The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy debate at MIT

The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy debate at MIT



and we're all here this evening because John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt have written a very important book the Israel lobby in u.s. foreign policy and it's the sort of book that stirs passions and generates vigorous debate which is a very rare accomplishment for academics and the fact is these are rare and very accomplished academics John Mearsheimer is the our Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service professor at the University of Chicago where he's also the co-director of the program on international security policy and his most recent book most recent previous book was the tragedy of great power politics Stephen Walt holds the Robert and Rene Belfort professorship in international affairs at the John F Kennedy School of Government here in Cambridge and his most recent previous book was taming American power the global response to US primacy now neither John nor Steve is anything close to being a stranger to MIT forums and we're delighted they've agreed to return yet again this evening now if this was a normal book talk put that in air quotes we wouldn't have an additional speaker this evening but as the size of this filled room attests the passions and the stakes run high enough I think to warrant departing from the norm so I've asked Bruce Riedel to serve as a discussant this evening Bruce also fortunately is no stranger to MIT forums so we're delighted that he's back as well he's currently the senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC but he spent most of his career inside the US government special specializing on the Middle East particularly on Middle East policy including stints as a special assistant to the President of the United States and senior director for Near East and North African affairs at the National Security Council he also served as deputy assistant secretary secretary of defense for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs last year Bruce was awarded the Department of State's meretricious a meritorious service he dreams of a well informed and thoughtful practitioners perspective to our conversation this evening now in order to allow for maximum time and maximum interaction with the audience what I've done is asked John and Steve to split the first 30 minutes between themselves present their views in half an hour and then ask Bruce to respond in 15 minutes and then we're going to open it up to the floor and I'll have additional instructions for the audience at that point thank you very much excuse me then we'll have we'll have 45 minutes in an additional 45 minutes I want to thank dick and the Center for International Studies for inviting us here and I want to thank Bruce for coming up and offering his comments later and most importantly I want to thank all of you for coming we are looking forward to having a lively discussion we want to talk about two main questions today first is there a powerful pro-israel lobby in the United States and if so how does it work second on balance is its impact positive or negative for the United States and also for Israel I will tackle the first question which is the easy one and John will address the second but before I get started I want to acknowledge how difficult it is to raise this subject and why it needs to get handled with some sensitivity if we were here today to talk about energy policy in the United States it would be natural for us to talk about the political activities of oil companies if we were talking about gun control you wouldn't be that surprised if I mentioned the National Rifle Association but when the subject is us Middle East policy and you bring up the Israel lobby you are reaching out and grabbing the third rail with both hands now that's partly because some groups in the lobby are quick to attack anyone who identifies their influence or questions the policies that they're advocating but it's also because that discussion takes place in the shadow of centuries of anti-semitism which includes bizarre conspiracy theories like the protocols of the Elders of Zion and of course tragic events like the Holocaust and that history shapes how we all think about this issue so if you talk about a powerful interest group but that is mostly though not exclusively comprised of Jewish Americans some will think you're saying that there's a secret cabal to control American foreign policy um if you say that media coverage in the United States tends to be pro-israel it sounds to some like you're making the old charge that Jews control the media if you talk about campaign contributions by pro-israel political action committees doing what all political action committees do some people think you're saying that Jewish money is doing something illicit or improper so I want to make it clear at the outset that John and I reject every one of those anti-semitic conspiracy theories for us the Israel lobby is just an interest group like lots of other interest groups in the United States most of its activities too are entirely appropriate and legitimate forms of political engagement we don't question Israel's right to exist or its legitimacy and we believe the United States should come to Israel's aid if its survival is ever in jeopardy but we also think that the activities of the lobby and its impact on u.s. foreign policy are subjects that reasonable people ought to be able to discuss openly the same way we would discuss any other groups that try and shape American policy on any issue foreign or domestic all right with that as background up the late it chakra bin once said that us support for Israel was quote beyond compare in modern history and he was right it's the largest recipient of US economic and military aid currently getting about $500 per year for each Israeli citizen even though Israel's per capita income is now 29th in the world it is not a poor country like Bangladesh and it gets to say it even when it does things that the United States formally opposes like building settlements in the occupied territories Israel gets consistent diplomatic backing we almost always take its side in regional disputes and it's rarely if ever criticized by US officials and certainly not by anybody who aspires to high office and all you have to do is look at current presidential campaign where every major candidate seems to be competing to see who can demonstrate the greatest personal devotion to Israel the question is why now the usual answer is that Israel is a vital strategic asset and a country that shares our values but if you view if you step back and view those two rationales objectively they can't explain why we give so much aid and why we give it so unconditionally Israel may well have been a strategic asset during the Cold War but the Cold War is now over today giving Israel nearly unconditional support is one one of the reasons we have a terrorism problem and it makes it harder to address a variety of problems in the Middle East again our problems in the Middle East would not disappear if the United States had a different relationship with Israel in the United States does benefit from various forms of strategic cooperation but it's hard to argue that unconditional support is making the United States more popular around the world or making American citizens more secure here at home on balance that can't explain why we give it so much help second as to the claim that Israel's a democracy that shares our values yes Israel is a vibrant democracy but so are lots of other states and none of them gets the same level of aid or so unconditionally plus Israel's treatment of its Arab citizens and especially its Palestinian subject is sharply at odds with American values not consistent with them at all nor is Israel's behavior significantly better than that of the Palestinians now I don't have time to go into lots of detail here but I think any reasonably fair-minded look at the history of this region including the more recent histories written by Israeli historians show that both sides of this conflict have done many cruel things to each other and neither side owns the moral high ground now please note I am NOT saying that Israel behaves worse than other countries do only that it hasn't acted any better and so you cannot justify unconditional American aid by saying that it's conduct is somehow exemplary now again I want to emphasize that we think there's a strong moral case for Israel's existence based on the long history of anti-semitism and we believe the United States should come to its aid if it survivals at risk the good news is its existence is not at risk today and past crimes against the Jewish people do not justify a blank check now so what explains this unusual special relationship well in our view it's the political influence of the lobby the lobby is a loose coalition of individuals and groups that works openly to influence US foreign policy in a pro-israel direction I'm thinking of organizations like AIPAC the conference of presidents the Zionist Organization of America Christians United for Israel think tanks like the Washington Institute for Near East policy the American Enterprise Institute publications like the Weekly Standard the New Republic now that's a broad definition but if you think about it most interest groups have several different components to them the environmental movement isn't just Greenpeace and the Sierra Club it also includes research organizations sympathetic local chapters academics who work on issues like global warming journalists who write about it etc the same way the pro-israel movement does it's not a centralized organization the groups that make it up do not agree on every single issue and it's certainly not a cabal or conspiracy to control American foreign policy it's just an interest group a particularly influential one that operates the same way other interest groups operate its actions as we like to say are as American as apple pie now the key point to emphasize here is it's a the lobby is also not synonymous with Jewish Americans surveys repeatedly showed that about a quarter to a third of Jewish Americans don't care that much about Israel one way or the other others do not support the lobby's positions and some of the groups that work on Israel's behalf such as the so-called Christian Zionists aren't Jewish the lobby is defined by the positions it favors not by ethnicity or religion and finally it doesn't include anybody who happens to have a favorable attitude towards Israel one has to actively work to try and influence American policy in a pro-israel direction to be part of the Israel lobby so at work well in American politics small groups with a focused agenda often wield disproportionate influence because they care a lot about the issue and politicians can win their support without losing anybody else's and like other interest groups the Israel lobby works in two main ways first it exerts influence inside the beltway by getting sympathetic people elected to office or appointed to key positions and by giving politicians clear incentives to embrace the positions they favor organizations like AIPAC work 24/7 to convince politicians to support their views this is an organization by the way with a budget of about fifty million dollars a year very active on Capitol Hill drafting legislation providing talking points highly professional energetic grassroots base behind it very effective organization but it's not a political action committee itself despite its name and it doesn't contribute money to campaigns however AIPAC does help vet candidates for office and steers helps tear campaign contributions from individuals and pro-israel political action committees that do exist to give you a sense of what the balance of power light is like in Washington since 1992 pro-israel political action committees have contributed about fifty five million dollars in American elections by contrast Arab American political action committees have given about eight hundred thousand dollars in that same period which gives you some sense of what the balance of powers like moreover AIPAC and other groups over the last thirty years have helped drive a number of prominent politicians from office whom they deemed insufficiently supportive including Paul Finley Pete McCloskey Charles Percy cynthia mckinney roger jefferson and lincoln Chafee again I want to make it clear the lobby doesn't win every election that it weighs in on but every congressman and every presidential candidate knows you are playing with fire if you question American support for Israel that's why Steve Rosen who's the AIPAC official now under indictment for passing classified information once put a napkin in front of a journalist from The New Yorker and said in 20 for hours we could have the signatures of 70 senators on this napkin or a senator Daniel in a way explained when he was asked why he had signed an AIPAC sponsored letter to President Ford it's easier to sign one letter than to answer 5,000 things are no different today AIPAC was ranked the second most powerful lobby in Washington in the 2003 survey of congressional staffers and congressmen conducted by the National Journal which by the way replicated an earlier survey done by Forbes magazine where a peck also came in second Bill Clinton said AIPAC was better than anyone else lobbying in this town and Newt Gingrich who didn't agree with Clinton on much said it was the most effective interest group across the entire planet former congressman Lee Hamilton who served in Congress for 34 years said there's no group that matches it they're in a class by themselves or as former senator Fritz Hollings said as he was leaving office you can't have an Israel policy other than what AIPAC gives you around here so it's not surprising that Prime Minister a who'd Olmert said a year ago thank God we have a PAC the greatest supporter and friend we have in the whole world and again I want to emphasize it's not just a PAC a fax one organization among several including a subset of the Christian evangelicals all right so that's one strategy operating within the beltway the way other interest groups do the second strategy is to try and shape public discourse so that Israel is viewed favorably by most Americans mainstream media in the United States tend to be pretty pro-israel especially in terms of editorials and commentary if you look at pundits in the United States there's simply no equivalent of a Robert Fisk or a Patrick seal who write in the United Kingdom and certainly no equivalent of a kiva elder Bradley Burstyn gideon levy or Amira Hass who write for her ex in Israel my point again is not that those critics of Israeli policy are always right and pro-israel pundits are always wrong my point is you don't find voices like theirs in any of the mainstream media outlets in the United States but even so watchdog groups like the ADL or camera monitor media coverage organized boycotts and demonstrations against news agencies that publish anything critical and groups like campus watch monitor activities on campus and put pressure on universities and scholars so when Jimmy Carter published his book Palestine peace not apartheid the ADL and camera took out ads in major newspapers which included the publishers phone number and invited readers to call the publisher and complain about the publication of the book and a few weeks ago the Jewish newspaper forward reported that CNN was coming under what it called unprecedented attack for its three-part series covering Jewish Muslim and Christian fundamentalism and that the conference of presidents was urging member organizations to take up the issue with companies that had bought advertising slots for the program finally efforts to stifle criticism often include smearing critics by accusing them of being anti-semitic so when Carter published his book martin peretz of the new republic said Carter will go down in history as a Jew hater and a critic in the Washington Post compared Carter's views to those of David Duke needless to say this was a common charge leveled at us when our original article was published even though there is not the slightest shred of evidence behind the charge and for instance yesterday at MIT a group called MIT students for Israel sent an email around calling upon people to attend our talk and ask critical questions that's perfectly fine there's nothing wrong with that but the email also said that our book was quote disturbing for its similarity to the infamous fraud the protocols of the Elders of Zion this is not rational discourse this is smearing us by suggesting that we are anti-semites like the people who wrote that bizarre conspiracy theory if you read our book you will find there is nothing anti-semitic about it or anything remotely like the protocols so why does smearing go on for three reasons it distracts people from the real issue which is US policy it deters people from criticizing Israeli policy because who wants to be labeled an anti-semite and finally it marginalizes people in the public arena what politician would want to associate with someone who had been accused of being an anti-semite even if the accusation was false so it helps marginalize people and the bottom line here is of course there's very little serious debate on this subject in the United States and especially not in Congress even when it's obvious to virtually everybody that American Middle East policy has gone badly off the rails and we ought to be having a very open discussion about how we could get it back on the rails all right I want to make one last point and then I will turn it over to John if it's often said that the United States back to Israel because there is broad public support while politicians are really just doing what the people want and this argument isn't convincing for several reasons it is true that the American people in survey after survey have a generally favorable attitude towards Israel but they don't think and this is also reflected in survey after survey that the United States should be providing unconditional or one-sided support in 2005 a survey conducted for the anti-defamation league found that 78% of Americans think the United States should favor neither side in the israeli-palestinian conflict another survey supported reported by Americans for peace now found that 87% of Jewish Americans favored a two-state solution and finally a poll by the University of Maryland in 2003 found that over 70% of politically active Americans favored cutting aid to Israel if it refused to settle the conflict so Americans do have a generally favorable impression of Israel they want it to exist they want it to be secure and proper as prosperous as do John and I but they are not insisting that we back it to the hilt and back it no matter what but that's pretty much what our policy has been and that gap is due mostly due to the political influence of the various groups that make up the lobby so now the question is is overall the effect of the lobbies influence good or bad for the United States good or bad for Israel that is in fact a really easy question and so I'll leave it for John thank you I too would like to thank dick for his kind comments and for inviting Steve and me here tonight and also thank all of you for turning out tonight to listen to us talk Steve has defined the lobby and he's made the case that it has a powerful influence on u.s. Middle East policy I'll take the analysis a step further and argue that its influence has been largely negative in a nutshell our argument is that the lobby working with Israel itself has pushed us Middle East policy in ways that are not in the American national interest and I might add not in Israel's interest either I'm gonna focus on two cases first how US support for Israel's policies towards the Palestinians and the occupied territories has helped fuel terrorism against the United States and second the lobby's influence in the run-up to the Iraq war there are three cases that we discuss in the book which I won't talk about tonight because of time constraints and that is US policy towards Iran US policy toward Syria and US policy during the Lebanon War in the summer of 2006 let me start with America's terrorism problem the conventional wisdom among Israel's supporters is that Israel's treatment of the Palestinians has little to do with why the United States is so hated in the Arab and Islamic world and more importantly little to do with our terrorism problem in fact Israel is said to be a valuable ally in the fight against terror and surely it's our most valuable ally in the Middle East this received wisdom however is wrong there's an abundance of survey data and anecdotal evidence which shows that US support for Israel and its brutal treatment of the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank in angers if not enrages huge numbers of people the Arab and Islamic world the State Department for example set up an advisory group on public diplomacy in Arab and Islamic countries which reported in June 2003 that quote citizens in these countries are genuinely distressed at the plight of the Palestinians and at the role they perceive the United States to be playing not surprisingly that anger helps fuel terrorism against the United States let me emphasize that I'm not saying that our support for Israel's policy towards the Palestinians is the only cause of our terrorism problem I'm simply saying that it is a major cause specifically it motivates some individuals to attack the United States it serves as a powerful recruitment tool for terrorist organizations and it generates sympathy and support for terrorists among huge numbers of people in the Arab and Islamic world the hostility toward the United States generated support for Israel's policies in the occupied territories has been recognized by American presidents since 1967 when Israel first conquered Gaza and the West Bank this is why the official policy of every president since Lyndon Johnson has been to oppose the building of settlements but no president has been able to put meaningful pressure on Israel to stop building settlements indeed as Steve pointed out the US has protected Israel from criticism at the United Nations and given Israel more foreign aid than any other country and given it unconditionally despite the fact its behavior is contrary to official American policy of course the reason that no president can put meaningful pressure on Israel to stop building settlements is the lobby a critically important issue when talking about America's terrorism problem is the matter of how US support for his girl's brutal treatment of the Palestinians relates to what happened on September 11th it's commonplace to hear Israel's supporters say that one Osama bin Laden did not care much about the Palestinians until recently and he only cares because it is an effective recruiting device to the events of 9/11 had nothing to do with Israel and three those involved in the attack hated us because of who we are not because of our policies this line of argument is frequently pervade by key figures in the lobby for example Robert sat wolf from the Washington Institute claims that bin Laden's identification with the Palestinians is quote a recent and almost surely opportunistic phenomenon Alan Dershowitz maintains that quote prior to September 11th Israel was barely on bin Laden's radar screen and Dennis Ross who also works at the Washington Institute says that bin Laden was merely quote trying to gain legitimacy by implying that this attack on America was about the plight of the Palestinians these claims however is simply not true it's clear from the historical record that bin Laden has been deeply concerned about the plight of the Palestinians since he was a young man that concern was reflected in his public statements throughout the 1990s well before 9/11 consider what max Roden Beck the Middle East correspondent for The Economist wrote in a major review of two books on bin Laden one of which was a compilation of his speeches quoting Roden Beck of all the themes the notion of payback foreign justices suffered by the Palestinians his perhaps the most powerfully recurrent in bin Laden's speeches regarding the actual attack on 9/11 we now know from the work of the 9/11 Commission that us support for Israel was a major cause of the nine eleven attacks it was not and I want to emphasize it was not the only cause for sure but it was a key cause for example the 9/11 Commission report reports that bin Laden wanted to make sure that the attackers struck Congress because it is the most important source of support for Israel in the United States the Commission also reports that bin Laden twice wanted to move up the date of the attacks because of events involving Israel even though doing so would have increased the risk of failure finally and perhaps most importantly consider what the 9/11 Commission says about the motives of Khalid Sheikh Muhammed who it describes as quote unquote the principal architect of the attacks quoting from the Commission report by his own account KS M's animus towards the United States stemmed not from his experiences there as a student but rather from his violent disagreement with u.s. foreign policy favoring Israel it's hard to imagine more compelling evidence of the role the US support for Israel played in the 9/11 attacks in short the present relationship between Washington and Jerusalem is helping to fuel America's terrorism problem let me now turn to Iraq it's manifestly clear to most Americans that the Iraq war is one of the greatest strategic blunders in American history our argument is that Israel and especially the lobby were two of the main driving forces behind the decision to invade Iraq it is hard to imagine that war happening in their absence to start with Israel itself it was the only country besides Kuwait were both the government and a majority of the population favored the war the Israeli government to include Prime Minister Sharon pushed the Bush administration hard to make sure that it did not lose its nerve in the months before the invasion other influential Israelis like former Prime Minister's Benjamin Netanyahu and a hood Barak also implored the United States to take down Saddam in fact Israel was pushing so hard for the United States to go to war that its allies in this country warned Israeli officials to damp down their rhetoric lest it be seen as a war for Israel I might add that President Clinton said that this is in 2006 that quote every Israeli politician I knew believed that Iraq was such a great threat to the United States that we should attack it even if Iraq had no WMD the Israeli public was also solidly behind the war according to a February 2003 poll that's a month before the war seventy seven point five percent of Israelis said that they wanted the United States to attack Iraq one sometimes here's the argument these days that Israel opposed the Iraq war and actually favored attacking Iran instead there's no question that in early 2002 when the Israelis first got wind that the Bush administration was thinking about attacking Iraq key Israeli officials went to Washington and made it clear that they thought that Iran was the greater enemy and that the Bush administration should focus on Teran not on Baghdad it is important to emphasize however that Israel was not opposed to the United States toppling the regimes in Iraq or Syria to countries that Jerusalem considers mortal enemies Israel simply wanted the United States to deal with Iran first but once the Israelis realized that the war party intended to deal with Iran after it finished the job in Iraq and you want to remember that the war party and the Israelis both believe that we would win a quick and dice decisive victory in Iraq and then be free to move against Iran and Syria but once the Israelis understood the the war party intended to deal with Iran after Iraq it enthusiastically and brought embraced the idea of invading Iraq thus between early 2002 and March 2003 the Israelis put significant pressure on the Bush administration to make sure that it chose war over diplomacy with Iraq while constantly reminding Washington not to forget that Iran must come after Iraq I might add that there is no evidence that Israel warned the United States that Iraq would turn into a quagmire turning now to the lobby there's no question that the neoconservatives one of the core constituencies in the lobby were the main driving force behind the war but they were supported by the key organizations in the lobby such as APEC now that the war has gone south it is common to hear Israel's supporters say that the main organizations in the lobby did not push for war but that's not true this point is made clear in a May 2004 editorial that appeared in the foreword a weekly Jewish newspaper based in New York I'm gonna read from the editorial now this is a May 2004 editorial as President Bush attempted to sell the war in Iraq America's most important Jewish organizations rallied as one to his defense and statement after statement community leaders stressed the need to rid the world of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction concern for Israel's safety rightfully factored in to the deliberations of the main Jewish groups one sometimes also hears the claim these days that APEC took no position on the Iraq war and certainly did not advocate it this is not true either first of all this claim fails the common sense test as a Peck usually supports what Israel wants and Israel certainly wanted the United States to invade Iraq second there is hard evidence that AIPAC lobbied for the war for example apex executive director Howard Corr told the New York Sun in January 2003 that one of apex successes over the past year was quote quietly lobbying Congress to approve the use of force in Iraq end of quote the neoconservatives of course were the main driving force behind the war they initiated the idea of using force to topple Saddam and to letters written in early 1998 to President Clinton no other group or institution in the United States was seriously committed to invading Iraq over that five-year period indeed there was significant opposition to invading Iraq even after 9/11 within the State Department the intelligence community and the uniformed military the neoconservatives are by their own admission deeply committed to Israel in fact many of them are connected with key organizations in the lobby like the American Enterprise Institute and the Washington Institute for Near East policy our argument here it should be emphasized is not that the neoconservatives or the leaders of the principle organizations in the lobby were pushing a war that was in Israel's interest but not in the American national interest on the contrary we argue that they believed that invading Iraq was in both the American and Israeli national interests for the neoconservatives what is good for the United States is good for Israel and vice-versa although the neoconservatives were deeply committed to a war with Iraq they could not make it happen by themselves they failed to convince Clinton to go to Baghdad and they had little luck selling the war in the first months of the Bush administration I might also add that Steve and I have both said publicly that we believe that if Al Gore had been elected president we would not have invaded Iraq either it was the events of 9/11 however that created the circumstances where the neoconservatives could help convince both President Bush and Vice President Cheney that invading Iraq was a smart idea but without Bush and Cheney on board there would not have been a war all of this is to say that the neoconservatives were necessary to have the war but by themselves they could not make the war happen one final point about Iraq before I go to the conclusion we are sometimes accused of saying that the Iraq war was a Jewish war nothing could be further from the truth we pointed out in the article that was written last March actually March 2006 and we point out in the book that polls taken before the war show that American Jews were 10 percent 10 percent less supportive of the war than the general American public our argument is that the war was due in large part to the influence of the Israel lobby especially the neoconservatives within it not the American Jewish community and as Steve emphasized the lobby for us is defined by its political agenda not religion or ethnicity let me conclude with a brief word about what we think the us-israeli relationship should look like to start the United States should end its special relationship with Israel and should treat it like a normal country should treat it like other democracies such as Britain France Germany and India in practice this means that when Israel is acting in ways that are consistent with the American national interest Washington should at the Jewish state but when Israel is acting in ways that harm US interests Washington should distance itself from Israel and use its considerable leverage to get Israel to change its behavior just as the United States would do with any other country that was acting in ways that might harm it regarding Israel's conflict with the Palestinians the United States should act as an honest broker in other words Washington should pursue an even-handed policy towards the two sides in particular the United States should make it clear to Israel that it must abandon the occupied territories and allow for the creation of a viable Palestinian state on those lands Jerusalem should be told that the United States will oppose not tolerate Israel's colonial expansion in the West Bank none of this is to say that the United States should abandon Israel on the contrary the United States should defend Israel's right to exist within its pre-1967 borders with some minor modifications and most importantly if his real survival is threatened the United States should come to its aid thank you [Applause] last thing I want to do is spill water all over myself to start I want to thank MIT for inviting me to be here tonight I think this is an important issue an important debate for Americans to have as I think I will make clear over the course of the next 15 minutes there is much in this book that I do not agree with I think in many ways it oversimplifies very very complex situations but I do think it is terribly important that we have a debate about this issue and every other issue related to America's position in the Middle East Steve told us American policy had gone off the rails in the Middle East I think that's putting it mildly I think America's position in the Middle East has reached a catastrophic low point and it may get even worse in the next 15 months what I don't agree with is that Israel and its supporters in the United States the Israel lobby or lobbies that is more accurately laid out in the book is primarily responsible for this mess I think we have met the enemy and they are us we the American body politic by partisans have to take a lot of the responsibility and that is also granting John's point that I don't think Al Gore would have taken us to war either had his election been confirmed by the Supreme Court what I was asked to do tonight was to talk about my experiences in government dealing with Israel and its friends in the United States the Israeli Lobby or lobbies is I think it is better to Pearl them before I do that though I think I should begin with a bit more of a confession by the standard of the book I'm guilty I'm a member of the Israeli Lobby I have worked with the Israeli intelligence services the Mossad in the Shabak for thirty years I've worked with the Israeli Defense Forces I've known the last four Israeli prime ministers by their first name I have worked to get Israel the best possible intelligence both in peacetime and in wartime I have worked with three American presidents to try to advance the arab-israeli peace process I was part of president's team President Clinton's team at Wye River at Shepherdstown at Geneva at Camp David and at Sharm al-sheikh along with Dennis Ross I was one of the drafters of President Clinton's December 2000 parameters for Middle East peace settlement which I think remained the fundamental basis for a solution to the israeli-palestinian conflict and I drafted President Bush's speech to the United Nations General Assembly in November 2001 in which he for the first time for an American president called for the creation of a Palestinian state that perhaps worst of all I work at the Saban Center and I know Martin Indyk and Ken Pollack in fact I consider them my friends but I am NOT a neocon I am NOT a member of AIPAC and I am NOT a supporter of this war I think if we look at that record particularly on arab-israeli peace process over the last 15 years which I have some intimate knowledge will see that neither Israel nor its supporters in the United States were a juggernaut always getting what they wanted nor did they get unconditional help and in fact we had a much more complex relationship let me start with President Bush the elder or as I will call him 41 President Bush in 1991 at the end of the liberation of Kuwait saw a unique opportunity to create the basis for a comprehensive arab-israeli peace agreement the destruction of the Soviet Union and the containment of Iraq provided an opportunity to move forward he therefore summoned a peace conference in Madrid the Israeli government was adamantly opposed to that conference Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir as he made clear in his memoirs after the fact thought the entire idea was a mistake wanted nothing to do with a territorial agreement this is a prime minister after all who voted against the Camp David agreement even though his friend Menachem Bagan had negotiated it Bush 41 pressed ahead in the face of the obstacle of the government of Israel the Prime Minister of Israel and many of their supporters in the United States including APEC I recall vividly our fax machine at the National Security Council spitting out one message after another arguing against using loan guarantees to pressure Israel to come to Madrid or to make concessions 41 went forward but he did more than that 41 actively colluded with yet Sakura bean to have look good voted out of office and to bring a Labour government into power now it is supposedly a rule of American politics that we never intervene in Israeli politics or that of any other democracy well I'm here to tell you in 1992 41 intervene forcefully and the Israeli people got the message and Yitzhak Rabin was elected the result was a Rabine government that was prepared to make the opening to Oslo President Clinton also did not provide unconditional and unwitting support and he also stood up to parts of the lobby who opposed what he was doing he inherited a Madrid process that was broken when yet chakra being made the decision to go to Oslo to dramatically change the applecart many if not most of Israel's supporters in the United States suffered from severe whiplash they couldn't believe that an Israeli government was prepared to negotiate with the attack with Yasser Arafat and they adamantly opposed it in many quarters president clinton endorsed it and over the course of the next eight years would expend more political capital on trying to advance that process than any other single issue Yasser Arafat would become in his second term the single most frequent foreign visitor to the Oval Office when another Israeli government was elected by Bibi at 'innahu which was elected against the Oslo agreement president clinton pressured and worked with bibi to get the Hebron agreement and the Wye River agreement when he saw that Bibi would not support those in fact he made it abundantly clear once again to the Israeli people and to Israel's supporters in the United States that we wanted a change in government and we got to change the government who'd barak much of the pro-israel community in the United States and particularly the neoconservative element of it was adamantly and remains adamantly opposed to what a hood Barak put on the table in Camp David and even more importantly to what President Clinton put on the table in the Clinton parameters I don't think this book sufficiently captures the nuances and complexities of that situation some in the pro-israeli community in the United States in the late 1990s were adamant supporters of what President Clinton was doing peace now Israel Policy Forum and others enthusiastically pushed the president to go further to meet with Arafat and Assad even more often than he wanted to himself the neo-cons shinza and other groups opposed it it is not a simple picture of a lobby on one side or the other there are complexities here at the end of the day Prime Minister Barack accepted President Clinton's proposals contrary to what you read in this book Yasser Arafat rejected them don't take my word for it read my life by Bill Clinton read what every Palestinian leader says today about wishing they could belt back and change that decision imagine where the Palestinian people would be today and Yasser Arafat had a different outcome Bush 43 let me be clear I trying to already get it across I'm not here to defend him he inherited the crisis of a mounting Intifada and he came to the conclusion that President Clinton had wasted political capital on a problem which could not be resolved he decided to give other priorities in the Middle East I think those were fundamental mistakes strategic miscalculations which have had catastrophic results what President Bush didn't make those decisions on the basis of a pact he made those on the basis of his own views and those of the men around him mr. Cheney mr. Rumsfeld and his national security advisor at the time miss rice they made the judgment to walk away from the Middle East peace process did Ariel Sharon welcome that of course he welcomed it it was exactly what he wanted them to do but I think it missed the cart before the horse to get it the other way my bottom line is simple on this each of the three presidents I worked with and President Clinton I worked with the most chose his own policy found supporters within the pro-israel community in the United States who supported those policies and enthusiastically endorsed them and went forward that is not to say that the lobby is not influential clearly it is but to call it a lobby and not recognize its diversity is to miss the point let me say a word about the war in Iraq I fully agree a catastrophic mistake one of the biggest in American diplomatic history but I think this week's economist in doing a review of the book basically got it right the evidence here is that the neo cons took advantage of September 11th and a gullible president and I don't think a gullible vice president to do what they wanted done Israel stood on the sidelines and in the beginning said you got the wrong I are a country it should be going after the other one when it came to the conclusion that the president was not to be stopped I think Ariel Sharon again said fine I'm not going to get in the way of this guy from Texas if it works out great if it doesn't it's his problem my view is if you want to see who is responsible for the war in Iraq you have to look in the mirror al Qaeda and Israel here I think they have a very legitimate point Israel and Israeli policies are clearly driving recruitment for extremist groups and not even extremist groups it is self-evidently clear that Israel's policies in the West Bank in Gaza have alienated most of the Muslim world but to say that al-qaeda therefore derives from that is to also miss a point al-qaeda's opposition to American policy towards Israel is not over whether it should be 97 percent of the West Bank or 96 percent of the West Bank or whether the right of the return should be respected in principle but not in theory in practice I'm sorry it is over American support for the existence of an Israeli state al Qaeda's position is very clear no Israel Ayman Zawahiri bin Laden's deputy got into the terrorism business in the early 1980s in order to help assassinate Anwar Sadat not because Sadat had agreed to a Palestinian autonomy proposal but because Sadat had made peace with Israel full circle though Salman bin Laden has their book rightly points out moved into the Terrorism business because Saudi Arabia was supporting the Oslo process which he saw as an anemone in short al Qaeda is in the business of conducting terrorism against the United States not because of what our policies are towards 97 percent or settlement activity or whether the Temple Mount should be Israeli control or not their opposition to is the fundamental u.s. support for the concept of an Israeli state lastly there are many issues which are neglected in this analysis and yet issues on which Israel and the lobby have exerted tremendous amount of activity let me just give you to Pollard serving in three white houses I never saw an issue that was raised more often by more Israeli prime ministers and by more supporters of Israel directly with the president than freedom for mr. Pollard that issue was brought up by every Israeli prime minister Laocoon or labour and yet mr. Pollard remains in jail there was one brief moment when Bill Clinton considered letting him go and that only to advance the Wye River agreement in the end on this issue Israel and its supporters in the United States have failed completely China Israel's multi-billion dollar arm sales arrangements with China which Secretary of Defense bill Perry in the mid-1990s concluded were a fundamental threat to American national security interests every Israeli prime minister after that lobbied hard and asked the lobby and AIPAC to support him in trying to continue those sales George Bush turned Ariel Sharon down on this in their first meeting flat-footed the notion of a juggernaut that gets unconditional support just does not bear up in the historical record my bottom line yes there are Israel lobbies in the United States yes they're influential but history shows they're not a juggernaut they don't get unconditional aid most of all blaming them for the mistakes this administration has made in the Middle East is to miss the point it is to look at a tree and not see the forest responsibility for these mistakes belongs with the President of the United States the vice president and the team of people that they brought in to advise them over the last seven years thank you [Applause] thanks very much to each of the speakers what I'd like to do is go directly to QA but I really do think we ought to give Steve and John a chance to respond briefly to Bruce you're gonna yield your time well will we'll find a way to know right explain where we disagree a grateful I'm grateful for that and I think the audience will be too to have the chance to talk with you directly so we have mics in each of the aisles and we need you to speak into the mic because we'll be preserving this on MIT world and give the larger world a chance to have access to your questions into the answers now to maximize the number of questions and the and and the quality of the conversation I'm gonna take two or three at a time I'll try to be fair going back and forth I'll ask you to keep them as short as you possibly can without sacrificing sharpness but I I do reserve the right to shorten you if you're not sharp now let me also say on the front end we're not likely to be able to accommodate everyone who wants to join the conversation directly but if you all are briefed and you all all are sharp we're gonna be likely to maximize the learning that will accomplish this evening so why don't we start on this side I ask you each to identify yourself and your affiliation if you would and identified the person to whom you're addressing the question my name is sherry Alpert from Canton I'm a member of a packing camera I'm wondering why you haven't said anything in your book about the influence of the Saudi oil lobby in Washington and the fact that they've been extremely influential on both bushes and that they've given Jimmy Carter twelve million dollars prior to his writing his book also your comment about Israel's so-called brutal treatment of Palestinians ignores the fact that the Palestinian Authority has been running the Palestinian territories for most of the last few years and that they have treated them far worse and given them a far worse standard of living than they ever did under Israel thank you let me take another one from the same side we'll get yeah thank you yes Hanny wifey Boston University thank you all for your comments my question has to do with the constituent elements of the u.s. foreign policy teams that help negotiate the israeli-palestinian peace solution mr. Rydell thank you for your years of service to this country and from your comments you seem to have close ties with Israeli security forces as well but rarely if ever are any Arab Americans present at the table when it's time to negotiate peace between Israel and the Palestinians I wanted to hear the comments thank you let's get there's no one is there someone else on this aisle you can take yes please we'll take one more and we'll ask our speakers to respond them soldier my question is when we look at the lobby and the entire concept of it I think the argument is whether the entire concept of whether the lobby is right wrong and I want to go into the gossip disengagement from Gaza which I personally participated in and asked if the disengagement for Gaza which removed all settlements from the Gaza Strip and looking back how how does that work with the lobbying how does that work with the principle job the lobby's is wrong just for being a lot we look at that fact is wasn't the lobby a good thing and should that be treated something that more of what gets right or wrong whether lobby as a lobbies bad okay I'm gonna take take a swing at the first one first it's not clear to me I'm in I'll talk mostly about the oil question I it was all respect I don't think the woman who asked the question has read the book because there is in fact a detailed discussion of precisely that question in the book where we talk about the much vaunted oil lobby and the much vaunted Saudi lobby and explain why they in fact don't have much impact on American foreign policy energy companies in the United States lobby a lot they're very powerful political lobby and they lobby about things like drilling policy and tax policy and environmental regulations and all sorts of things that you would expect corporations who are interested in making money to do but they don't actually lobby very extensively on foreign policy if you go to the website in the American Petroleum Institute which is one of their big trade and lobbying organizations you can't find any reference to foreign policy anywhere on the website and there's a reason for that right the oil companies want to make money they don't want to invade countries like Iraq they wanted to trade with Saddam if they had been allowed to they would be trading with Iran today if they were allowed to and in fact when Dick Cheney was head of Halliburton he complained publicly about what he called America's sanctions happy foreign policy again if oil companies were driving American Middle East policy you would expect it to be quite different than what we what we actually see and that's why apex former executive director Morris Emmett a once said we pretty much have the field to ourselves here in Washington and why apex legislative director former legislative director Doug Bloomfield said in 2003 we have one great advantage we really don't have any competition now even if he overstated it a bit that suggests that the oil lobby is just not driving policy well finally the reference to brutal Palestinian treatment the PLO leadership under Yasser Arafat was deeply corrupt and didn't do nearly as much as they might have to better the lives of Palestinians but they're not the ones building checkpoints they're not the ones putting 250 miles of connector roads they're not the ones who have doubled the settler population and and I think all one has to do is go to Israeli human rights organizations like Betts elem and you'll get a nice account of the brutal treatment being meted out to the Palestinian people doesn't come from me it comes from Israelis who are I think deeply Admiral for pointing out that aspect of their society I'll take the third question which dealt with disengagement from Gaza and Bruce is going to take the second question about the Israeli I mean the American negotiating team first of all with regard to the disengagement from Gaza I was actually quite shocked that many friends of mine in the United States and many Israelis were optimistic that this was gonna be a first major step towards peace in the region there's only one way the Israelis are gonna ever have peace with the Palestinians and that is to give them a viable State on almost all of the occupied territories until that happens the Palestinians are gonna use every means available to fight against the Israelis and as the Israelis made clear for those of you who read Haaretz and Maariv and other Israeli newspapers you know this what Arielle cherone was doing was pulling out of Gaza right and putting the priests process in what the Weiss class called formaldehyde and what they were going to continue to do was to colonize the West which is what they've been doing since 1967 as Steve alluded to feeling what the Israelis did between 1993 when the Oslo peace process began and the break the outbreak of the First Intifada in September of 2000 right and that's seven year period the Israelis confiscated 40,000 acres of Palestinian territory they built 250 miles of connector roads they doubled the settlers population in the occupied territories and they built 30 new settlements during the ozlowe peace process when President Bill Clinton was the president right the Israelis have no intention of creating a viable Palestinian state the Palestinians understand this and therefore they're going to fight back until they get a viable Palestinian state final point I would make about what happened with regard to Gaza if you look carefully basically the Palestinians are being treated like caged animals right the Israelis control all the borders around the Gaza all the checkpoints in and out they control the water but beneath the area and they control the air above the Gaza Strip and the Palestinians have virtually no manoeuver room whatsoever at any time they strike back at the Israelis the Israelis tighten the screws further and further and the end result is more and more trouble so this situation is in my opinion hopeless until the Israelis recognize that what they have to do is give the Palestinians a viable state and the only way that's going to happen is if we put some pressure on the Israelis and contrary to what Bruce says we've never been very good at that let me take the second question and then make a brief comment I think it would be great if more Arab Americans were involved in our diplomacy in the Middle East I urge power of Americans to get involved in the Foreign Service in the military in the CIA and be part of the process in my own case I laid out for you my own case I laid out for you because I thought it was honest upfront my connections with Israel I also have deep connections and friendships with many Jordanian Egyptians Saudi Kuwaiti Lebanese intelligence officers military men and diplomats including many in the Saudi Lobby which we talked about before I grew up in Jordan and Lebanon I'm not an Arab American but I think I have some sense of what's on their mind in President Clinton's peace process team one of the most influential figures was an Egyptian American who continues to work in the United States government but who if you read Bill Clinton's version of what happened at Camp David it was one of his critical advisors throughout Yasser Arafat was asked in the Oslo process to provide security in return for a progressive return of land he was unable to do so we consistently urged him and tried to work with him to do better the CIA provided enormous amount of support to the Palestinians to try to get them to live up to their end of the bargain I agree with John Israel didn't live up to its end of the bargain either but to paint it as a simple picture of one side trying to do its utmost and the other not is to miss read history and above all it mystery its history to believe that at Camp David and even more importantly in December of 2001 party said yes to an agreement on a return to the 1967 borders with minor changes which I think we heard both gentlemen earlier say is the fundamental basis of an agreement the other side said no and walked away from the table that was a catastrophic mistake for the Palestinians which they regret I think certainly album Azam does to this day this is no consent twice Bill Clinton's spokesman and then Bill Clinton himself in a speech to the Israel Policy Forum one of the moderate groups within the lobby said that both sides had accepted the Clinton parameters of December 2000 both sides also expressed reservations right the Israeli reservations were contained and I think a 20-page letter that I believe has also never been made public right the Palestinians also put out a long document explaining all of their reservations but Bill Clinton said that in front of an audience right you can go find it on the web where he says both sides accept this both sides accept reservations so the idea that one side bought it and the other side rejected it I think is simply not true and there's also remember that negotiations continued at Taba afterwards and it was the Israelis under Ariel Sharon that broke off that process okay we're gonna go to the left side of the room without regard for your political no less Roman program in writing in humanistic studies at MIT I'm gonna try to focus on a topic and try to get some agreement among the three speakers dealing with one of the claims in the book and the article about tolerance and intolerance and I think you know this this event here is a great example of tolerance and of discourse and of speech but can there be any denial that the quote Israeli lobbying at this amalgamation has actively tried to quell discourse in the United States and I just bring up right now the fact that Desmond Tutu Ben had his invitation revoked in Minneapolis at a university there after pressure from Jewish rabbis in the area that and again you can go example after example and from my own experience living at times in England and seeing very different portrayal of the West Bank and what we see here in terms of you know destruction of buildings and structures that you know again I would just like to ask all three people isn't it true at least we can get agreement and the fact that our discourse in the United States is really really limited in a way that is I think counterproductive it's also historically intolerance has been very bad for gyms thank you next question my name is Jose Osmond I'm an MIT alum I've noticed that support for the season thesis lines up with support for the underlying policy prescriptions that you would have the u.s. adopt or the opponents of your position would have us adopt doesn't this book ultimately derive from the repeated failure of the political echelon to adopt your policy prescriptions and there are a number of things that need to be addressed for example have you considered that maybe your policy is wrong have you considered that maybe you've been wrong about anything is it possible to disagree with you in good faith and you know I'd like to hear about some of these things because if you're going to allege that there's the sort of a diabolical Israeli Lobby then there has to be some sort of presumption of bad faith thank you next question the last one for this cluster okay hey I'm Peter Krause I'm a student here at MIT I saw the book as kind of trying to start two debates one being on the Israel lobby or lobbies and the extent to which they have influence within the United States the other being something that all three of you agree with which is whether the policies that are pushed for by the lobby are actually in the United States interests and what we should do about this kind of failed US policy within the Middle East one of the unfortunate things that I see the second debate is being far more important but it seems that the debate that everybody focus on it is the first is where is there an Israel lobby does it have influence whereas we don't spend too much time talking about what John concluded with which was what we should actually do in terms of our policy in the Middle East and how it should be changed so I guess I would asked you know are you disappointed in the fact that the focus seems to be on the first debate and how can we get to that second debate which I feel like is much more important I'll take the question on the bishop to new question and squelching of debate I think there's no doubt about it that the lobby goes to great lengths to squelch debate or to squelch criticism of Israeli policy criticism of the us-israeli relationship an open discussion about the power of the lobby itself Jewish Voice for Peace has a website entitled muzzle watch and on Jewish Voice for pieces muzzle watch they give all sorts of examples where people have tried to talk and have been stalked Bishop tutu is up there today if you read the piece that's into Coon magazine the most recent issue of tikkun magazine by rabbi Lerner on the Israel lobby he lists a whole series of examples where he has been prevented from talking Steve and I were both invited to go to Israel by URI of Nuri and he told us in the letter of invitation of instances where he has come to the United States and had all sorts of speaking engagements cancelled because his host came to realize that he was going to say things that they didn't want said in the United States but we could tell you all sorts of examples involving ourselves every place we go there's pressure brought to bear to cancel our talks not a replace I take that back MIT being the exception in that regard that's nice to hear but you all know what happened to us at the Chicago Council on global affairs City University of New York canceled our appearance and then two professors there tried to get it rescheduled and were unable to do it we were supposed to speak at Google last month and that talk was canceled and the person who's in charge of handling these google book events says it's the only case that he knows of in the history of Google were a book event was canceled we're trying to get that rescheduled but they're dragging their feet and I'd bet a lot of money it doesn't happen I could go on and on telling you examples and we're not the only people who come under this kind of pressure and it's a fundamentally different situation that exists in countries like Israel and countries in Europe especially Britain as Steve pointed out in his comments if you look at the media in Britain and you look at the media especially in Israel look at how it's it's just a much richer debate about all of these subjects than you find in the United States I mean the idea of an Arab American actually having a major column in that we heard time the Washington Post is laughable or an Arab American or anybody who's Pro Hara being on an Israeli peace team is laughable right as Aaron Miller who you know well who was on the peace team with you said that Dennis Ross himself Martin Indyk and others were all deeply committed to Israel basically acted as Israel's lawyers that's his language that they acted as Israel's lawyers during the Camp David negotiations this is the world that we live in and when people like us point out what is really obvious to anybody with a triple digit IQ right where it used to be raving anti-semites or having written the second coming of the protocols of the Elders of Zion right anyway lest this question was to try to find consensus so we can't get through so champion obviously I wouldn't be here if I didn't think that we should have this debate I support the notion of putting it on the table as I said at the beginning we're in a mess we need to figure out how we got there to come up with a better way out well I don't find very appealing is single simple solutions to explain the past or the future you can find all kinds of quotations but I have to all due respect to say one thing I was there I know what happened in December 2000 the hood Barack said yes this is a basis for a deal and I accepted Yasser Arafat said no he said it in a long-winded way don't look at what a White House press spokesman said on a day in order to provide spin all White House press spokesman's daily briefings or spin look at what the President himself wrote in his memoirs what everyone who participated in those conversations said our five said no Clinton said yes now I'm sorry Barack said yes please please yeah I think if you're looking for an area of agreement here today that in fact on the fundamentals of what is important to do next the three of us agree moving forward on the arab-israeli process on the basis of the Clinton parameters or something very close to that that's what their book says that's what I've heard them say here today and that's where I stand as well there was a doer two other questions one I think was sort of implying that we wrote the book because the world has not listened to our policy prescriptions over the years and we were we got angry and decided to write it write a book no I mean the fact of the matter is if you think about interest groups interest groups cause lots of dumb policies I think most people if they look at America's agriculture policy would say that the farm bill that gets passed every year is silly it's not in the American national interest and farmers by the way are about 2% of the American population but somehow we passed this farm bill that subsidizes the growing of corn and all sorts of other things and we all know it's kind of stupid but it happens because politically the farm lobby is pretty influential most people in this room I suspect would think that America's gun control policy or I should say lack of a gun control policy is not in the American national interest and it's not because 65% of the American population is a member of the NRA all right the NRA doesn't even represent in my view the views of the median gun owner let alone the median American but it's produced a policy outcome population as a member and our argument in the book is that the influence of the Israel lobby broadly defined and in particular the most influential parts of it has also led to policies that are not good for the country and that leads me to the floor for Israel or for Israel alright and that leads me to the last part the second the whole second half of the book is essentially answering that second question where we do look at our policy towards the israeli-palestinian conflict and policy towards Syria our policy in the Lebanon War Iraq has already been mentioned and it ran and in each of those cases our argument you don't have to accept it but our argument is the policy has first of all not been good for the United States but also in each one of these cases not being good for Israel as well alright and that the United States would be a better friend to Israel if we were more critical of what they were doing we would have been a better friend to Israel if we had never let the settlements project get underway a point that many Israelis now wish had happened if they've never begun never gone down that road very costly prolonged the conflict with the Palestinians undermine their international image substantially strategic and moral which is what Leon weaseled here called it all right we would have been a better friend if we had stopped that in the 60s or the 70s or the 80s or the 90s but of course the United States never put any serious leverage on Israel to stop building settlements you could make the same argument I would argue about the Lebanon War of summer 2006 where we did Israel no favors by prolonging the war allowing the war to continue instead of either getting them to adopt a different strategy going into it or getting a ceasefire very quickly and again I we argue in the book that that was largely due to the interventions of various groups in the lobby so the point is we deal at great length with the question of is it good for us and good for Israel and it's all in part two of the book Thanks we're gonna swing back to this side of the room please again identify yourself short sharp questions thank you my name is James Williamson formerly of the Lowell Institute a question for anybody but in I find that what Steve and John have laid out to be rather moderate and and actually rather cautious in a way and while I share your view I support the idea of a pragmatic solution that would involve a two-state solution I'd like to ask you to be a little more daring and address two aspects that Steve in particular mentioned in its present presentation the first is in what sense is Israel really a democratic state and secondly in what sense is there a right of an exclusively Jewish state to exist in Palestine because it seems to me that that really is a central core issue and a central core problem from which which has been the source of a lot of the rest of the difficulties that we're now struggling to find a compromise solution for thank you hi my name is Fred Dworkin I'm a member of the community and of the Jewish community as well as the American community I'm reminded of being at demonstrations sponsored by the cjp the main mainstream organization of the Jewish community here in Boston and then Israeli finally said to me in frustration you Americans you have no right to tell us what to do where Israelis and I look to her and with an amazed look I said honey you take our bucks you get our opinions my question is when we're talking about the lobby what we're talking about is what happens to the discourse in this country and who has powerful voices and I have a question for you sir I'm sorry I forget your name the man who worked with Clinton I was disturbed by some of the things I I was disturbed by a couple of your approaches that I see happening over and over again in the States one problem that I had and I'm sure that the short sharp question okay why did you say you set up straw man of what well and Bruce were saying and then you shot you were misquoting them and then you shot down what they said and I found that disturbing my other question is is that in this country that we don't look at an accurate picture of what Israel is doing in regards to the Palestinians to offer a settlement when you talk about Barak settlement that that includes large areas of the Palestinian country to be of the West Bank that are settlements where their connector roads back and forth where there is a 40 percent sorry but you really have to make this a question and then we have another question behind you that's not giving Palestinians a viable country and I wonder why in this country we can't say that in newspaper articles why you can't say that straightforwardly why that's not being presented thank you one more one more hello my name is Nicholas Kenny I'm a student at the Fletcher School and first of all I just want to thank you for having the courage to set off this debate I think it's extremely important and you represent for me the part of the best parts of academia in making us look hard at some tough issues I don't know if I agree with everything you said and one thing I might take issue with a little bit is this idea of it represented the the lobby representing Israeli opinion in general I just spent about a year there and as you are alluding to earlier the the debate there is much richer the points of view are much wider and my question is and this might be a more interesting research question if you want to write another book why why the default is this kind of liquid lobby I would I would call the laocoön Lobby not a Israel lobby and why the default of is to the the kind of right-wing views that we see thank you yeah I'll take the first question on Israel as a democracy in Israel is a Jewish state first of all in Israel is a democracy I think there's no question that it is a democracy I think it's a flawed democracies and that would be true of most democracies and the principle in the principled way in which it's a flawed democracy is by almost all accounts of the Israelis themselves the Palestinians and I'm talking here about the Palestinians who are citizens in Israel are treated as second-class citizens all you have to do is go back and read the or Commission report from a few years back to see that that is clearly the case but nevertheless I do think that otherwise it is a vibrant democracy and the claim that it's the only democracy in the Middle East is true the much trickier issue is the question of Israel as a Jewish state and let me make a number of points about that there's no question that it is a Jewish state in in that sense it's fundamentally different in the United States despite the fact that John McCain has recently been saying that the United States is a Christian State we are not a Christian state and that's a good thing we are a liberal state and we believe and I think it's a wonderful thing in the separation of church and state it's a secular state it's a it's a stereotypical liberal state the United States Israel does not fit that bill it's a Jewish state I feel a lot of sympathy for that because of the history of anti-semitism especially the Holocaust I think it's a good thing that there's a Jewish state given what's happened to Jews over time mainly at the hands of the Christian world not the Arab Islamic world but be that as it may I'm glad there's a Jewish state but it is a different kind of entity than the United States but if I think is the case that the United States is more of the exception than Israel is I think if you look around the world right there is this Germans state right this is this country called Germany and I remember when I was a little boy my mother told me my mother who is pure German in terms of background told me that she could go back to Germany and be accepted as a German citizen because you know her grandparents from God and those when came across the Atlantic Ocean from Germany at some particular point in time so was there was this sense of German this and you all know about the problems that Turks have in Germany becoming German citizens and so forth and so on but most states around the world are like that and they deserve our respect even though they're different than the United States so I think that the fact that Israel is a Jewish state is not necessarily a bad thing it's not the kind of country I'd like to live in I like living in a liberal state like the United States where church and state are are clearly separated but they've chosen to go a different way and it's not necessarily a bad thing with two major caveat one is I think that they should go to great not to treat the Palestinian citizens of Israel as second-class citizens and number two as we've stressed repeatedly here and I think Bruce and Steve and I are all in agreement I would assume most of the people in the audience are in agreement on this it's imperative that they treat the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in a fundamentally different way than they've been treating them up to now I just responded as the man who worked for Clinton the proposals the president put on the table in December 2000 would have led to the return of a hundred percent of Gaza 97 percent of the West Bank with swaps of land between 1 and 3 percent it was clear and it's in the proposals that the settlements in those areas to be turned over the Palestinians would have to go if they'd settle ours individually chose to stay in a Palestinian Authority that would be their decision in the Palestinian Authority's decision as to what would happen to them but it was inherent in those proposals that the settlements rode activity in the area turned over to an independent Palestinian state would end now instead of debating history here which we've done back and forth let me point to a different fly one of the most important things about what's been going on in Israel in the last couple of years is that an overwhelming majority of Israelis have now come around to the conclusion that something like the Clinton proposal is the right way to go forward the hood Olmert was elected prime minister two years ago largely on the commitment to withdraw from the West Bank now his mishandling of the situation in Lebanon destroyed his capacity to do that but when I look forward to 2009 when I look forward to 2009 I take some measure of optimism from the fact that I think there is now a broad consensus among many Israelis that that should be the basis upon which an agreement goes forward last point I think that the gentleman who talked about a lipid Lobby put his finger very much on the right place if you want to talk about who has had influence in opposing moving process forward it is through the coudé party the coudé politicians and their sympathizers in the United States that I think is a more realistic understanding of the essence of the problem I believe the United States should actively be supporting those political parties in Israel as 40:1 did with Itzhak Rabine and Clinton did with a hood Barak who want to move the post process forward what I think is the great deficiency of Bush 43 is that he stood back and let laocoön politicians call the tune yeah three three quick points I hope this was in response to the last question certainly there many of the most important and influential groups to the lobby do not represent the views of many Israelis do not resent represent the views of many Jewish Americans I tried to make make that clear and I agree with Bruce's point about we have had a situation where the most important groups in the lobby like AIPAC have tended to be lined up with the more hardline elements but I don't think one should see you know the usual stereotype that there are these bad guys in the la cude and there are these good guys in the Labor Party for example and if just the Labor Party were back in power they would immediately go to a two-state solution get out of all the occupied territories that's again I think reading of what Labor's position has been in the past second there are a number of cases and Bruce alluded to them where there were rifts between the American government and Israeli politicians and groups in the lobby Rabine didn't like AIPAC very much for example but it's worth noting that if you go and read slow mo Ben amis book scars of war wounds appeal it's really foreign minister he points out that the two American presidents who did the most for Middle East peace where Jimmy Carter and George W Bush and he explains why he's as those were the two presidents who were most willing to stand up to the Israeli Lobby all right that's love enemy talking not just me finally I want to underscore a point that Bruce made but it was a point that I actually was trying to make too and that is that this is a loose coalition and there's a lot of heterogeneity within it right Americans for peace now is not the same as say the Zionist Organization of America or god forbid and I mean that literally Christians United for Israel but the point is the most well-funded influential politically connected groups right tend to be on the hardline end of the spectrum so again if you read the conclusions of the book we say look apart from campaign finance reform which we will go to our graves all waiting for and would deal with all special interest groups the only thing in the near term to hope for is either a change in the balance of power within this coalition so that groups like Israel Policy Forum are suddenly more influential which i think is an uphill fight or one could hope for a change in the views of the major organizations all right there's nothing wrong with having a politically influential pro-israel community in the United States if it was pushing for policies that were good for the United States and good for Israel our view is of course that the major the most important organizations have been pushing policies that are unintentionally harmful to both countries all right but I don't have a problem with that there being a powerful pro-israel community I just wish it was pushing a set of policies that were smarter thanks very much Steve well as we anticipated and as you all understand we've reached the end of our allotted time and so I have to apologize for those of you still in the queue who would like to have had a chance to ask questions that we can't accommodate you and I am very sorry about that but I would like to thank Annie Allen Dante Michelle nooch Casey Johnson Houlihan for their staff work on making this event possible and especially I want to thank our speakers each of them for really what was a remarkable convocation you

41 thoughts on “The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy debate at MIT

  1. Based on the title alone I am COMPELLED to say that 911, like so many other egregious CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY BEFORE IT, was NOT the "product of bad policies". Quite to the CONTRARY – such 'policies' where put into place to CREATE THE 'SAFE SPACE DEFENSE' of plausible deniability in the UNLIKELY event any of the perpetrators and co-conspirators were ever 'at risk' of exposure to liability AT ALL. It has NOTHING to do with incompetence or inadvertence. It is quite intentional, including any and all vagueness in wording. Add to that the nasty little component of meanings of words being flipped ALWAYS to our disadvantage, and you have just explained to yourself how and why so many positions of influence are held by a NETWORK of CAREER CRIMINALS who INTENDED TO CAUSE HARM BY ABUSING THEIR OFFICES, etc.

    We have a remedy for that. It's called EXECUTION. And where a PUBLIC OFFICIAL is involved, FORFEITURE OF PUBLIC OFFICE – FOLLOWED BY EXECUTION WHERE THE CRIME INVOKES THE PUNISHMENT.

    SHOW THEM NO MERCY, FOR THEY HAVE SHOWN NONE AND SO DESERVE NONE!!

  2. i am responding to a post at most posted jan. 11, 2017…please copy all postings and responses if you care. ty

  3. There is no doubt that Osama Bin Laden's organization, Al-Qaeda, or the Foundation, was directly behind the 9/11 attacks.  The group poses a serious and substantial threat to not only national interests, but potentially poses an existential threat to the Western way of life.  There was a conspiracy, but it was a conspiracy hatched and perpetrated by Muslims whose strategic vanguard sought to lure Western might into a series of wars where it would either engage the West in fights with the toughest Muslim fighters (ie, Pashtuns of the Taliban) and use US might to take out the regimes oppressing Al-Qaeda, ie, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia where they would then use a mix of asymmetrical tactics  (and for AQI, ISIL provoke sectarian conflicts that would cause a US military unwilling to sit in the crossfire to leave), generally inviting anarchy and looking to influence the US populace with terror so that when US leaves they can impose Sharian law as a means to create order.  Reading Bin Laden and the intercepts of Al-Qaeda and ISIL, their strategy has evolved over time, but its clear they had a long-term strategic vision that in effect, used our disproportionate strength to their advantage.  Al-Qaeda had no chance of overthrowing Saddam, Gaddafi or Assad, but the US did.  It did have a chance of getting the US to leave once Saddam was defeated by a mix of insurgency and also a propaganda war where 9/11 was alleged to be an inside job to weaken Allied resolve while death tolls, body counts and chaos were used to present the case for an unwinnable war even as the war fighting was won and insurgency crushed by the surge.  Unfortunately, with domestic politics in mind, Obama pulled us out and AQI, and in partnership with surviving remnants of the Ba'athist regime, rebranded and restructured as ISIL and moved in to challenge the Shi'ite dominated Iraqi government by establishing a Caliphate in Mosul.  The problem is, that while our enemy studied us closely, seeing the Muslim world as a whole in the formulation of their strategy, the West for purposes of political correctness, avoided seeing the Muslim world as a whole and crafting a long term strategy accordingly to confront the ideology and asymmetrical capabilities of the enemy.  This will not be the case after Jan. 20th.  The networks creating these problems will be wrapped up, asses will be kicked, names will be taken and the enemy will be defeated by a combination of lethal precision and overwhelming force.

  4. MANDATORY HISTORY OF ZIONIST ISRAELI SUBTERFUGE
    UPDATING Zionist mayhem & murder;
    Zionist Jewish Israeli strategists spelled it out VERY CLEARLY in 1997 with their predictive paper; "A CLEAN BREAK."
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1438.html

  5. SCHOLAR JAMES PETRAS; "HILLARY IS AN ISRAELI SPY."

    Hillary Clinton’s entire political career has been intimately dependent
    on Zionist money, Zionist mass media propaganda and Zionist Democratic
    Party operations.

    In exchange for Clinton’s dependence on political support from the
    Zionist power configuration in the US, she would have become the major conduit
    of confidential information from the US to Israel and the transmission belt
    promoting Israel-centric policies within the US government.
     
    The entire complex of Clinton-Israel linkages and correspondences has
    compromised the US intelligence services, the State Department and
    Pentagon.

    Secretary Clinton went to extraordinary lengths to serve Israel, even
    undermining the interests of the United States.
     
    http://www.ifamericansknew.org/us_ints/clintonspy.html

  6. The Jesuit Order from Georgetown planned 9/11 under orders from Rome and through Jesuit alumni like Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Michael Copps, Robert Gates, Viet Dinh and others. Jesuit alumni disproportionately dominate leadership positions in US military and intelligence which operate at the Pentagon. The Farnese family created the Jesuits as a military order and lived in a pentagon.

    The Farnese family established the Jesuits in 1540 under the Papal Bull; Regimini Militantis Ecclesiae or Military Regiment of the Church. Militaries use generals. The Jesuit leader is called the "Superior General" The Farnese family were a papal nobility and military family who lived in a pentagonal fortress. They merged with the Bourbons of Spain creating the Princes of Bourbon-Parma.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Farnese

    House of Farnese

    The Jesuits were created by the Papal Bloodline Farnese during the reign of Farnese Pope Paul III.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_Farnese

    The Villa Farnese

    The pentagonal fortress foundations, constructed probably between 1515 and 1530,[2]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regimini_militantis_Ecclesiae

    Regimini militantis Ecclesiae (Latin for To the Government of the Church Militant) was the papal bull promulgated by Pope Paul III on September 27, 1540, which gave a first approval to the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits,

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superior_General_of_the_Society_of_Jesus

    The Superior General of the Society of Jesus is the official title of the leader of the Society of Jesus—the Roman Catholic religious order, also known as the Jesuits.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elvina_Pallavicini

    Born Elvina dei Medici del Vascello

    Princess (Italian: principessa) Elvina Pallavicini (22 January 1914 – 29 August 2004) was an Italian noblewoman, member of the Pallavicini family,

    She was also actively involved in politics, in particular, supporting the policies of the US Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.[6]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viet_D._Dinh

    Viet D. Dinh (Vietnamese: Đinh Đồng Phụng Việt; born February 22, 1968) is a lawyer and a conservative legal scholar[1] who served as an Assistant Attorney General of the United States from 2001 to 2003, under the presidency of George W. Bush.

    he was the chief architect of the USA PATRIOT Act and is a former member of the Board of Directors of News Corporation.[3][4]

    He currently resides in Washington, D.C., teaches at Georgetown University Law Center

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Tenet

    George John Tenet (born January 5, 1953) was the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) for the United States Central Intelligence Agency, and he is Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.

    After the September 11 attacks, many observers criticized the Intelligence Community for numerous "intelligence failures" as one of the major reasons why the attacks were not prevented.[28]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Copps

    Michael Joseph Copps (born April 23, 1940) is a former Commissioner of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an independent agency of the United States government. He was sworn in on May 31, 2001 and served until December 31, 2011.

    He was a professor of history at Loyola University New Orleans

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyola_University_New_Orleans

    Loyola University New Orleans is a private, co-educational, and Jesuit university located in New Orleans, Louisiana.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Communications_Commission

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency of the United States government, created by Congressional statute (see 47 U.S.C. § 151 and 47 U.S.C. § 154) to regulate interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Rumsfeld

    Donald Henry Rumsfeld (born July 9, 1932) is an American politician and businessman. Rumsfeld served as the 13th Secretary of Defense from 1975 to 1977 under President Gerald Ford, and as the 21st Secretary of Defense from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush.

    Rumsfeld was crucial in planning the United States' response to the September 11 attacks, which included two wars, one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq.

    He attended Case Western Reserve University School of Law and Georgetown University Law Center, but did not graduate.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Hikma_University_(Baghdad)

    Al-Hikma University (Arabic: جامعة الحكمة‎‎) was a university in Baghdad founded in 1956 by members of the New England Province of the Society of Jesus.

    The university was seized by the government of Iraq and its student body was transferred to the University of Baghdad.

    Four American Jesuits were sent to Iraq in 1932 at the request of Pope Pius XI, upon the urging of the Patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, as the Kingdom of Iraq prepared for its independence from Great Britain.[2] There they founded Baghdad College, which soon became known as an institution of academic excellence.[3]

    The college was seized, along with all the Jesuit's property, by the government the following year, and the foreign faculty was also expelled.

  7. RIGGED MORE RIGGED MOST RIGGED in america is everything rigged, is their anything else than corruption and death that america stands for?
    Mr Bernie Sanders, as a JEW, is the HOPE for all people of the world not to be enslaved by the Money Changers (JEWS). Because he is a GOOD HUMAN BEING. I hope that he will not be killed like JFK for being NOT CORRUPT. But nothing will change until the American people face the TRUTH about 9/11, they did it, the owners and real rulers of America, the owners of Federal reserve (JEWS).

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has spoken out against US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, calling her a “war hawk with bad judgment” who gets an “emotional rush out of killing people.”
    “A vote today for Hillary Clinton is a vote for endless, stupid war,”

  8. Be sure to thank them for terrorists, legitimate hatred on planet, past and future wars, possible Third World War through Iran's allies, they will pull the temple down upon us all as we pick up check for it. Can't watch anymore! How controlled are we!

  9. Another state's terrorist lobby choosing OUR leaders and demanding YOUR money for genocide and manufacturing our destruction and Palestinians extinction? WTF

  10. No not all. The Church of Jesus Christ is the only true church on the earth and is the ONLY one with the priesthood of god.

  11. Remember they have done the unthinkable, focused attention at the USA Mega Power Lobby, don't expect analysis of 911, they know at the it was a strange event that didn't add up. what is was all about nobody will ever know for certain.

  12. I see there is ANOTHER great book exposing the Hoax of the Holocaust.(c) "Breaking the Spell" by Nicholas Kollerstrom shows that Brits cracked the German Enigma code and well knew of communications from the camps. Did the Nazis talk about how many Jews they killed that day? Heck no. In fact quite the opposite. How the goal and the ORDERS were to keep the Jews as healthy and happy as possible and get as much work out of them as possible. It was the gulags of the USSR controlled by Jews where they would work people till dead.

    Dr. Nicholas Kollerstrom
    In 1941, British Intelligence analysts cracked the German "Enigma" code. This undermined the German war effort—but also threw new light on day-by-day events in the Nazi concentration camp system.
    Between January 1942 and January 1943, encrypted radio communications between those camps and the Berlin headquarters were intercepted and decrypted. Oddly enough, historians have largely ignored the information furnished in these intercepts relating to "arrivals," "departures," recorded deaths and other events at these camps.
    The only reasonable explanation for this embarrassing omission is that the intercepted data seriously contradicts, even refutes, the orthodox "Holocaust" narrative. The revealed information does not expose a program of mass murder and racial genocide.
    Quite the opposite: it reveals that the Germans were determined, desperate even, to reduce the death rate in their work camps, which was caused by catastrophic typhus epidemics.
    Were the British here hoodwinked by the Nazis, as some historians to this day try to claim-or is the truth both simpler and more shocking? In 1988 and 1991 forensic studies threw light on the question of whether or not the claimed gas chambers at Auschwitz had served as slaughter houses for hundreds of thousands of people.
    Both studies had concluded that the only facilities where Zyklon B gas had been used were hygienic rather than homicidal, killing bugs rather than Jews. Needless to say that these iconoclastic studies were ignored or in some countries even outlawed, and that their authors were ostracized and even imprisoned.
    Dr. Kollerstrom, a science historian, has taken these studies, which are in obvious, stark contrast to the widely accepted narrative, as a starting point for his own endeavour into the land of taboo.
    After he had published a brief paper summarizing what he thought the data forced him to conclude, he was thrown out of his College where he had been a member of staff for eleven years. In his new book "Breaking the Spell," Dr. Kollerstrom shows that "witness statements" supporting the human gas chamber narrative clearly clash with the available scientific data.
    He juxtaposes the commonly accepted ideas about a Nazi extermination policy toward the Jews with a wide array of mostly unchallenged, but usually unmentioned evidence pointing in a quite different direction:
    Zyklon B is a buzz word for the claimed Nazi mass murder, but all non-anecdotal evidence proves that this chemical was merely used as a pesticide in order to improve the inmates' health and reduce, not increase, camp mortality.
    – The Auschwitz camp authorities kept meticulous records of who died in the camp and why. A statistical analysis of the data does not match the kind of data to be expected, if the widespread view of what transpired in that camp were true.
    – The UK's intelligence decrypts prove that the German camp authorities were desperately trying to save their inmates' lives.
    – Zyklon B applied in delousing chambers formed chemical compounds detectable to this day. No such compounds can be found, but ought to be expected, in the claimed homicidal gas chambers.
    – "Six Million Jews threatened or killed": read 167 quotes from newspapers with that "news" spanning from 1900 to 1945, with a peak after World War ONE! Yes, one, not two!
    – A British archaeological team looked for traces of the claimed 800,000 victims of the Treblinka camp-and came back empty-handed.
    Dr. Kollerstrom concludes that the history of the Nazi "Holocaust" has been written by the victors with ulterior motives and that this history is distorted, exaggerated and largely wrong.
    He asserts that this history is, in truth, a great lie that distorts our common perceived reality and misdirects human history to this very day.
    With a foreword by Prof. em. Dr. James H. Fetzer.

  13.   When these speakers talk of the American people, he means that the republicans that supported Bush, no master what, just as they are pushing president Obama to get more involved in Iraq and Syria even now.  No one is asking those that are pushing for more American involvement, who they are working for.  We do the fighting and the dying and they rake in the profits and then the Republicans can use the incurred debt for their own political purposes as they push for even more government revenues.  God only knows what conflict the Republicans will get the US into.  It could well be the Bush administration all over again.

  14. google "strange collapse of the spire".
    structural steel doesn't normally disintegrate 
    but somehow it did – on 9-11-01 at the wtc – as the videos clearly show.
    that alone is sufficient evidence to prove that
    something beyond physical impact and burning jet fuel
    was responsible for the nightmare which occurred
    at that specific time and place.
    think for yourself and 
    DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS.
    post a comment if you like and then DISABLE REPLIES.
    (no sense in arguing with a paid disinformation agent or a moron)

  15. wake up america it was an inside job and now your gov wants to disarm you your last line of defence against a corrupt government come on wake up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Israel is no better than the Third Reich in comparison to what Israel is doing to the Palestinians.  Also, just like Germans who stood by and watched as Hitler did his killing and mayhem to the Jews, todays Israeli citizens who stand by and watch or condone what the Zionist are doing to the Palestinians are just as wrong and guilty as the Germans were.

  17. The cowboys who fucked up  the adventure in Iraq were simply not competent enough to pull off 911 and get away with it.
    It was (sometimes willful) negligence, not an inside job.

  18. actually, this IS a christian State, founded, one Nation UNDER GOD, with a separation of church and state.  You are German and come from Facism. How are you an american authority on these subject?

  19. I think you are missing my point/opinion. I a not saying you are wrong or against your view. I am suggesting other avenues of evil may be in play as is usually the case. Keep up the hunt!

  20. Really ? And of course we only have the Governments say so and lord knows they would never ever lie to us PLEASE READ THE PNAC.. written by none other the Philp Zelicow Bag Boy for the CFR in it he lay's out the plan in plain English . I'm only amazed they didn't wait but rushed it alone out of fear real fact's would have surfaced. but to suggest any hostile aircraft got within 20 miles of our Pentagon is naive considering it's automated defense systems not to mention.what we spend on it.NO-WAY

  21. I'm appalled at how many good and honest people just flat out refuse to OPEN THERE EYE'S . You people really think 19 terrorist slipped into the USA then went to party like it was 1984 and with Box cutters got into the cabins of nonstop flights that at any other time prior to and after were all fully loaded EXCEPT on that day, not one being even 1/3 passenger loaded managed to fly aircraft like fighter pilots . and NOT one alert aircraft sent up ? How many different ways can you say HORSE SHIT

  22. yeah, and not a single one footage from anyone around it. And people still forget how fucking hard it is to make a building fall straight down. That is why controled demolition takes so much planning, no damage will achieve the precise movement of fallen building as controled demolition

  23. Have you ever seen the photograph of 'building #7' with the one side of it just completely destroyed for ten or twenty stories or more? You are a liar, Michael Laverty.

  24. hah, hah, hah, two morons talking and a bunch of morons agreeing with them hah, hah, hah, go look in the mirror and see the idiot.

  25. Well he may have had a part to play. He could very well have been playing the part of the evil terrorist. He was after all, connected with the US military and C.I.A. To suggest he had nothing to do with it is a dangerous assumption. As to what part he played, we do not currently know. However, it seems to me, he accepted his role as the cover villain. IMO.

  26. I'm shocked and truly disgusted that these obviously intelligent men would continue to openly suggest Osama bin laden had anything to do with 9/11 . Can you imagine these men want you to think kerosene dropped the Tower's into there own basements in 56 minutes then 10 hrs later ole #7 .Anyone who thinks some terrorist had jack to do with 9/11 knows nothing about what had to take place for it to happen at all not to mention the timely experts who were pointing a finger before the fires were out.

  27. The true will of Israeli citizens, Jews and non-Jews, has been commandeered by the ZIONISTS, The Israeli version of our NEO-CONS.
    Neither group respects any religion, except for it's usefulness in controlling and manipulating the public. They both have the same goals of Power, Greed, and Control; The same disdain for the International Criminal Courts and World Law.

  28. We veto all efforts by the UN and ICC to go after Israel for the war crimes and human rights violations perpetrated upon the Palestinians. After what our government has been doing for decades, we try not to draw attention to ourselves, lest we be held accountable for OUR atrocities and war crimes. Don't forget: 9/11 was an INSIDE JOB!

  29. That's a little too harsh a punishment for the majority of OCT supporters, who have been lied to and deliberately mislead! Further, they have been victimized, as the rest of the world has, by a massively funded cover-up and propaganda campaign, orchestrated and characterized by the enthusiastic participation of virtually EVERY member of Congress and all major TV, radio and newspaper organizations. Journalists and scientists have seen their careers and their honor usurped by GREED and POLITICS.

  30. An aggrseeive state who forces peoples from their lands? Why should the oppressed continuously be forced from their lands? They were suppressed, they were there in the first place, They(the jews) were shipped in ! within our lifetime we saw the ethnic cleansing of a population and still see it. unconditional support of israel is no longer in the interests of the world population.

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