Council for the National Interest

Israel Misused Cluster Bombs U.S. Delivered last August

At the height of the Israeli war against Hezbollah last summer, in which hundreds of civilians living in southern Lebanon were killed, the U.S. rushed a request from Israel for more than 1,300 American-made M26 cluster bombs. The request prompted an outcry in Congress and elsewhere that the artillery rockets, which disperse 644 submunitions each, might be used in civilian areas, contrary to the terms of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act. Last week, the Department of State delivered a preliminary report to Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House, and to Sen. Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that is said by the news media to accuse Israel of exactly these charges. 

Support for Israel in Congress is Based on Fear

I can tell you from personal experience that the support Israel has in the Congress is based completely on political fear — fear of defeat by anyone who does not do what Israel wants done. I can also tell you that very few members of Congress — at least when I served there — have any affection for Israel or for its Lobby. What they have is contempt, but it is silenced by fear of being found out exactly how they feel. I’ve heard too many cloakroom conversations in which members of the Senate will voice their bitter feelings about how they’re pushed around by the Lobby to think otherwise. In private one hears the dislike of Israel and the tactics of the Lobby, but not one of them is willing to risk the Lobby’s animosity by making their feelings public. 

One-sided collective punishment legislation passed by U.S. House

Despite our best efforts, the Senate version of the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 (S. 2370) passed the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday by voice vote, clearing the way for the bill to reach the White House. No amendments were allowed, no vote was recorded and no one other than the three members who rose in support of the bill could be seen in the House chamber. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Tom Lantos (D-CA), the bill’s sponsors, lamented the fact that they could not send their original text on to the president and instead had to settle for the Senate’s less draconian but nonetheless damaging language. 

Karen Armstrong: How Religious Movements Prolong the Arab-Israeli Conflict

To a full audience on Capitol Hill, Oxford scholar of religion Karen Armstrong argued last week that fundamentalist movements within each of the three faiths involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, contribute to sustaining that conflict. Her talk outlined how the “Christian Right” in the U.S., Islamists such as Hamas in Palestine and Hizbullah in Lebanon and ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel have drawn religion into what is “at base a political problem…, a secular problem over land.” 

Christian Zionism: An Egregious Threat to Middle East Understanding

Christian Zionism, a belief that paradise for Christians can only be achieved once Jews are in control of the Holy Land, is gathering strength in the United States and forging alliances that are giving increasingly weird shape to American policy toward the Middle East. The nature of the movement and its detrimental impact on policy was the subject of the 22nd Capitol Hill public hearing presented by the Council for the National Interest yesterday. 

The Cooper Union "Israel Lobby" Debate

Last week the London Review of Books did a great service to free speech in this country by enabling Prof. John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago to have a debate on the Israel Lobby that he thought would never take place. The event was titled “The Israel Lobby - Does it Have Too Much Influence on U.S. Foreign Policy?” and its main purpose was to debate the pros and cons of a paper Mearsheimer wrote with Prof. Stephen Walt of Harvard University called “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.” It was a perfect opportunity for the much criticized national media to report on a key issue in our foreign policy. 

The Lobby, the U.S. and the Israeli War on Hezbollah

The U.S. blanket support for the Israeli war on Hezbollah can be laid at the feet of the Israel Lobby, concluded Professor Stephen Walt and Prof. John Mearsheimer in an analysis they presented at the National Press Club in Washington on August 28. Their presentation, which was sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was a widening of their critique of the lobby and focused on the role it played in the recent Israel-Hezbollah war. It showed once again how the lobby works against both Israel’s and the United States’ national interests. 

Draft Your Own UN Resolution on Lebanon

If you are confused and puzzled by the recent scramble by the United States and the UN to bring peace to Lebanon, perhaps we can help a little bit with a short read of what we think this all means. In fact, you may be able to write your own resolution, which may make more sense and have more real wisdom than UN Security Council Resolution 1701, passed a week ago. There is a story going around Washington, DC, that three wise men approached the President a fortnight ago with a very strong message that he had to move to a ceasefire as quickly as possible. American interests were being undermined throughout the world. 

A reality check: The three real issues between Israel and Lebanon

There are real issues between Lebanon and Israel that should have been settled with the help of the United States long ago. Israel failed to keep her promise to make available maps of the 140,000 mines she left behind in Lebanon. Three small sectors of land overlooking the Litani River were retained by Israel and were the cause of complaints from the government of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, not just Hezbollah. The three Lebanese prisoners that were moved by Israel, contrary to the Geneva Convention prohibition against an occupying power transporting prisoners into its own territory, should have been returned long ago. 

Israel's Attacks on Gaza

Israel is using weapons supplied by the United States to target Palestinian civilians and civilian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip in violation of the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, the Foreign Assistance Act and the Geneva Conventions. Israeli air force fighter squadrons are composed of Lockheed Martin F-16I Fighting Falcons and Boeing F-15Is, which fire U.S.-manufactured AMRAAM, Sidewinder, and Sparrow missiles. Between 2005-2005, the United States licensed to Israel at least $1.062 billion of spare parts, engines, and missiles for its F-15 and F-16 fighter planes.