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18 April 2004


Eli Stephens

"articulate and, in some cases, influential and high-profile"

Not to promote stereotypes, but haven't you (or in this case Billmon) forgotten a MAJOR factor - money? One certainly has the IMPRESSION (I haven't done the research on the facts) that Jews are major givers to political campaigns? Also a MUCH higher voter turnout than many other "minority" groups.

Richard Silverstein

Halper's theory is so cogent and convincing. I'd never thought of this in the way he expresses it & it makes perfect sense.

I'm not sure I agree with the commenter who said that Jews are just yr. avg. small, tractionless lobbying entity. Though Jews are 2% or so of the overall population, in many large industrial states they can amt. to 20% or more of the voters (because Jews vote in MUCH GREATER numbers than the general population). I don't know precisely which states those are, but I imagine they'd include some or all of the following: IL, NY, CA, MA, CT, PA, FL, OH, etc. Some of these are pretty important battleground states. So to me the "crass political short term gain" theory explaining BUsh's joyful capitulation to Sharon still holds significant weight.

Nell Lancaster

In explaining the disconnect between Congressional votes and public opinion, the effect of AIPAC has to be taken into account. AIPAC gives early money to Congressional candidates who will sign off on the pro-Israeli govt positions. Early money is VERY powerful; the same $2000 has much less effect closer to the elections. And then AIPAC enforces its positions; Congresspeople who take the $ and don't vote correctly are targeted. (Also members who don't take AIPAC money and vote incorrectly are targeted if they make themselves vulnerable: see McKinney, Moran...)

Also, part of the answer is the fundraising dynamics inside the Democratic Party. Big DNC funders have disproportionate influence on what Dem. candidates can say and do on the issues they care about. Despite the increasing corporate funding over the last fifteen years, Dems cannot count on the scale of corporate funding that Republicans can, and so depend more heavily on labor, wealthy individuals and influential "bundlers" (people who can open doors to further fundraising).


Do NOT miss the Halper interview which is the most illuminating thing I've read on Israel/Palestine ever.

Ben G.

I also thought the Halper comments were important. Anyone know sources that would support his assertion that Israel takes American arms and tinkers with them enough so that when they resell them they are "Israeli" arms? When I read the Halper quote to my wiefe, she said, "Why would Israel need to do that? They have thier own arms industry. They have their own arms to sell." I consider Halper a good source, whose work I respect a great deal, but it would be good to have some clear documentation of how the Israeli arms industry works with the American arms industry, aside from purchasing American arms for Israeli use.

Ben G.

Just to follow up a little on my previous comment. I've not found much of anything on the web that supports Halper's assertion about Israel reselling slightly altered American arms. There is plenty of documentation of Israeli arms deals with states the US would not make arms trades with, but I don't see evidence of Israeli arms laundering for the US. On the If Americans Knew website, linked on this site, there's an article saying pretty much the opposite of what Halper says: that the American arms industry is unhappy with Israel using American military aid to compete with the US arms industry:

“It’s a new concept for most people.” said Joel Johnson, a vice president at the Aerospace Industries Association of America, which represents many of the largest U.S. arms producers. “We give them money to build stuff for themselves and the U.S. taxpayer gets nothing in return.”
I am certainly critical of Israel's immoral arms trade and of the occupation. But the claims of the left need to be held up to the same scrutiny as those of the right. If the claims aren't supportable, then they are really only fodder for the hyperbole of antisemites, left and right. I would still welcome any further information supporting Halper's assertions. I'm happy to be corrected.

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