a radical-nihilist Bush-Cheney regime bent on war and destabilization in the Middle East as part of their larger agenda of permanent war.
The Lobby has greased the wheels for the Iraq war. Without the Lobby and the compliant media and their supporters in and out of government, I don’t believe the Bush administration, even with Dick Cheney effectively at the helm, would have undertaken an unprovoked war against Iraq. On the other hand, even the Lobby, powerful as it is, could not have forced the Iraq war on a very different Gore administration.
The topic of the Lobby and the associated question of dual loyalty, which means loyalty to Israeli interests over and above the interests of the United States, has been largely taboo ever since the May 1948 founding of the state. Recently a breach has been made in the wall of silence due in large part to the courageous work of two highly respected professors, John J. Mearshimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen M. Walt, (former) academic dean of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Both are authors of several books on American political theory and practice from the perspective of the realist school.
The paper was originally commissioned in 2002 by the Atlantic Monthly which ultimately rejected it, many think, because of the power of the Lobby to maintain a taboo on the subject. Years later, in March 2006, the London Review of Books published their article. The heart of their argument is that due to its unwavering support of Israel, “the United States has adopted policies that jeopardized its own security in order to advance the interests of another state…” Even the Left, not to mention the powerful Harvard based Lobby attack dog Alan Dershowitz, assailed their thesis, many predictably accusing them of anti-Semitism.
A second major blow against the Lobby’s ability to curtail information and debate was President Jimmy Carter’s courageous decision to publish a book entitled, Palestine, Peace not Apartheid (2006). Once again, the usual suspects accused him of anti-Semitism, with Alan Dershowitz once again leading the charge. Nevertheless Carter’s book made it to the best seller lists and at least for a time aided in the struggle to create some space for discussion of this issue.
In an important and highly unusual 15 minutes of prime time debate in October 1988, Mike Wallace on CBS TV's 60 Minutes’ charged the Lobby with responsibility, or depending on how you see it, credited the Lobby with defeating congressmen Paul Findley (R-IL), Pete McCloskey (D-CA), Senators Harrison Schmitt (N.M.) Walter Huddleston of Kentucky, and Chuck Percy of Illinois. Since then others like Earl Hilliard of Alabama, Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, Gus Savage of Illinois have been likewise targeted and defeated and are no longer present to challenge the dominance of the Lobby’s power over Congress. In addition, every single president since Truman – even such presidents as Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and G.W. Bush who wished to stake out an independent Middle East policy have been forced to bow to the power of the Lobby on critical issues.
A quote from Senator Percy, who appeared on the “60 Minutes” program, makes clear why he was targeted.
I finally reached the stage where, as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, I saw our foreign policy totally turned around with a Moslem world – 800 million people – looking askance at the United States of America, what is happening, who is running foreign policy. Can Israel and the prime minister have more power than the entire Senate of the United States or the President of the United States?
Deputy Secretary of State George Ball, a longtime critic of the Lobby also appeared on the program. Ball replied to Senator Daniel Inouye who said that he “helps Israel every chance he gets [because] he’s convinced it’s in our [the U.S.’s] national interest.” Ball pointed out that Israel isn’t an ally of the U.S. “We have no alliance with it…They [the Israelis] insist on total freedom of action, and they insist on our subsidizing their freedom of action.”
Some of the examples of U.S. politicians targeted by the Lobby cited in the “60 Minutes” program include Senator Adlai E. Stevenson III, Democratic Congressman Mervyn W. Dymally (D-CA) and Republican Ed Zschau (CA). The latter was a strong supporter of Israel who dared to ask questions that might be seen as critical of U.S. support for Israel in a House Committee session. Afterwards the Lobby opposed him and he narrowly lost his bid for election to the U.S. Senate in 1987. Senator William Hathaway of Maine was pro-Israeli but not quite pro-Israeli enough. He was targeted by the Lobby and in 1978 lost his seat to William Cohen.
According to Andrew J. Hurley whose important book on the Lobby includes portions of the “60 Minutes” transcript, Senator William Fullbright’s illustrious 30-year Senate career was brought to an end by AIPAC in part because he was a believer in détente with the Soviets to the detriment of Israeli interests (emphasis in Hurley). The Lobby scorned him fearing that he lent respectability to the Arab cause. Even as he was up for re-election, Fullbright dared to speak his mind. He claimed that the U.S. Senate was subservient to and controlled by Israel. His defeat in 1974 was another high profile Lobby trophy and served to prove the accuracy of his analysis.
Interestingly, Rabbi Miller, the Vice President of AIPAC who defended his organization on the 60 Minutes program effectively conceded the point that U.S. politicians were defeated because of their attempts to forge a Middle East policy independent of AIPAC. Nevertheless, he argued that the power of the Lobby to shape U.S. policy was a myth: he said that was “baloney” that AIPAC had the power to make or break Congressional careers. Rabbi Miller argued that AIPAC is powerful only because the American people are behind Israel.
It’s quite true as Rabbi Miller says, that a large majority, perhaps an overwhelming majority, maybe 70% or more of the American public by my estimate, for a variety of reasons, is biased in favor of Israelis over the Arabs.
But only a tiny fraction of these grassroots pro-Israeli people, are Lobby activists. It’s the Lobby that “actively work[s] to shape U.S. foreign policy in a pro-Israeli direction.” A tiny number of activists directing Lobby policy would matter less if the few reflected the many. But often, on key issues like the war against Iraq, these Lobby activists represent the extreme right wing of the Israeli ruling elite and not the great majority of the rank and file. For example, most of my secular friends and family are passionately opposed to George W. Bush and his policies, especially the Iraq war. At the same time, they are strong supporters of Israel. If you were to ask some of these people, as I have done, if they see a connection between their support for Israel and Bush’s ability to pursue a war against Iraq, they would be confused. They wouldn’t understand such a question. Most express their full and unquestioning support of Israel. They don’t see Israel as an aggressive, oppressive state. They see Israel as beleaguered, attacked on all sides, especially by the media.
For example, even in the case of the entirely unprovoked and horrific Israeli war against Lebanon in 1982, the grassroots typically downplayed Israeli aggression and war crimes if they didn’t take the easier route of total denial. And lesser Israeli atrocities like Prime Minister Shimon Peres’s summer pre-election bombardment of Lebanon in 1994, or Sharon’s 2004 assassination of Hamas leader, wheelchair- bound Sheik Yassin, and a month later his successor, Abdel Aziz Rantisi, generally fly well below their radar. And to the extent Israel’s supporters are confronted with any unpleasant or critical information on Israeli policy toward the Arabs in the news, they tend reflexively to blame the media.
Thus the Lobby is empowered because most Jewish and Christian and other gentile supporters of Israel will fall into line and effectively support even the most oppressive and pitiless Israeli policies. If they are somehow made aware of some of the brutal and shocking details, they view Israeli actions as necessary for its defense. Atrocities against Muslims and Arabs are minimized, because in their worldview, “those people” aren’t humanized, and are often identified as enemies or terrorists. Similarly in any particular congressional or presidential race, supporters of Israel don’t generally see themselves voting to bolster the power of the Lobby. They vote for a politician and/or for the party they prefer. At election time, support for Israel is rarely an issue. Typically the grassroots correctly take for granted that the candidates they vote for also fully support Israel.
An example from my own personal history illuminates how author Ruth Gruber, a strong supporter of Israel and Zionism, but not an active member of the Lobby, works on their behalf. There follows a capsule review of selected incidents that reveal and define the power of the Lobby in several U.S. administrations.
Late in the course of WWII, President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed to accept about 1000 mostly Jewish refugees into the U.S. for temporary asylum. My parents, my brother and I were among these fortunate few. We traveled to the U.S. by ship from Italy to New York in August 1944.
A special hero of this story was Ruth Gruber, a young woman who had been working in the Interior Dept. As she relates in her book on the subject, Haven (1983), she bravely volunteered to be our liaison with the government, to join us in wartime Italy and to accompany us to the U.S.
In Haven, she gives some background as to how FDR made the decision to shelter 1,000 refugees. According to Gruber, President Roosevelt was forced into making some kind of demonstration on behalf of Jewish refugees because of the embarrassing publication of wartime cables from the U.S. Embassy in Switzerland to Washington relating to what later became known as the Holocaust. According to Gruber, in these documents, the State Department revealed its disinterest if not outright anti-Semitic hostility toward the Jewish victims of Nazi persecution by ordering their colleagues in Switzerland to discontinue sending Washington such news.
In Gruber’s version, the shocking disclosure of these communications empowered members of the Jewish community to apply to a reluctant and, she implies, anti-Semitic President Franklin Roosevelt, with a proposal to save hundreds of thousands of European Jews. In Gruber’s version, FDR watered down the proposal until only 1,000 refugees were granted haven in the U.S. 
I believed Gruber’s story and repeated it often to friends. Only later did I learn that the very opposite was the truth. The historical FDR was very much aware of and troubled by the plight of the wartime refugees and he proposed a plan to offer asylum to half a million or more. He envisioned an international agreement comprising such countries as the UK, Canada, Australia, and others, with the U.S. and the U.K. taking the lead by each taking in 150,000 “displaced persons.” FDR’s emissary for this plan, Morris Ernst, a New York attorney and close friend of the President, began the legwork and secured agreement in principle from the British government. However when he returned to Washington, he found to his astonishment that FDR’s Jewish advisers were able to veto the plan. The American Zionist leadership feared that providing haven for Jewish refugees anywhere but Palestine would be at cross-purposes with their plan for a Jewish state there. Noted anti-Zionist author, Alfred Lilienthal in What Price Israel (1953, available on the web) tells this story.
It’s fairly well known that Truman was indebted to his Jewish donors to help him pay for his celebrated whistle stop tour that played such a big part in his reelection campaign of 1948. Similarly his administration’s immediate recognition of Israel, on May 15, 1948, was due in large part to the president’s assessment of and his indebtedness to Jewish power and Jewish money, despite the strong opposition of the State Department, led by Secretary of State George Marshall, highly regarded not least by Truman himself. Less well known is Truman’s anger and frustration at Israeli policy in the period both before and after statehood was declared in May 1948. From February to May 15, 1948, the Israelis (at that time their community was called the Yishuv, Hebrew for settlement) had already successfully expelled about 300,000 Palestinians from their homes in areas that later became Israel.
The scandal and the tragedy of the pre-state expulsions reached such a level that the Truman administration and other concerned countries supported an alternative plan: that a U.S. trusteeship be put in place instead of the two state solution which the U.S. had rammed through the UN the previous November. Incidentally it was this same extraordinary Palestinian refugee crisis that forced many of the Arab countries to intervene after May 15th to try to curb the wholesale expulsions of the Palestinian community, and to try to retain as much of Palestine designated for them by the UN as they could. The trusteeship plan was quickly shot down. In the end, at the time of the 1949 armistice, the Israelis expelled more than three quarters of a million Palestinians, never allowing more than a tiny handful to return.
For months after the 1949 armistices, the refugee issue was front and center of the U.S. and international policy debate. At one point an angry President Truman decided to confront Israel and went so far as to write a letter to Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion in which he warned that the U.S. would have to reevaluate its relations with Israel unless concessions on the refugee issue were forthcoming. When it was clear that his personal letter had no effect, Truman decided to withhold $49 million of an Export Import Bank payment unless the Israeli government complied with a proposal to accept the repatriation of 200,000 Palestinian refugees. U.S. Ambassador George McGhee transmitted this decision to the Israeli Ambassador at lunch in June 1949.
As McGhee recounts in his memoir, when he put the U.S. proposal to the Ambassador, the Israeli looked him straight in the eye and said, in essence, that McGhee wouldn’t get away with this move, that he, the Israeli ambassador, would stop it. Within an hour of McGhee’s return to his office he received a message from the White House that the President wished to dissociate himself from any withholding of the Ex-Im Bank loan. McGhee writes that he knew of the President’s sympathy for Israel, but he had never before realized how swiftly the supporters of Israel could act if challenged.
Like Truman, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy felt indebted to wealthy Jewish donors to help fund his presidential campaign. According to one story, when a crucial payment was delivered to the Kennedy campaign in 1960, the future president broke down in tears of appreciation for the timely support.
When Kennedy became president, in order to ensure that he did nothing that would run afoul of Zionist interests, he appointed former campaign aide, Myer (Mike) Feldman as presidential point man for Jewish and Israeli affairs who was “authorized to monitor all of the State Department and White House cable traffic on the Middle East.” Among Kennedy officials most frustrated by this policy was senior adviser McGeorge Bundy, JFK’s national security adviser, whose policy it was to send nothing to Feldman because the latter was “getting involved in issues in which he had no business. It was hard to tell the difference between what Feldman said and what the Israeli ambassador said.”
It’s well known that the issue of nuclear proliferation was an important one for President Kennedy. He was afraid that if nothing was done there might be dozens of countries possessing nuclear weapons in a few decades. Accordingly, he was extremely distressed at Israel’s nuclear weapons program. As Seymour Hersh explains in The Sampson Option, while Kennedy was unhappy and went so far as to personally raise the nuclear issue with the Israelis, his objections were merely pro forma since he well understood that, in the face of the Lobby he could do nothing to challenge Israel’s nuclear policies. Kennedy’s and all subsequent U.S. presidents’ pass on the Israeli nuclear bomb is a dramatic and continuing example of the helplessness of the U.S. government to serve American interests even on critical issues.
One exemplary story of the power of the Lobby is how George McGovern “blew most of the big money from Jews” for his future campaign for president. In 1970 at a private meeting of Jewish donors in New York City, McGovern, in answer to a question about his policy on Israel bravely but naively insisted that the UN was the proper forum to seek a fair and lasting resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict.
This was unacceptable to his audience. Accordingly Jewish/Zionist support for his campaign, often estimated at 50% or more of donations to Democratic candidates all but dried up. One participant at the meeting expressed his shock at McGovern’s lack of preparation and his incredible political ignorance. Wasn’t McGovern aware that the UN had time and again voted against Israel’s interests?
Similar faux pas continue to trip up Democrats from time to time. Democratic presidential aspirant in 2004 Howard Dean paid dearly when he called for an evenhanded approach to the Middle East. Hillary Clinton has done her best to live down an unlucky kiss she delivered to the cheek of Suha Arafat, the wife of the deceased Palestinian leader, when Mrs. Clinton was first lady. General Wesley Clarke had to quickly backtrack in 2007 when he complained of the power of “the New York money men” to straightjacket Democrats on Middle East policy.
One of the most often cited explanations for the Bush administration’s early determination to invade Iraq is that the war served Israel’s interests in crushing a secular and independent Arab nation opposed to Israel’s domination of the Middle East. Here’s the way Mearshimer and Walt put it. “Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the U.S. decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was a critical element.”
I think that’s a fairly accurate statement, but the professors omit the purely American/neocon agenda that is deeply rooted in the exceptional Bush-Cheney regime. From this American perspective, the Israeli Lobby becomes not an end in itself, but rather an enabler of the right wing nihilist agenda of permanent war. The purpose as well as the consequence of Bush and Cheney’s hyper- militarist bellicosity is to return Iraq to Year Zero, that is to say, to destroy the possibility of civil life in the country and to destabilize the rest of the Middle East. Such a program has the whole hearted support of the Lobby because only by means of the long term occupation of the country can Israel be assured that a threat to its domination of the Middle East will not arise from a potential powerful challenger.
This Israeli based concern helps to explain why Bill Richardson is currently (and for the foreseeable future) alone among the Democratic challengers for the 2008 presidential nomination who has called for a complete and total end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The other major candidates such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barak Obama and John Edwards all insist on an indefinite, albeit smaller, U.S. occupation of the country. Why? Clearly they are mindful of Israel’s concerns.
Could there be any more clear indication of how deeply the poison of Zionism, the ideology of a Jewish state in the former Palestine, and the elevation of Israel’s agenda over and above U.S. security interests has penetrated the American political system?
Typically in all previous post WWII administrations there has been a fundamental tension between United States and Israeli interests for the good reason that Israel’s agenda is expansionist, expulsionist and expressly anti-Arab. The Israeli agenda is not only against the interests of the U.S. because of Middle East oil, but also for the simple reason that it has not been in the U.S. interest to make Israel’s enemies our enemies. Thus it’s not surprising to find substantial strain and frustration on the part of U.S. governments because of their inability to pursue the legitimate interests of the United States in the Middle East.
The one outstanding exception is the Bush-Cheney administration. Despite one significant dust up between President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon over Israel’s large-scale incursion into the West Bank in 2002, the Bush administration is considered the very best U.S. government from Israel’s perspective because it embarked on the Iraq war, because of their shared goal of destroying Palestinian nationalism, and the Bush-Cheney preoccupation with maintaining area instability.
The 34 day July-August 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon including its brutal bombardment vital infrastructure and the wholesale destruction of Lebanese towns and villages provides an example of the striking divergence by the Bush administration from former U.S. administrations. According to press reports, Israel and the U.S. together secretly planned this war in the spring when Olmert visited the U.S. It seems that the Israelis were not prepared for such a relatively long war, and were taken unawares by the U.S. refusal day after day, week after week to call for a cease-fire. Such a theory might explain why the Israeli military incursion into Lebanon seemed so purposeless and ineffective and why in the end Israel suffered such a public relations disaster.
In addition, if certain press reports are to be believed, in the course of the July-August war, the U.S. pressed the Israelis to extend the war to Syria. Wisely the Israelis refused, understanding that such a war piled on top of the ongoing fiasco would not be in their interest.
Iraq war and the Lobby
One of the bravest statements about the power of the Lobby in connection with the Iraq war by a politician not about to retire was made by Virginia Congressman Jim Moran, a 17 year veteran of the House, charging the leadership of the Jewish community with supporting the war. No wonder he was subsequently targeted, this time unsuccessfully, by AIPAC. Just before the 2003 Iraq war Moran said that:
if it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq we would not be doing this. The leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going and I think they should."
Notice that he corrected himself in his second sentence. It was not necessarily the Jewish community but the leaders of the Jewish community, AIPAC and the Lobby, who were pushing as hard as possible for the Iraq war. Moran’s outspoken comment leads to an important question: why did so many high profile Democratic senators like Kerry, Clinton, Feinstein, Charles Schumer and others vote in October 2002 to authorize George W. Bush to go to war? In their speeches preceding the vote they made abundantly clear that they understood that such a war was reckless and against U.S. and regional interests. One glaring hypothesis that might merit media investigation were the issue not taboo as well as displeasing to grassroots support for Israel is that the high profile and not so high profile politicians well understood that wealthy Jewish donors to the Democrats would favor those who voted to support Bush’s war against Iraq.
Even after the 2006 elections clearly demonstrated the American electorate’s frustration with the Iraq War, most Democrats in Congress seem intent on effectively supporting an indefinite U.S. occupation, in other words, a continuation of President Bush’s brutal policies. In May 2007, ex-CIA analyst, Ray McGovern excoriated Democratic Senator Carl Levin for undercutting a rare principled statement on Iraq by his own Majority Leader Harry Reid. After Senator Reid unambiguously called for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, Senator Levin was quick to announce that “we will never refuse funding for the troops,” code for supporting the Bush-Hillary Clinton/Democratic party policy of continued occupation.
On the popular radio and TV current events program, “Democracy Now,” Ray McGovern pointed to the Lobby as the reason for Democratic support for the war.
And trying to piece together why Carl Levin would undercut the Senate Majority Leader, I found out an interesting thing… and that is that Carl Levin gets more money from the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC than any other senator. Now, do I suggest that he’s doing this for the money? I think we have to give him the benefit of the doubt, because he’s one of the good guys, but certainly he appears to be one of those folks like the neocons who can’t see any daylight between what they perceive to be the strategic interest of Israel, on the one hand, and the strategic interests of the United States, on the other. And when Olmert and Livni, the foreign minister, come here to the AIPAC meeting four weeks ago and say, “Don’t show weakness on Iraq now. If you leave Iraq, that would make this area more dangerous for Israel -- well, and for the whole world and for yourselves, too,” -- it’s very transparent. If Levin is one of those people that can’t see any daylight between our interests and those of Israel, well, he hasn’t read George Washington's farewell speech, which warned against precisely this: passionate attachments, entangling alliances. That’s what we’ve got, and that lies at the bottom of a lot of our troubles in the Middle East.
The current political scene in the U.S. is characterized by such deep-seated bias against Arabs and Muslims, that the Lobby is able to place Israel’s interests over the interests of peace and stability in the Middle East. Despite the obvious catastrophe of the military occupation for Iraq and for the peoples of the Middle East, and the devastating impact it is having on the U.S. national interest, partisans of Israel feel that the Jewish state must be protected. As we head into ever more dangerous waters, it’s frightening to contemplate how a tiny nation, leveraging the power of the United States, can place the fate of so many millions of peoples including its own in jeopardy.
 By U.S. interest, I’m thinking of maintaining peace and stability in the region, justice for all of the peoples of the Middle East, upholding relevant UN resolutions, and international conventions like the Geneva Conventions and so on.
 John J. Mearshimer and Stephen M. Walt, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” Middle East Policy, Fall 2006. p. 40.
 See Ronald Bleier, “The Bush-Cheney Regime and U.S. Middle East Policy: Radical Nihilists Driving Permanent War,” (May 2007, available on the internet), for a discussion of the Bush-Cheney radical-nihilist agenda.
 Andrew J. Hurley, in Holocaust II?: Saving Israel From Suicide (1990), pp. 105-106 printed some of the highlights of the CBS program.
 Andrew J. Hurley, Holocaust II? Saving Israel From Suicide (1990).
 According to a pro Israeli website, Israelcommentary.org, a 2003 Gallup Poll indicated a favorable rating for Israel of 64% of the U.S. population, a 10% rise over the previous year. According to the poll, while 58% of the public expressed more sympathy toward Israel than toward the Palestinians, only 13 percent said they sympathized more with the Palestinians.
 Ruth Gruber, Haven (1985), Chapter 2.
 George McGhee, Envoy to the Middle World: Adventures in Diplomacy (1969), p. 37.
 Seymour Hersh, The Sampson Option (1991), pp. 98-99.
 Stephen D. Isaacs, Jews and American Politics (1974), pp. 1-6.
 One of the definitions of nihilism is the irrational desire to destroy meaning, knowledge and value and it embraces suicide and mass murder.
 See note 1 above for an outline of legitimate U.S. interests in peace, justice and stability in the Middle East.
 See Mearshimer and Walt, note 2 above, for a concise review of the tensions in 2002.
 See for example, Uri Avnery, “Lying to start a war. Sound familiar? Olmert's Truth” Sunday, March 11, 2007.
U.S.-Israeli collusion in the 2006 Lebanon War is suggested if not documented by the following:
"More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to US and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail," wrote reporter Matthew Kalman.
In addition, according to author and analyst Webster Tarpley, at the St. Petersburg G-8 summit in July 2006, President Bush boasted to French president Jacques Chirac that the ongoing Lebanon war was not conceived by Israel but was rather a U.S. war. See Webster G. Tarpley, “Cheney Determined to Strike In U.S. with WMD This Summer” (7.21.07, Rense.com)
Ibid. According to Avnery, Meyrav Wurmser, the wife of David Wurmser,
Vice-President Dick Cheney's adviser on the Middle East, “told the website
of Israel's leading newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, that the US stalled
over imposing a ceasefire during Israel's assault on Lebanon because the
Bush Administration was expecting the war to be expanded to Syria.
"The anger [in the White House] is over the fact that Israel did not fight against the Syrians The neocons are responsible for the fact that Israel got a lot of time and space.
 Democracy Now, May 1st, 2007,” Ex-CIA Analyst Accuses Tenet of Hypocrisy For Not Speaking Out Earlier on White House Push For War.”
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