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How America gets hijacked from within

Earlier this month, author Glenn Greenwald disclosed a series of emails from a pro-Hillary Clinton think tank that highlight the censorship of their staff members on issues related to Israel.

Writing for the Intercept, Greenwald reveals how the Center for American Progress (Cap), a powerful Democratic group, goes to great lengths to appease the Zionist lobby group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) and other notable pro-Zionist Americans. He provides examples of how the staff at this think tank are pushed to write all things favourable to Israel, regardless of whether they are true or false.

The emails that were gleaned from an authorised source also highlight the actions of the president of Cap, Neera Tanden, to accommodate requests by Aipac and a trusted Clinton operative and Israel activist, Ann Lewis, to clamp down on writers deemed “anti-Israel”. Now this is coming from a centre committed to American issues and American interests. The centre went a step further to comply with Aipac demands that they host an event for the visiting Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been busy, lately, canvassing for legitimacy of his brutality against the Palestinians. The event, billed as ‘A Conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’, brought Tanden and Netanyahu together in a question-and-answer session to discover ‘ways to strengthen the partnership between Israel and the United States’.

Huffing Post bluntly stated that “the Israeli government pushed hard for an invite to” Cap and “was joined by Aipac, which also applied pressure to Cap to allow Netanyahu to speak”.

Cap has a long history of influencing top politicians in Washington through its ties to the Democratic party and was founded by John Podesta, one of the capital’s most powerful political operatives. It is also heavily biased towards the Clintons. So when a powerful American think tank can get trussed around by Israelis and their sympathisers, one can fathom how deeply entrenched American policies are in Israeli channels. It is the primary reason that American policy towards the Middle East comes under severe criticism from the Arab street.

Greenwald contends that Tanden’s efforts “to suppress Israel-reporting began well before the pressure on them” by Aipac was launched. “Tanden, almost immediately upon her return to Cap from the Obama White House in late 2010, summoned senior staff to a meeting, at which, she demanded to know why Cap was covering Israel/Palestine in their blog.” She also added that the issue of the illegal [colonies] that came up under Netanyahu’s watch be a subject ‘off-limit’.

When told that the “Cap’s work was consistent with the Obama White House’s intention to confront Israel on [colonies]”, Tanden reiterated her view that it was not “constructive” for Cap to work on Israel, particularly in such a critical manner”. Mondoweiss, an esteemed and independent website devoted to informing readers about developments in Israel/Palestine and related US foreign policy issues, contended that, “This is a shocking effort to remove any description of the Israeli lobby from a major ideological and political undertaking”.

Hillary, on her part, could not be a bigger cheerleader. In an op-ed addressed to the Forward, Hillary disclosed how deep her commitment to Israel was over all American interests in the region, as she went so far as to criticise United States President Barack Obama’s policies towards Israel and Netanyahu as being antagonistic. She also vowed to be the “most stalwart Israel loyalist imaginable”. And to think she was Obama’s secretary of state at one point of time!

Her op-ed shocked and worried many Washington watchers with its almost blind loyalty to a country other than her own. She wrote: “I have stood with Israel my entire career … As president, I will continue this fight. Netanyahu’s visit to Washington on November 9 [was] an opportunity to reaffirm the unbreakable bonds of friendship and unity between the people and governments of the United States and Israel.”

She continued: “I will do everything I can to enhance our strategic partnership and strengthen America’s security commitment to Israel, ensuring that it always has the qualitative military edge to defend itself. That includes immediately dispatching a delegation of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff to meet with senior Israeli commanders. I would also invite the Israeli prime minister to the White House in my first month in office.”

The deep pockets of Aipac and its sympathisers continue to ensure that all potential presidential nominees be rewarded on one condition: Israeli issues are first and foremost. This despite the fact that such a strategy has proved to be negative for overall US policy outreach in the region in the past few decades and has fostered not friends but foes.

With the likes of Hillary, Aipac and now Cap, a similar scenario seems assured for the next few years if the American people do not wrest control of their country from such binding tentacles and address what is in the interest of America first.

Tariq A. Al Maeena is a Saudi socio-political commentator. He lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. You can follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@talmaeena.

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