By Philip Weiss
I keep meaning to write about this revelation from Wikileaks: a truly disgusting July 2007 cable that shows the Israeli hypodermic entering the American vein and spewing neocon junk. We see Israeli intelligence officials putting across several neoconservative narratives with a Bush White House anti-terrorism official (Fran Townsend): Iran has links to Al Qaeda, terrorism is growing across the region because of Islam’s failure to modernize, and Israel and the U.S. are the only forces opposing terror.
This is pure craziness. The cable validates what Scott McConnell wrote last year, that the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel is now “a transmission belt, conveying Israeli ideas on how the United States should conduct itself in a contested and volatile part of the world.”
These are not the only revelations of the cable. The Israelis acknowledge what any fool knows, that the blockade of Gaza is unsustainable and “sooner or later” Israel will have to deal with Hamas! Just not now. No, they want to choke Hamas still, and therefore they want the U.S. to participate in a new regime of starving the Gazans of capital. And what does Fran Townsend– a real lightweight– answer? Talk to Stuart Levey at Treasury and Elliott Abrams in the White House. I.e., talk to your neoconservative friends in Washington.
When you get to that part of the cable, II below, remember that Levey is a longtime Israel supporter who has held his high political appointment without interruption from George Bush’s presidency to Obama’s. Thus the Democratic Party offers safe haven to neoconservative ideology.
But let’s get to the cable. Three excerpts:
I. Sooner or later we have to deal with Hamas. Remember, this was four years ago:
Brigadier General Danny Arditi, a counterterrorism advisor to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, presented Townsend with a plan for increased cooperation with the Fayyad government, facilitated by improved monitoring of the Palestinian financial system. Arditi said that the objective was to damage the Hamas government in Gaza financially without creating a humanitarian crisis, and to buy time for Fatah to rebuild support. In Arditis view, the current closure of Gaza border crossings is not sustainable, with several thousand Palestinians currently waiting to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing. Arditi said that sooner or later the GOI would have to deal with Hamas. At the same time, said Arditi, Israel and the Fayyad government are in agreement that they cannot allow free movement into and out of Gaza without a mechanism for controlling the flow of money and goods to terrorists and the Hamas government…
II. We need a new means of crushing the Gazan economy; OK, call Levey and Abrams:
Arditis [Gaza] proposal called for the creation of an external oversight system, with assistance from the United States and/or the European Union. The proposed system would include the creation of a strong Palestinian FIU [Financial Intelligence Unit] based in the West Bank, and “the adoption of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) rules by the Palestinian banking system.” Without such oversight, Arditi expressed concern that Israeli banks would cut off their correspondent relationship with the Palestinians (reftel). …Arditi asked Townsend who would be the right partner in the USG for the FIU plan, and inquired as to whether it would be well-received in Washington. Townsend recommended Under Secretary for the Treasury Stuart Levey as a natural counterpart, and suggested that the Israelis approach Deputy National Security Advisor Elliott Abrams on the question of support….
III. More neocon hypodermic– Iran is linked to Al-Qaeda. Note that a year after this Tel Aviv meeting, Treasury issued a statement linking Al Qaeda to Iran; and the Israel lobby promoted the claims. Also note that there is not a word about Israeli treatment of Palestinians here; and today even the Weekly Standard acknowledges that the Israeli occupation is a recruiting tool for al Qaeda.
[Former Israeli National Security Council] Chairman Ilan Mizrahi stressed that process, not events, affects the spread of terror in the Middle East. He pointed to three major factors in the region that create the conditions for terrorism: the weakness of Arab and Muslim communities and states that fail to join the advances of the modern world; the erosion of the secular state and the rise of ethnic politics, particularly in Iraq, the Palestinian territories, and Lebanon; and the rise of political Islam. Mizrahi also noted that the clash between Sunni and Shia Islam tends to bring out the extremists on both sides. He pointed out that both sides support terror groups that further their interests, including the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that some characterize them as “moderate Arab states” or “good guys.” Mizrahi said that many Arab states would be better characterized as an “axis of fear,” because they share a fear of Iranian influence. 6. (S) There are few forces restraining radical Islam, said Mizrahi, particularly now that the United States and Israel are viewed as weakened powers. Supporters of radical Islam believe that their cause is ascendant, he continued, given what they perceive as successes in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, North Africa, Iraq, and Lebanon — as well as growing militancy among Muslim communities in Europe and the Far East. Iran supports terrorism throughout the region, said Mizrahi, who asserted that Iran is currently sheltering two senior al-Qaeda operatives.