February 11, 2005

by Andrew Silow-Carroll
Hide in plain sight

When does criticism of Israel become anti-Semitism? Seemingly, whenever Michael Scheuer, a.k.a. Anonymous, the author of "Imperial Hubris", opens his mouth. Scheuer's "remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations on Israel's influence in the United States are a goldmine of canards: that Israel is the tail wagging the dog of U.S. foreign policy, that its influence in this country is "clandestine" and that the Holocaust Museum is an Israeli/Jewish plot to guilt America into supporting Jerusalem.

I've bolded the naughty bits, but it's the use of "clandestine" and "covert" that strike me as the money quotes. The usual attack on the pro-Israel lobby is that they use raw, transparent political power -- PAC money, lobbying savvy, controlling the media, building Holocaust Museums -- to control the public debate. But according to Scheuer all that public lobbying is just a cover for... secretive lobbying,or worse -- I think. What might some of those clandestine activities be? Blackmailing senators with incriminating photographs of buxom Mossad agents? Implanting chips in the brains of Christian Zionists? Assasinating pro-Palestinian lawmakers?

Asked to give an example of a "clandestine" activity by pro-Israel forces, Scheuer replies, "clearly, the ability to influence the Congress--that's a clandestine activity, a covert activity." Luckily, our counter-intelligence agencies were able to uncover and photograph the undercover Capitol Hill visits of these folks.

Am I overdoing it? Judge for yourself :

SCHEUER: It's probably the most successful covert action program in the history of man to control--the important political debate in a country of 270 million people is an extraordinary accomplishment. I wish our clandestine service could do as well. The point I would make--the point I try to make basically in the book is we just cannot--we can no longer afford to be seen as the dog that's led by the tail. I've tried to be very clear in saying we have an alliance with the Israelis. We have a moral obligation to try to work through this issue, if we can. But I don't think we can afford to be led around, or at least appear to be led around by them.

Gary Rosen of Commentary asks Scheuer to "elaborate a little bit on the clandestine ways in which Israel and presumably Jews have managed to so control debate over this fundamental foreign policy question."

Scheuer: Well, the clandestine aspect is that, clearly, the ability to influence the Congress--that's a clandestine activity, a covert activity. You know to some extent, the idea that the Holocaust Museum here in our country is another great ability to somehow make people feel guilty about being the people who did the most to try to end the Holocaust. I find--I just find the whole debate in the United States unbearably restricted with the inability to factually discuss what goes on between our two countries.
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