Americans celebrate their nation’s independence on the Fourth of July. On that day in 1776 a group of propertied, nearly all slave holding, white men declared that Britain’s American colonies no longer existed as such. America was an independent nation and would fight to retain that status. How ironic that in July 2007, America is anything but independent from foreign influence.
The Israeli government tells the American government and by extension, the American people, what they will do and when they will do it. Israel’s influence was always immense, but the Bush administration’s desire for endless empire makes that nation a perfect partner in crime. Israel’s allies determine how that country is portrayed in the media, what elected officials can say and do about Israel, and even determine whether elected officials will stay in office.
The Israeli example of successfully lobbying against the interests of the American people is not unique in politics. The pharmaceutical industry, the NRA and many other lobbies are among the deep pocketed interest groups that get their way regardless of the effect on the public good.
Israel’s influence is so great that it gets Congress to act when no action is required. Charging genocide in the absence of any violence is an amazing feat, but not when a nation that holds unprecedented levels of power wants to say that a lie is the truth.
In 2005, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Israel should be “eliminated from the pages of time.” That often repeated wish for an end to zionism was deliberately misquoted and turned into a declaration of war by the neocons, their Israeli allies, and the neutered media.
Nevertheless, Israel’s allies never cease whipping up the case for war against Iran. The United States Congress disgraced itself by passing a resolution “calling on the United Nations Security Council to charge Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the United Nations Charter because of his calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.”
The public hear a constant drumbeat that Iran’s nuclear ambition will be the death of Israel. Israel has been a nuclear power since the 1970s yet the media simply never mention that salient fact. Every expert says that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon for at least five years. Israel has nukes now and is in no danger from Iran or any other nascent nuclear power.
The vote was lopsided to say the least. Only two members of Congress, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul voted no. Both are presidential candidates, but Kucinich is consigned to media designated lower tier status and Paul was literally kicked off the Republican debate stage.
Every member of the Congressional Black Caucus who voted was in the “yeas” column. There can be no doubt that successful efforts to defeat non-compliant black members of Congress, Earl Hilliard and Cynthia McKinney, have essentially gagged the rest of the membership.
Iran is not at war with any nation. The United States is responsible for genocide in Iraq. Israel violates the U.N. charter and Geneva Conventions on a regular basis by waging collective punishment on civilian populations in Palestine and Lebanon. Yet every call to censure or boycott Israel is met with scorn and an inevitable charge of anti-Semitism.
While Congress disgraced itself by charging peaceful nations with genocide, the media disgraced itself by not reporting a violation of United States campaign law by an Israeli newspaper. The right wing Jerusalem Post emailed fundraising appeals on behalf of Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani.
Numerous campaign fundraising violations were committed in one fell swoop. Foreign nationals are not allowed to contribute to American political campaigns but the Post emails left out that minor detail in a message that went to many non-Americans. Corporations are not supposed to make campaign contributions, even in-kind contributions such as the fund raising appeal.
Both men declared their unquestioned support of Israel but also smeared Democrats in their appeals to the Post’s American and foreign readers. Not only was the story ignored by the media, but it was ignored by the Democratic candidates as well.
A foreign newspaper made a blatant appeal to one political party and the other party remained mute. If that newspaper is an organ of the Israeli government, the silence is not surprising. The threat from Israeli interests is too great for any presidential candidate to withstand. In the 2004 presidential campaign Howard Dean merely said that the U.S. should be evenhanded in the Middle East. That statement was one of the reasons the establishment banded together to oust him from the process.
Most Americans have ceased to find any meaning in national holidays. The Fourth of July is seen as merely the beginning of the vacation season and an excuse to over eat. It is just as well that it isn’t really taken seriously. America is not independent at all. A foreign nation calls the shots at every turn.
This article first appeared in The Black Agenda Report.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via email at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.Com. Read other articles by Margaret, or visit Margaret’s website.