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1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: The Israeli Agenda and the Cost to Americans
Editor's note: Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich has a Master of Public Diplomacy from USC Annenberg for Communication and USC School of International Relations. She is an independent researcher with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the influence of lobby groups.
"I call'd the devil, and he came, And with wonder his form did I closely scan; He is not ugly, and is not lame, But really a handsome and charming man. A man in the prime of life is the devil, Obliging, a man of the world, and civil; A diplomatist too, well skill'd in debate, politics, yea, the devil I call'd and he came, to devour my soul, and the whole of humanity".
- Heinrich Heine
On November 4, 2008, the world watched as Americans filed into polling booths to decide who should be the next occupant of the White House. The excitement of the elections veiled the removal of the single most important choice: the option to cancel the neoconservatives’ lease on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
In the absence of that choice, “change” is continuity in the White House. President Obama’s actions belie candidate Obama’s speeches and give meaning to Jacob Heilbrunn’s words who wrote: "Don't look now, but neoconservatism is making a comeback-and not among the Republicans who have made it famous, but in the Democratic Party”.
Mr. Obama’s cabinet has been carefully selected and ready to serve the neocon agenda. Worthy of mention are his Vice President Joseph Biden, and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. These two had the support of the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI); a self-described think-tank of the Democratic Leadership Council – whose president Will Marshall released a volume of doctrine called With All Our Might: A Progressive Strategy for Defeating Jihadism and Defending Liberty. This book was warmly received by none other than the Weekly Standard (May 22, 2006).
The Weekly Standard was set up by Rupert Murdoch (recognized by the U.S. for his support of Israel and the Jewish Congress of New York voted him “Communication Man of the Year”) and it has ran at a loss from its inception but Murdoch has kept it in circulation to enable such neocons as William Kristol to be given the platform on Fox as credible experts. The pro-Iraq war candidate Hillary’s willingness to "obliterate" 70 million Iranians added to her credentials as Madame Secretary. In her new role, she seems more keen that Cheney to continue on the path of destruction in order to serve Israel. Other members include Chief of Staff and the son of an Israeli terrorist, Rahm Israel Emanuel, pro-Israel Dennis Ross, Richard Holbrooke, and the list goes on.
On September 13, 2001, while the country was recovering from the shock of 9/11, JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) already had a statement available as to how the U.S. should proceed. Saddam’s fate, or rather Iraq’s fate was already sealed. They “recommended” that Iraq be invaded militarily. President Bush obliged. Among their other recommendations was the overturn of the “1995 CIA Directive limiting whom the United States can recruit to aid counterterrorism in an effort to boost our human intelligence”. It would appear that Mr. Bush had no qualms obliging. According to reports, the United States under the Bush Administration gave the terrorist organization Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) ‘special persons status’ as pentagon officials planned to use the group against Iran, which they subsequently did. JINSA also recommended that America reevaluate its relations with Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states – ‘with us, or with them’ as G.W. liked to say. Both the Arabs and Mr. Bush accommodated JINSA. JINSA also suggested that America “take immediate steps to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil”. In addition, its policy called for America to be involved in disputes far and wide for the unforeseen future not only in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also in Iran, Pakistan, Syria, Sudan, the Palestinian Authority, Libya, Algeria and eventually Saudi Arabia and Egypt’. A tall order for one President.
George W. did his best to do it all. Now it is Mr. Obama’s turn. While bombs continue to be dropped from Pakistani skies on innocent civilians, the Obama administration, with press and EU in tow, is once again ignoring the IAEA's report on Iran – which confirms that Iran is not a threat and it is working on its civilian nuclear program within the framework of the NPT – instead, it is working to further a political agenda, that of Israel’s, enforcing and tightening sanctions – a prelude to a military confrontation with Iran. Once again America’s interests are being sacrificed. In lieu of creating jobs to feed the American people, Americans are being fed more lies to feed an imaginary threat.
The cost to Americans
The unconditional support of Israel’s expansionist agenda has made America fiscally and morally bankrupt. As a result of bowing to Israel’s pressures, March 2003 figures show that the US imposed sanctions on trade with Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria, cost Americans more than 80,000-100,000 jobs a year. “The reported aid to Israel, taking into the consideration the adjustment for inflation and the opportunity cost of capital at 3% brings the total to $247bn. Private Jewish remittances of around $30bn and net purchases by US parties of Israel bonds of some $10-14bn drain a further $40-50bn from the US economy.” Ad hoc grants and special aid, such as the $1.2bn Israel received at the Wye Plantation meeting in 2000, are another important source of funds. While JINSA has “recommended” that the U.S. take immediate steps to reduce dependence on foreign oil, the United States oil supply guarantee for Israel estimated at potentially up to $3bn/month. “Israel (through the U.S. Congress) has actually succeeded in reversing the tying of aid – U.S. firms are required to purchase from Israel about sixty cents worth of Israeli goods for every $1 which the U.S. provides in military grants.”
One has to wonder how Americans would truly feel about contributing to Israel on the basis of their “shared values” once they learn the truth. Not only has America’s future been mortgaged to finance the violation of international and humanitarian law, but since the beginning of the recession in 2007, 3.6 million jobs have been lost - without a substantial effort towards peace, and without a silver lining on the horizon for our domestic woes, we continue to threaten Iran, a country that is not a threat to anyone, and continue our support of Israel – because 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is incapable of standing up to this small, but aggressive and violent nation. It is not our “shared values” that is provoking such a behavior; rather, it is our monetary values that are being shared – and our moral values that are being eroded.
 Jacob Heilbrunn, "Neocons in the Democratic Party," Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2006.
 Tony Smith, A Pact with the Devil. Washington’s bid for world supremacy and the betrayal of the American promise. Routledge 2007.
 Scott Peterson, "Inside a group caught between three powers: Mujahideen-e Khalq, an Iraq-based group founded to fight Iran's regime, may be expelled from its base this week,", The Christian Science Monitor, December 31, 2003 edition; Larisa Alexandrovna, "On Cheney, Rumsfeld order, US outsourcing special ops, intelligence to Iraq terror group, intelligence officials say," The Raw Story, April 13, 2006.
 Richard Bonney, False Prophets: The ‘Clash of Civilizations’ and the Global War on Terror, Peter Lang 2008; "This Goes Beyond Bin Laden," JINSA press release, September 13, 2001.
 "US Cost Of Conflict In The Middle East Since 1956 Totals $3 Trillion, Says Stauffer," Middle East Economic Survey (MEES), Vol. XLVI, No. 9 (March 3, 2003).