Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, June 1993, Page 70
Deliberate Deceptions: Facing the Facts About The U.S.-Israeli Relationship
By Paul Findley. Lawrence Hill Books, 1993, 312 pp. List: $14.95; AET: $12.95.
Reviewed by Richard H. Curtiss
This is the second expose of U.S.-Middle East policies by former Congressman Paul Findley, author of They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby. Like Findley's first book, this one will become a major weapon in the battle within the United States to break Israel's iron grip on the U.S. Treasury.
In fact, Deliberate Deceptions may provide the missing ingredient for a successful "magic bullet" vaccine against the epidemic of disinformation about Israel and the Palestinians that has immobilized American public opinion for so long. The book, in "fallacy" and "fact" format, is the latest wave in a rising tide of objective U.S. histories of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, memoirs and exposes by Israeli authors of what really happened in 1948 and 1967 to create the Palestinian refugees, and inside accounts of how Israel's U.S. lobbyists and volunteers have constructed seemingly unassailable congressional and media strongpoints to suppress informed debate on U.S. Middle East policy.
This book is so extraordinarily useful because it utilizes what has been published before to provide all Americans, from the best-informed syndicated columnist to the most confused and angry taxpayer, the means to support efforts by future U.S. presidents to check Israeli excesses by attaching conditions to Israel's financial aid.
Deliberate Deceptions is derived largely from a remarkable "handbook" maintained over two decades by former Time correspondent Donald Neff, author of three books on contemporary Middle East history. Author Findley, a former newspaper editor and Republican member of the House of Representatives for 22 years, drew on Neff's voluminous database to address 28 fallacies about Israel, its history, and its relationship with the U.S.
In doing so, Findley utilized a format akin to that of Myths and Facts, an annual publication of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Israel's principal Washington lobby. Whereas the AIPAC book carefully words its "myths" so that they can be refuted, however, Findley has chosen actual statements by Israeli officials, their U.S. apologists, or AIPAC itself for his "fallacies."
Starting with an overview paragraph or page, Deliberate Deceptions devotes a separate chapter to each basic fallacy. Each chapter then breaks down separate components of the misstatement or misrepresentation of history with carefully documented and elaborately footnoted statements of fact.
Findley's quotations are selective, but they also are definitive and from respected and informed sources. The results are devastating refutations of such statements as that quoted in Chapter One from early Zionist Israel Zangwill who, in 1897, described Palestine as "the land without people for the people without a land." Even 20 years later, at the time of the Balfour Declaration in 1917, after the first two major waves of Zionist immigration had arrived, there were only 60,000 Jews living in Palestine among 600,000 Palestinian Arabs.
The second fallacy with which Findley deals is a 1975 statement by then-Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir that, when Israel was proclaimed in 1948, "we were, of course, totally unprepared for war." In fact, the book makes clear, two weeks after the May 15, 1948 proclamation of the state of Israel, its forces had seized 400 square miles of the territory allotted to the Palestinians by the U.N. partition plan and, according to a June 1 Israeli government communique, "the territory of the State of Israel is entirely free of invaders. "
Chapter Three's 1949 statement by Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, that "there are no refugees—there are fighters who sought to destroy us, root and branch" is refuted by United Nations documents of the same year. In late 1949 the U. N. reported that well over half of the Palestinians, 726,000 of the total population of 1.2 million, had been uprooted from their homes and turned into refugees, with another 25,000 "borderline" cases not included in the count.
Arab sources maintain that the true figure was closer to one million. Even former Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Rafael Eytan reported that "the real number was close to 800,000." The figures expose the fallaciousness of Ben-Gurion's claim, unless the nearly two-thirds of Palestine's total population who were driven out of their homes and not allowed to return all were "fighters." Similar fallacies are refuted concerning the additional 323,000 Palestinians driven from their homes in 1967, of whom 113,000 were second-time refugees, having lost their original homes inside Israel's "Green Line" in 1948 before being driven out again in 1967 after Israeli forces occupied the remaining areas of Palestine.
Chapter Four, dealing with the Suez war of 1956, tellingly refutes the frequently heard claim that all of Israel's wars were forced upon it. Findley quotes President Dwight Eisenhower's instructions to Secretary of State John Foster Dulles when Ike learned of Israel's sneak attack, supported by France and the U.K., on Egypt: "Foster, you tell 'em ... we're going to apply sanctions, we're going to the United Nations, we're going to do everything that there is so we can stop this thing. "
Eisenhower biographer Stephen E. Ambrose later wrote: "Eisenhower's insistence on the primacy of the U.N., of treaty obligations, and of the rights of all nations gave the United States a standing in world opinion it had never before achieved ... The introduction of the American [cease-fire] resolution to the U.N. was, indeed, one of the great moments in U.N. history. "
A Poignant Contrast
Such quotations make a poignant contrast to the aftermath of the 1967 war when, during Lyndon Johnson's presidency, "Israel did not suffer any U.S. pressure to surrender its gains," according to Findley. The book also convincingly refutes former Israeli Ambassador Abba Eban's statement to the U.N. that "Arab governments ... methodically prepared and mounted an aggressive assault designed to bring about Israel's immediate and total destruction" in 1967, and then-U.S. Ambassador to Israel Walworth Barbour's statement in the same year that the Israeli government "has no, repeat no, intention of taking advantage of the situation to enlarge its territory. "
Findley quotes then-Israeli Chief of Staff Yitzhak Rabin's 1968 statement that "I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it"; former Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion's statement that he doubted "very much whether Nasser wanted to go to war"; and Israeli cabinet member Mordecai Bentove's statement in 1972 that Israel's "entire story" about "the danger of extermination" was "invented of whole cloth and exaggerated after the fact to justify the annexation of new Arab territories. "
Further, Findley points out: "the captured territory increased Israel's control of land from the original 5,900 square miles awarded it in the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan to 20,870 square miles. Despite Israel's initial promise in 1967 that it sought no territory, it immediately moved to expel Palestinians and establish Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, including Arab East Jerusalem."
The usefulness of Findley's information to professional writers or to concerned readers preparing a letter to the editor is enhanced by the footnotes attributing the statements he quotes to one or more original sources, drawn from Neff's database. One by one Findley and Neff attack the fallacies still purveyed as "facts" not only by AIPAC and official Israeli government statements, but by many American journalists as well. Taking them chapter by chapter, readers of Deliberate Deceptions will find:
Chapter Six deals with fallacious statements by former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin that U.N. Security Council Resolution 242's land-for-peace resolution does not negate the claim that "the land of Israel belongs by right to the Jewish People"; former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Arthur Goldberg's claim that the resolution "speaks of withdrawal from occupied territories without defining the extent of withdrawal"; and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's 1979 statement that the resolution "required negotiations between the parties. " All such Israeli claims, including those to East Jerusalem, Findley points out, are refuted by the resolution's preambulatory paragraph emphasizing "the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. "
Israeli claims of innocence in the leadup to the "War of Attrition" from 1969 to 1970 and the October War of 1973 are addressed with two points. Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir's aim in this period, in the words of one of her grudging admirers, U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, was "to gain time, for the longer there was no change in the status quo, the more Israel would be confirmed in the possession of the occupied territories." Findley adds his own comment: "Often forgotten is the fact that the 1973 war was fought, as had been the War of Attrition before it, solely on occupied Arab land. No combat took place inside Israel. "
Chapter Nine deals with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin's claim during the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon that "we don't covet even one inch of Lebanese territory," and Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon's statement that the Lebanon operation "will take about 12 hours" but "I don't know how matters will develop, so I suggest we view it in terms of 24 hours." Findley quotes from the diary of former Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharrett recording a 1955 discussion with then Prime Minister Ben-Gurion about Lebanon in which Israeli Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan said:
"The only thing that's necessary is to find an officer, even just a major. We should either win his heart or buy him with money, to make him agree to declare himself the savior of the Maronite population. Then the Israeli army will enter Lebanon, will occupy the necessary territory, and will create a Christian regime which will ally itself with Israel. The territory from the Litani southward will be totally annexed to Israel and everything will be all right. "
One by one Findley and Neff attack the fallacies still purveyed as “facts.”
Dealing briefly with pretensions to peace by Likud governments, which held power in Israel for 11 of the years between 1977 and 1992, and shared power with the Labor Party for the other four years from 1984 to 1988, Findley reveals their undeviating goal of securing "the whole of the ancient homeland west of the Jordan for the Jewish people." He thus shames all of Israel's American apologists who insisted during those periods that they were defending the U.S.-initiated "peace process" at the same time they were defending Likud prime ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir, whose own statements revealed their determination not to trade even "one inch" of land for peace.
In his chapter on "die intifada," the fallacies are provided by a 1989 AIPAC statement describing Israel's administration of the West Bank and Gaza as "comparatively benign," and a 1990 statement by then-U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Richard Schifter that "there is no doubt in my mind that Israel is being held to a higher standard than others. "
Schifter, originally a Reagan administration Republican political appointee who now has resurfaced as a Clinton administration Democratic political appointee, is refuted by the book's citations from 12 separate U.S., U.N., EC and private human rights reports describing in detail Israel's "excessive gunfire and restrictions on worship," "an unrestrained epidemic of violence by the army and police," "bureaucratic obstruction ... to limit medical care," and injuries "inflicted in a systematic fashion by Israeli troops."
Refuting statements that Jewish citizens of Israel "do not have more rights than their non-Jewish fellows," Findley cites a statement by former Israeli Foreign Minister Yigael Allon that "the fact that an Arab minority lives within the country does not make it a multinational state. " Findley also cites recommendations of the Koenig Report, named after its author, Israeli Interior Ministry official Israel Koenig, that "to encourage their emigration" Palestinian Arab students be permitted to study abroad "while making the return and employment more difficult," and that the Israeli government give "preferential treatment to Jewish groups or individuals rather than to Arabs."
Turning to the fallacy that, in the words of former Democratic Representative Stephen J. Solarz of New York in 1985, "it is self-interest that sustains the close U.S.-Israeli relationship and not the exercise of raw power by any lobbying group," Findley cites AIPAC's annual budget of $15 million, its offices in eight U.S. cities, its dues-paying membership of 50,000, and its endorsements of political candidates that result "in contributions from the nearly 100 pro-Israel political action committees around the country."
The number of pro-Israel PACs Findley cites is, in fact, an understatement, since of the more than 125 pro-Israel PACs established since 1976, 116 have been active at one time or another. Findley's knowledge of AIPAC's power comes from bitter personal experience. After he began to advocate better relations with Arab countries and U.S. dialogue with the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel's lobby worked feverishly to defeat him in three successive Illinois campaigns.
AIPAC mobilized out-of-state student volunteers to flood Findley's district and ring doorbells. One of them, Rahm. Emmanuel, now is White House political director for President Bill Clinton. In its successful third try in 1982, AIPAC funded the campaign of Democrat Richard Durbin to run against Findley in a congressional district that had been gerrymandered to include heavily Democratic Peoria, and to exclude both Findley's hometown and the town where he still co-owned a local newspaper. As further proof of the astonishing power and persistence of Israel's U.S. lobby, Findley cites a conversation in which Admiral Thomas Moorer, then chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Israeli military attach6 Mordecai Gur that the U.S. could not give Israel warplanes equipped with the Maverick air-to-land antitank missiles because the U.S. had only one squadron of such planes and Congress "would raise hell" if the Pentagon gave it away.
"You get the airplanes; I'll take care of Congress," Gur told Moorer. Describing that conversation, Moorer added: "And he did. I've never seen a president—I don't care who he is—stand up to diem. It just boggles your mind. They always get what they want."
In another example, Findley cites a naked threat during the October 1973 war from Israeli Ambassador Simcha Dinitz to Nixon administration Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that "if a massive American airlift to Israel does not start immediately, then I'll know that the United States is reneging on its promises and its policy, and we will have to draw very serious conclusions from all this." Kissinger biographers Bernard and Marvin Kalb said of the threat: "Dinitz did not have to translate his message. Kissinger quickly understood that the Israelis would soon 'go public' and that an upsurge of pro-Israeli sentiment could have a disastrous impact upon an already weakened administration. "
AIPAC's Idea of a Bargain
Refuting a 1983 AIPAC statement that, "comparatively speaking, aid to Israel is a bargain," Findley notes that "between 1949 and the end of 1991, the U.S. government provided Israel with $53 billion in aid and special benefits" and that, as other U.S. foreign aid has decreased, U.S. aid to Israel has increased astronomically. "We have poured foreign aid into Israel for decades at rates and terms given to no other nation on earth," Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia said on the Senate floor, after he had decided not to run for re-election. "And we are the only nation to have done so."
Byrd also cited special privileges accorded to Israel, but to no other country, such as payment of Israel's entire economic and military support assistance at the beginning of each fiscal year instead of in quarterly installments, meaning the U.S. pays $86 million in additional interest on the money borrowed; restructuring Israel's debts to the U.S. to reduce the amount of interest Israel pays on them; a "fair pricing" arrangement that enables Israel to avoid administrative fees normally charged on U.S. military sales to foreign countries; and a provision for Israel only that enables it to spend $475 million of its annual $1.8 billion U.S. military assistance grant with its own defense industries instead of for American-made products.
Moreover, Byrd pointed out, Israelis are allowed to spend an additional $150 million of their U.S. military aid on their own research and development projects in the U.S., and from $60 million to $126 million per year on development of the Arrow antimissile defense system in Israel. The latter project will develop technology Israel hopes to sell back to the U.S. and to other countries in competition with America's own defense industries.
Findley's book notes also that the only other major recipient of U.S. grant aid besides Israel is Egypt. "Substantial aid to Egypt began as a reward when that government concluded its 1979 peace agreement with Israel," Findley explains. Moreover, unlike all other U.S. aid recipients, including Egypt, only Israel "receives all of its economic aid as a contribution that goes directly into its general budget, without any accountability at all."
U.S. Aid on Israel's Behalf
The U.S., Findley reports, has used its foreign aid funds on Israel's behalf in other ways as well. "Only public warnings that the United States would refuse to pay its share of U.N. costs has kept the rest of the nations from expelling Israel from the world body as 'not a peace-loving state.' And only the repeated use in recent years of the once rare U.S. veto has protected Israel from stiff U.N. sanctions aimed at making it comply with Security Council resolutions. "
Findley's book provides documentation to refute the fallacy, expressed by former Senator Robert Kasten (R-WI), that the $10 billion in U.S. loan guarantees requested by Israel over a five-year period I I are humanitarian assistance at no cost to American taxpayers." In fact there is no way to keep the money being added to the Israeli treasury each year from being used to finish or finance Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, although five successive U.S. presidents, from Nixon through Bush, called the settlements "an obstacle to peace." Similarly, the U.S. taxpayer will be liable for both principal and interest on the loans if Israel defaults, as seems almost certain given the country's extremely precarious financial position. Israel claims it never has defaulted on a U.S. loan. The fact is that Israel never has repaid a U.S. loan because of the U.S. Congress's proclivity to keep aid to Israel high enough to cover interest on its loans, and eventually to forgive them entirely.
Findley quotes Israeli journalists Nehama Duek and Gideon Eshet as writing in Tel Aviv's Yediot Ahronot of Jan. 10, .1992: "Our message to the Americans is true-to-type Israeli: 'Give us money and have confidence in us! Everything will be OK. And besides, why should you worry? What does $10 billion really matter between friends.' As long as the Americans so desire, they will continue to swallow all deceptions."
"What does $10 billion really matter between friends?"
Discussing former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres' 1985 statement that "spying on the United States stands in total contradiction to our policy," Findley cites a 47-page secret CIA report seized by student militants occupying the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 which reported that for Israeli espionage the first priority was spying on Arab countries. Right after that, however, "collection of information on secret U. S. policy or decisions concerning Israel" and "collection of scientific intelligence in the U.S. and other developed countries" ranked second and third in priority.
Victory Ostrovsky, a former agent in the Mossad, Israel's equivalent of the CIA, reported Israel kept in the U.S. between 24 and 27 Mossad agents. Israeli intelligence also recruits Jewish aides to members of Congress serving on key committees, Ostrovsky reports.
Israeli spying in the U.S. is so pervasive, Findley reports, that during the late 1960s and early 1970s the FBI and military counterintelligence conducted a program called "Scope" to prevent Israel from recruiting Americans to steal U.S. military technology. The program, involving electronic surveillance of the Israeli embassy and its telephones, was discontinued only on the determination that it might be violating the constitutional rights of Americans whose words were picked up by the U.S. government recorders.
U.S. investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has reported that information provided Israel by U.S. Naval counterintelligence specialist Jonathan Jay Pollard concerning U.S. nuclear targeting was passed by then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to the Soviet Union in the early 1980s. Among the hundreds of thousands of pages of top secret documents stolen by Pollard were analyses of Soviet missile systems that revealed how the U.S. collects information, including clues to the identity of U.S. agents. Of Pollard, then-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger told the sentencing judge: "It is difficult for me ... to conceive of greater harm to national security than that caused by the defendant, in view of the breadth, the critical importance to the United States and high sensitivity of the information he sold to Israel."
Despite Israel's promise to punish Pollard's Israeli "handlers" and AIPAC's fallacious statement in 1992 that they had been punished and the stolen documents returned, Findley points out, the two principal Israelis involved were promoted, and in 1988 the Israeli government, supported by large segments of the organized American Jewish community, opened a campaign to secure Pollard's release. Only 163 of the stolen documents ever were returned, and then-FBI Director William Webster complained that Israel had provided only "selective cooperation" in the U.S. investigation. Pollard's wife, Anne, convicted with him, was released from prison on medical grounds. Upon her release she emigrated to Israel, whose government has paid all of her medical bills.
Israel neither denies nor confirms its possession of nuclear weapons, insisting only that it will not be the first to introduce them into the region. Findley records the fact that when President John Kennedy insisted during the early 1960s that U.S. inspectors be allowed into Israeli nuclear facilities, "Israeli technicians built a completely false control room at the Dimona installation in order to deceive the Americans about the actual type of research going on."
The U.S. abandoned its inspections in 1969, a year after the CIA reported that Israel had nuclear weapons. Since then, according to Hersh, "America's policy toward the Israeli arsenal was not just one of benign neglect; it was a conscious policy of ignoring reality."
Illustrating congressional complicity in drawing a curtain over Israeli nuclear weapons, Findley reports that in 1981 New York Democratic representatives Stephen Solarz and Jonathan Bingham dropped proposed legislation to forbid U.S. aid to countries manufacturing nuclear weapons after the State Department told them the amendment might affect Israel.
Solarz subsequently revealed, after a CIA briefing in 1989, that "Israel's military relations with South Africa ... are much larger than has been rumored or suggested." After spending $1.5 billion to subsidize development of an Israeli fighter plane named the Lavi, the U.S. finally halted its contributions to the project. Israel then transferred the project to South Africa. There, with the help of Israeli engineers who accompanied it, it was folded into an already on-going Israeli-South African aircraft project named the "Simba."
In 1991, U.S. intelligence determined that Israel also had shipped to South Africa ballistic missile components containing substantial U.S. technology. However, President George Bush waived the sanctions available under U.S. law, which could have included a prohibition on U.S.-Israeli trade.
Israel neither denies nor confirms its possession of nuclear weapons.
Israel's clandestine activities in the Third World are, in the words of Israeli scholar Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi, "baffling and disquieting to both friends and foes of Israel." They will be astonishing to any readers of Findley's book who still consider Israel a "strategic asset."
The U.S. government funded Israeli aid programs in sub-Saharan Africa for many years, starting in the 1960s, but by 1976 all but three African nations had broken their ties with Israel, and two of those were protectorates of South Africa. Among the reasons for African rejection, Findley reports, were growing consciousness of the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians and disillusionment at "Israel's support of some of Africa's most repugnant regimes including those of Idi Amin in Uganda, Mobutu in Zaire, and Bokassa in the Central African Republic."
More sensational, however, have been revelations of Israeli sales of U.S. arms (which are illegal without prior American approval) to the Khomeini regime in Tehran, starting in 1981 and continuing even after they first were exposed in the "Irangate" revelations in 1986. This clandestine Israel-Iran relationship, which started in the days of the shah but continued almost uninterruptedly after his overthrow, is explained by Israeli columnist S. Schweitzer in Haaretz:
"Iran destabilizes the Arab camp and neutralizes one of the strongest and most venomous of our potential enemies, Iraq ... There is truth in the laws of geopolitics: whoever rules Tehran becomes, willy-nilly, an ally of whoever rules Jerusalem."
What is interesting is not why Israel pursues these profitable arms sales, which also serve to protect and ransom members of the large Jewish community in Iran, but the variety of rationales offered to secure U.S. permission to carry them out. Many link the 1981 Israeli sales to Iran after Ronald Reagan became president to a payoff for the long-rumored Reagan campaign effort to delay the release of U.S. hostages being held by Iranian militants who had taken over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The goal of such a bargain would have been to forestall a pre-election-day "October Surprise" release of the hostages negotiated with Iran by the Carter administration.
Israeli rationales for continued arms sales to Iran later in the Reagan administration included attempts to ransom U. S. hostages in Lebanon, create an "opening to moderates" in Tehran, and finally to generate funds to support the Nicaraguan contras. These varied ingredients of "Irangate" only underline Israeli creativity, and Reagan administration gullibility.
Even the Tower Commission's kidgloves report on the Irangate scandal reluctantly concluded: "It is clear ... that Israel had its own interests, some in direct conflict with those of the United States, in having the United States pursue the initiative ... It sought to do this by interventions with the NSC staff, the national security adviser, and the president."
Israel ransomed 300,000 Jewish Romanians with $1 billion, according to Findley, plus the promise to lobby the U.S. Congress on Romania's behalf. The result was that Romanian strongman Nikolai Ceaucesceu, one of the most reprehensible of Eastern Europe's communist leaders, was transformed in the American media into a benevolent despot.
Former Philippines First Lady Imelda Marcos told an Israeli newspaper in 1981 that her husband, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, also had cultivated Israel to improve his country's "tainted image in the American media and to combat its unpopularity in the American Congress."
The last quarter of Findley's book deals with fallacies about the peace process. It quotes a statement by current Israeli President Ezer Weizman, made after his service as minister of defense in the first Likud government, that Prime Minister Menachem. Begin's "unshakable adherence to the perpetuation of Israeli rule over the West Bank and Gaza Strip led him into the autonomy plan. " That is the same plan being offered in 1993 by current Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. It denies Palestinians control of either their land or water, keeps Israeli troops in the occupied territories, and offers no deadline for resolution of the central issue of who holds sovereignty over the territories.
Findley notes that the basic nature of Israel's conflict with the Arabs is "the Zionist effort to wrest from the native Palestinians their land and their homes. " To obscure this, the Israeli government attempts to discredit the Palestinians, or even claim, in the words of former Prime Minister Golda Meir, that Palestinians "did not exist. "
This claim was echoed as recently as 1988 by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, who wrote in an advertisement in The New York Times, "There are no Palestinians." Israel, according to Findley, also works steadily "to discredit the United Nations largely because the U.N. has been the leader in recognizing the fundamental nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "
Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, declared as early as 1949 that "Jewish Jerusalem is an organic and inseparable part of the State of Israel." In approving the 1947 U.N. partition plan, however, all parties, including the Jewish Agency precursor to the Israeli government, accepted the designation of Jerusalem as a corpus separatum under international control. This remains the legal status of the city, despite all the attempts by Israel's U.S. lobby to get American presidential and congressional candidates on record as favoring the shift of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Findley points out that Israel has taken a variety of measures to shift the demographic balance of Jerusalem from prepartition days. In 1947 the city's population included 105,000 Christian and Muslim Palestinians and 100,000 Jews. Since unilaterally "annexing" the entire city to Israel, the Israeli government has torn down or confiscated many Arab-inhabited buildings, erected new Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, and incorporated new lands around Jerusalem into the city to give it a current population of about 68,000 Palestinians and 197,000 Jews.
From the Nixon to Bush administrations, however, it has been the U.S. government's policy that East Jerusalem is "occupied territory" just as are the West Bank and Gaza. Even the Reagan administration's pro-Israel secretary of state, George Shultz, warned Congress that acceding to Israel's demand that the U.S. move its embassy to Jerusalem "would not be prudent. " The 1992 Democratic Party platform called Jerusalem Israel's capital, Findley notes, "but it did not go so far as to urge that the U.S. embassy be moved there. "
Refuting Rabin's statement when he was prime minister in 1974 that "our right to [the occupied] land is indisputable," and Begin's 1980 statement that "the Jewish people [have a] right to settle the occupied territories, " Findley notes that, prior to Ronald Reagan, U.S. presidents had called Israeli settlements in the occupied territories "illegal and an obstacle to peace."
Reagan dropped the charge that settlements were illegal, but continued to refer to them as obstacles to peace. The Bush administration did not seek to turn the clock back. Secretary of State James Baker, defining Bush administration policy in 1991, said: "we used to characterize [Israeli settlements] as illegal [but] we now moderately characterize [them] as an obstacle to peace. "
The rest of the world has not been so moderate." The European Community says "Jewish settlements in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law" and Israel's settlement policy presents "a growing obstacle to peace in the region."
Nor has the United Nations been quiescent in the face of Israeli non-compliance with its resolutions. The U.N. Security Council has passed 66 condemnations of Israel with the participation or abstention of the United States. The U.S., however, has cast 29 vetoes to protect Israel from additional Security Council resolutions, thus effectively quashing Security Council attempts to punish Israel for noncompliance with its resolutions, which are binding upon all U.N. members.
Deliberate Deceptions documents years of Israeli non-compliance with U.N. resolutions, from Israel's refusal to permit the return of Palestinian refugees created in 1948 to its rejection of various U.S.-initiated land-for-peace proposals based upon U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 of November 22, 1967. Former Secretary of State Kissinger summarized the U.S. dilemma: "I ask Rabin to make concessions, and he says he can't because Israel is too weak. So I give him arms, and he says he doesn't need to make concessions because Israel is strong."
The same frustration was evident in Secretary of State Baker's 1990 remark: "Everybody over there [in Israel] should know what the [White House] telephone number is: 1 (202) 456-1414. When you're serious about peace, call us. "
In 1991, Baker reported to the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Foreign Operations: "Nothing has made my job of trying to find Arab and Palestinian partners for Israel more difficult than being greeted by a new settlement every time I arrive [in Israel]. I don't think that there is any bigger obstacle to peace than the settlement activity that continues not only unabated but at an advanced pace. This does violate United States policy. "
In his chapter on "The Other Costs of Israel," Findley documents cases of deliberate Israeli attacks on U.S. citizens and property such as the "Lavon Affair" of 1954, when Israeli agents firebombed U.S. Embassy installations in Cairo and Alexandria in an attempt to sabotage U.S.-Egyptian relations; the attack on the U.S. Naval ship USS Liberty, in which 34 American crew members were killed and 171 wounded; and at least eight Israeli provocations against U.S. Marines in Lebanon in 1982. Reporting on the latter, Gen. R.H. Barrow, the Marine commandant, wrote to then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger:
"It is evident to me, and the opinion of the U.S. commanders afloat and ashore, that the incidents between the Marines and the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) are timed, orchestrated, and executed for obtuse Israeli political purposes ... It is inconceivable to me why Americans—serving in peacekeeping roles—must be harassed, endangered by an ally."
In the same chapter, Findley explores cases in which Israel has been accused of re-exporting for profit highly classified U.S. military technology. He quotes an Israeli writer's description of the process: "The Americans have made virtually all their most most advanced weaponry and technology—meaning the best fighter aircraft, missiles, radar, armor and artillery—available to Israel. Israel, in turn, has utilized this knowledge, adapting American equipment to increase its own technological sophistication, reflected tangibly in Israeli defense offerings."
Specific examples of this practice are cited in the book's discussion of the strategic alliance fallacy as expressed in 1992 by then-vice presidential candidate Sen. Albert Gore: "Israel is our strongest ally and best friend, not only in the Middle East, but anywhere else in the world. "
Such hyperbole is put into perspective by a statement of former CIA Director Admiral Stansfield Turner: "Israeli intelligence has failed. Ninety percent of the statements made about Israel's contributions to America's security are public relations."
The "Illusion of Shared Values"
The last chapter of Deliberate Deceptions deals with, in Findley's words, "the illusion of shared values. " For example, in Israel, proselytizing by Christians and other non-Jews is punishable by five years in prison. A Jewish brother-in-law can keep a childless Jewish widow from remarrying. Christians or Muslims cannot marry Jews in Israel, and if they are married elsewhere, the marriage is not recognized by the rabbinical court in Israel.
Israeli law sanctions torture, and prisoners can be convicted and sentenced solely on the basis of confessions obtained by, in Israeli terminology, "mild physical coercion. " Apologists for Israel explain, however, that torture is never used against Jewish suspects, only against Christians and Muslims.
As for Israeli methods of warfare, former Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir has explained his philosophy in an interview: "There are those who say that to kill [an individual] is terrorism, but an attack an army camp is guerrilla warfare and bomb civilians is professional warfare. But I think it is the same from the moral point of view ... It was more efficient and more moral to go for selected targets. "
Shamir knows whereof he speaks. F was one of the three-man leadership triumvirate of the Lehi (Stern Gang) terrorist group that carried out the successful 194 assassination of U.N. mediator Count Folke Bernadotte in West Jerusalem.
Even in economic matters, Israeli practice seems far removed from America "values. " Writes Israeli economist Steve Pault: "Economic policy in Israel consists of pork barrel politics run amok ... Whereas most countries have rigorous anti-trust policies and powerful enforcement agencies, economic policy in Israel is decidedly pro-trust ... Production, marketing, export quotas and water and land allotments are distributed as patronage; they are never auctioned ... Israeli commercial policy the most protectionist in the democratic world ... Any other country would be subject to international trade sanctions for even a handful of the import restrictions and e) port manipulations that Israel maintains."
Summarized Sen. Malcolm Wallop (F WY): "The world is marching away from socialism, yet we're propping up a basically socialist country, Israel, which is not willing to change. It has very little free enterprise and huge, distorting subsidies wandering through its economy. In many ways, our aid supports that."
Responded Israeli Science Minister Yuval Neeman in 1992, commenting to Senator Wallop's friend and party colleague, President Bush: "We've never had in the United States an anti-Jewish and an anti-Israeli regime like the present one. "
Deliberate Deceptions' treasure trove of information about Palestine, Israel, and the latter's relationship with the U.S. is a nail in the coffin of the mythology—"mythinformation" in the words of veteran anti-Zionist Dr. Alfred Lilienthal—created to justify the last manifestation of Western colonialist land-grabbing in the Middle East .
All Americans who are serious about tipping U.S. policy back toward even-handedness in the Middle East will find this book useful, in fact essential, in composing letters to editors and letters to representatives in Congress. Use of Findley's clearly organized and carefully indexed facts will make readers highly effective in convincing their countrymen that, collectively, Americans have been too gullible for too long.
In anticipation of some such eventual U.S. reaction, Deliberate Deceptions reports, Israel's then-foreign minister, Moshe Dayan, said in 1979: "I know you Americans think you're going to force us out of the West Bank. But we're here and you're in Washington. What will you do if we maintain settlements? Squawk? What will you do if we keep the army there? Send troops?"
The answer, of course, is not to send U.S. troops, but to stop sending the unconditional U.S. taxpayer dollars that sustain Israel's archaic economy and costly and brutal occupation. It's the only American reaction that Israeli governments, and their American lobbyists and media gatekeepers, fear.
Richard H. Curtiss is the executive editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.
Paperback copies of Paul Findley's Deliberate Deceptions, released in May by Lawrence Hill, list at $14.95. They can be purchased from the American Educational Trust, P.O. Box 53062, Washington, DC 20009.