The Rats in Israel’s Cellar: Gulf Sheikhs and the ADC

More from “The Fanonite” 

As I had pointed out in an earlier post, the history of Arab betrayal of the Palestinian cause is about as old as the issue itself. No one — not even the otherwise sympathetic Nasser — dared to intervene to end Israel’s brutalities as they peaked. Hizbullah’s intervention last year was unique in this regard. It drew Israel out in order to ease the pressure off the defenceless Palestinian population as it was being bludgeoned in Gaza. No wonder then that all the Arab states that have long failed the Palestinians feel insecure under present conditions. In order to mask their failures they have instead embarked on a campaign to undermine Hizbullah and defame Iran, the only state that offered monitary relief to the beleaguered Palestinians, when the rest of the Arab world was carrying out Israel’s edict in strangling them for voting according to their own – as opposed to Israel’s — wishes in the last election.

Israel’s escalating assault on the Palestinians has apparently impressed Gulf Arabs. Since last year’s war, the Gulf Arabs, Jordan and Egypt have had increasing contact with the Israelis and there appears an imminent thaw in relations. Even before the Lebanon war, Robert Fisk wrote:

Self-deception is one of the characteristics of the Middle East narrative. Whenever wars and political upheavals tear the region apart, someone will claim that life is improving, that peace may yet be discovered. And so it is today. As Iraq collapses deeper into anarchy, the US has been trying to push the Arab Gulf states into opening relations with Israel.

Qatar did that long ago and has agreed to expand its trade. But Kuwaitis are now talking openly of ties with Israel and of ending their long-standing trade embargo. Bahrain, home to the US Seventh Fleet, has already lifted its trade sanctions as part of a recent free-trade agreement with the US. Beyond the Gulf, Tunisia’s foreign minister has held talks with Israel’s foreign minister, Silvan Shalom.

It isn’t much of a surprise then that Bahrain should not only host members of AJC, the foreign policy arm of the Israel Lobby, but also defend them as justified. AJC, of course, is delighted.

“Even though AJC members are part of the Israeli lobby in the States, we need to interact with them. They are very powerful and influential at all levels in America and dealing with them is a necessity. Only now are Arabs trying to build ties with them in order to understand them. If you want to win people over, you do not fight them,” [Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Ahmad al-Khalifa] said.

Meanwhile Syria was recently graced by the presence of AIPAC’s own Nancy Pelosi and Tom Lantos (along with Keith “Uncle Tom” Ellison). The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee — believe it or not — wants you to thank  her for this, even though while she has said she won’t rest until the Israeli soldiers in Hizbullah custody are released, she hasn’t had a word to say about the Palestinians.

Jeffrey Blankfort writes:

Once again, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has released a bewildering statement that reflects, on the part of the writer, a myopic view of US foreign policy and the role that the Zionist lobby plays in its formation. While it is no doubt better that American politicians visit Syria rather than bomb or invade it, this statement totally ignores the acknowledged admission by Pelosi, a long-time lobby lackey, that she was carrying Israel’s water to Damascus as much as she was carrying that of the US or Congress. This included requests for Syria to pressure Hizbollah to release the two Israeli soldiers captured in Lebanon, for Hamas to release the Israeli soldier captured on the Gaza border, as well as for Syria to stop supporting both Hizbollah and Hamas and to cut off its ties to Iran. Pelosi has never once mentioned the suffering of the Palestinian or Lebanese people caused by Israel over the past five decades nor expressed any concern for the thousands that Israeli has imprisoned in contravention of international law over the years.

I seriously doubt whether this is the viewpoint of the membership of ADC which deserves better at this critical moment. I would expect such a statement from Jim Zogby’s American Arab Inst. which has a long history of making “nice-nice” with the Democrats, but not from the ADC. I have sent a copy of this message to christine@adc.org, the apparent author of this statement. I would suggest that you do that, too. -JB

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