Ayoon wa Azan
Jihad el-Khazen Al-Hayat - 13/04/07//
In New York, Darfur is the most important issue in the world, or at least this is what the resident or visitor sees and hears. From subway tunnels to the streets, there are thousands of posters talking about 'genocide' and 400,000 people killed, with advertisements in the newspapers and on television. The lobby to save Darfur claims that it comprises 180 organizations representing 130 million Americans, and its aim is to pressure the Congress and the administration to stop this 'genocide' and punish the Khartoum government.
Darfur is a terrible humanitarian disaster that should not be played down. I am not doing that myself. However, the UN itself said that 200,000 were killed and that what had been committed there were war crimes, not genocide.
I choose to believe the UN, not the lobby to save Darfur, because this lobby is just the Israel lobby nicknamed. The goal is to divert attention from Israel's crimes, or the catastrophe of the war in Iraq.
The US war on Iraq has killed, according to a medical estimate, 655,000 Iraqis. That is, more than three times the dead in Darfur, and perhaps five times if we believe the higher estimate of nearly a million victims. Yet, we do not see posters in New York for the Iraqi victims, nor read about 'genocide' or a call to punish the war cabal on charges of genocide, or at least for committing war crimes.
Today, I pick up on what I said yesterday. The US media tycoon in Iraq is exposed, and the distinguished and capable US press did not resist the war in Iraq as it did over Vietnam. It did not try to expose those responsible for it, as we saw done in the Watergate scandal. The reason, at least in my personal opinion, is that the victims were Arabs and Muslims.
In Darfur, the victims are Muslims. There are 200,000 Muslims killed by Muslims. This lobby, whether of Israel or Darfur, does not defend them. It just makes use of them as a smokescreen to obscure the other crimes stretching from Palestine to Iraq. The Israeli lobby, after all, has been very active in the pursuit of war and still defends it; i.e. still supports killing the youth of the US in an unjustified war to protect Israel's security.
Thus, the US press is not interested because the victims are Arabs and Muslims, and the lobby prevents any in-depth discussion and diverts the attention from the crimes committed every day in Palestine and Iraq.
If there is anyone who questions the influence of the lobby, the AIPAC annual conference last month has provided a sufficient answer, as it attracted senior administration figures and the Democratic opposition at the same time. Vice President Dick Cheney delivered a speech entitled 'The United States and Israel: Tradition and Transcendence'. He stressed that the US "would remain unflinching and steadfast", while the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), reiterated that the US stands with Israel, now and forever. In short, the lobby announced that half of the members of the Senate and half the members of the House participated in the annual conference, which heard the words of a hundred US officials and guests, as well as some Israelis, such as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, via satellite, and Foreign Minister Tzibi Livne who was present.
I argue that the official Israeli lobby, i.e. the Jewish lobby AIPAC, does not represent US Jews. It is led by an extremist minority of war advocates, while the majority of US Jews are moderate liberals who always lean toward peace. The US presidential elections are undisputable evidence of this. During President George Bush's two campaigns, in 2000 and 2004, no more than 20% of US Jews supported him. In other words, 80% of them voted against the most pro-Israeli US President yet, and this is the highest proportion for an ethnic or religious group in the US elections.
I believe that the lobby is on the way toward paying the price for its fanaticism and for not being representative of the majority of the US Jews. While campaign financing silences candidates, blogs are free from such influence. And there are now many blogs that challenge the lobby, refute its falsehoods and extremism, and enjoy huge popularity. But such issue needs pages to be dealt with properly. I will suffice by saying that many among the leaders of the campaign against the lobby are liberal US Jewish bloggers, who have started to record some remarkable success. This is especially the case after the lobby went too far and began to accuse Jews of anti-Semitism just because they oppose the violations of Israel.
I would not lay the responsibility for the Iraq war on only the lobby, as the US press, particularly the great liberal part of it, is responsible before anyone else. I refuse to believe that newspapers such as the 'New York Times' have failed to find out about the forged Niger uranium letters, or cover the fabrication story as they had done with Watergate. On the other hand, a young Italian woman journalist discovered the forgery easily by herself. The forgery was confirmed by Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). I also do not believe that the US press did not see clear and flagrant errors in Bush's State of the Union address on January 28, 2003, or in the then Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech in front of the UN Security Council on February 5, 2003, a speech Powell himself said, some time later, was the lowest point in the history of his political career.
Members of Congress stood and clapped a great deal for Bush, and the US press published praises about Powell's speech. If the shortfall had come from the Arab press, which is negligent by nature, I would have accepted their excuse. But the US press is smarter than to be tricked, and has its traditions and its freedoms that would have made it easier to expose the crime of the war, if it had wanted to. I will continue this topic in a few days.