An analyst tells Press TV that US policy is fully controlled by the Israeli lobby, with US politicians acting as Israel’s lapdogs, follow AIPAC’s orders.
The comment comes as Israeli Minister for Military Affairs Ehud Barak thanked US President Barack Obama and former American Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for their "resolute backing of Israel”, during a speech at the opening of the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington on Sunday.
AIPAC is the one of the most powerful lobbies in the United States. It works to influence US foreign and domestic policy for the interest of Israel.
Press TV has conducted an interview in its “the debate” program with Eric Draister, the founder of stopimperialism.com, from New York to further discuss the issue. Draister is joined by Richard Hellman, president of the Middle East research center, from Washington. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV :
Our guest there, Mr. Hellman saying that he does not believe AIPAC actually has that kind of control on US policy. Right now, we know a lot being said about whether the recent spending cuts is going to affect the aid that US is giving Israel.
Do you think if we see this aid continuing , that we can conclude that actually there is some type of control on US policy or not?
Well, I think the question of control versus extreme influence is somewhat superficial. Whether they wield a tremendous amount of influence, whether they have direct control, I think is a matter of debate. What I think is not debatable is the fact that AIPAC as an extension of Israel is an intergrown part of US foreign policy.
It provides the pretext, the necessary pretext that the United States needs to continue to prop up Israel and essentially use Israel as a client state against Iran and against any other enemies in the region.
I want to respond to previous guest in Washington just said regarding Iran and the United States. It is the United States not Iran that is the militarist nation in this equation.
Iran does not have seven simultaneous wars going at the moment. Iran is not bombing with drones all over the world. Iran has not engaged in a war that it started for centuries. So to suggest that Iran is the militarist nation, I think is completely ludicrous. But I think the question of the AIPAC lobby is an important one. People are trying to spin this as if AIPAC is somehow declining in their significance.
Well, I think the reality shows just as we saw with vise president Biden’s speech to AIPAC earlier today that the Israel lobby still wields tremendous amount of influence and US politicians all the way in to the White House have to show their loyalty to the Israel lobby and show that they do take orders whether from AIPAC or from powers beyond them.
Press TV :
Speaking of course about the nuclear issue on Iran, Eric Draitser, we know that recently we had the P5+1 talks with around the US was also involved in those talks.
A lot of people analyzing the situation and saying that there is now a lot of... Mr. Draitser the thing is a lot of people are saying that Israel is having a lot of influence on how these talks are preceding; I mean Iran had been saying these talks are positive, but at the same time Ehud Barak was casting doubt that as to how successful these talks are going to be?
So do you think that there is a lot of Israeli pressure influencing these talks on the nuclear issue for one for instance to be resolved?
I do not know about the Israeli power really influencing the substance of the talk. I think what the Israelis are doing is engaging in mission of subversion.
They want to subvert these negotiations, because the last thing that Israel wants is any kind of a political solution vis-à-vis Iran. Israel for its own geo-political reasons needs to see Iran destroyed.
They need to see Iran destroyed in order to exert their own hegemony in the region. The Israeli understand very clearly. They are certainly not ignorant of the fact that if Iran is taken out of the equation, there is very little in the way of Israel expanding in to southern Lebanon, destroying Hezbollah, taking land [of] the east of the current state of Israel and south of Israel as well.
So this fits into a broader geo-political context and the question of these negotiations is really a question of whether or not there will be a political solution or if the Israelis get their way in military one.
Press TV :
Which argument would you go for here..., would you say that here as the Noam Chomsky argument goes, that it is basically the US following its own agenda through Israel or it is what they have called a Zionist occupied government in America?
Well, I will respond to that, but let me first just address what the gentleman in Washington said a minute ago. I think that he made a very important point. I do not know whether he intended to or not, but he said quite clearly and I agree with him that the negotiations are not about the nuclear program at all.
It has nothing to do with the nuclear program that it is a purely political and geo-political gambit by the United States and Israel, insane that it is not about the nuclear program. I think that is a pretty outright admission of that fact.
As to the second question, I think both extremes in this dichotomy are probably illusory. I think that it somewhere in the middle the Israelis use the United States and have the United States do their bidding when it serves their interests. Conversely, the United States uses Israel when it serves its interest. I think that this is a symbiotic relationship both countries being part of a transnational imperial system. It is empire; Israel is a part of it, it is a foothold in that region. The United States is a part of it, Perhaps the dominant part of it but it is still a part of the system.
So when analyzing these questions, we need to examine them from a systemic level.
Would you also say the heart of the American people really feels for Israel and they view Israel as a special case where should be treated as a special case by the US as well?
The American people have demonstrated time and time again that they are ethical people and most importantly they are very very propagandized people.
The droning talking points from all main stream media outlets, be there right wing or left wing, FOX News or MSM, MBC or anything in between frames the discussion about Israel, about tactics, about strategy and never questions the issues of morality , of human rights or of international law.
So the discussion of Israel in the United States and the popular sentiments about Israel are entirely skewed.
I think that it is certainly a deliberate distortion to say that the heart of the American people is about Israel. The heart of the American people is about America and it is about doing what is right for America.
The reality is the real heart of the American people is sick and tired of war; whether they are US-initiated wars, Israeli-initiated wars or anybody else’s wars, we are tired of those wars and we are tired of empire, imperialism and death.
Press TV :
Mr. Draitser, a lot of people are saying Obama is facing very difficult dilemma now when it comes to Israel, if it is accused of inaction, it is not going to work , if it supports Israel’s illegal behaviors still going to be isolated. What is the fact now when it comes to US and Israel, especially on Palestine?
Well, I think it is quite clear. The Obama administration demonstrated where their priorities and feelings lie when the Israelis committed their aggression against Gaza. The United States government was silent all throughout the war. The United States government and Obama himself, along with all of those underneath him continue to legitimize and support Israel in that war.
So I think that more than anything else the tale is in the details, rather maybe perhaps the devil is in the details, when you look at the innocent Palestinian children and mothers and fathers who are killed in that blatant and naked aggression and the United States standing by, not condemning it, let alone getting involved in it.
This demonstrates what the priorities are. The Obama administration is no different than the previous administration, only superficially.