By James Petras
One of the least analyzed aspects of the Egyptian pro-democracy movement and US policy toward it, is the role of the influential Zionist power configuration (ZPC) including the leading umbrella organization – the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (CPMAJO) – Congressional Middle East committee members, officials occupying strategic positions in the Obama Administration’s Middle East bureaus, as well as prominent editors, publicists and journalists who play a major role in the prestigious newspapers and popular weekly magazines. This essay is based on a survey of every issue of the Daily Alert (propaganda bulletin of the CPMAJO), the NY Times and the Washington Post between January 25 – February 17, 2011.
From the very beginning of the Egyptian pro-democracy movement, the ZPC, called into question the legitimacy of the anti-dictatorial demands by focusing on the “Islamic threat”. In particular the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the Daily Alert harped on the “threat” of a “Islamic takeover” by the Muslim Brotherhood even as the overwhelming number of non-Zionist experts and reporters in Egypt demonstrated that the vast majority of protestors were not members of any Islamic political movement, but largely advocates of a secular democratic republic (see the Financial Times 1/26/11-2/17/11).
Once their initial propaganda ploy failed, the ZPC developed several new propaganda lines: the most prominent of which was a sustained defense of the Mubarak dictatorship as a bulwark of Israel’s ‘security’ and guardian of the so-called “Peace Accord” of 1979. In other words the ZPC pressured the US administration, via Congressional hearings, the press and AIPAC to support Mubarak as a key guarantor and collaborator of Israel’s supremacy in the Middle East; although it meant that the Obama regime would have to openly oppose the million-member Egyptian freedom movement. Israeli journalists, officials and their US Zionist counterparts willingly admitted that although the Mubarak regime was a bloody, corrupt tyranny, he should be supported because a democratic government in Cairo might end Egypt’s decades-old collaboration with the brutal Israeli colonization of Palestine.
Once it became clear that uncritical support for Mubarak was no longer a viable position and the Obama Administration was appealing to the democratic movement to “dialogue” and negotiate with the dictator, the ZPC demanded caution in backing a “dialogue” and assurance that the dialogue did not lead to any abrupt changes in the Mubarak-Israeli treaty. The ZPC and its scribes in the Washington Post presented Mubarak’s hand picked “Vice President” Omar Suleiman, a notorious torturer and long-term collaborator of Israel’s Mossad, as the legitimate interlocutor for the dialogue – even as he was unanimously rejected by the entire pro-democracy movement.
As the demonstrators grew in number and engulfed the major public squares throughout the country and extended beyond the first week, Israel and the ZPC promoted a possible alternative solution, which would keep Mubarak in power, during a nine month ‘transition’ period. Caught off guard by the rapid growth of Egypt’s pro-democracy movement, Israel’s willing accomplices in the US administration and media conceded that an end to the dictatorship would be a good thing… if it was managed appropriately; namely, if it excluded or minimized the role of the Muslim Brotherhood and maximized the role of the pro-Israel military high command and intelligence services as overseers of the “transition”. The ZPC contemptuously rejected Egypt’s independent pro-democracy movement and its leaders and sought to undermine the Egyptian people’s movement by inflating the role of the “best organized” Islamic Brotherhood and warned of a future Islamist “seizure of power”.
The leading Zionist official in the Obama Administration and AIPAC point man, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg traveled to Israel to assure the Netanyahu/Lieberman regime that the US was in contact with the Egyptian military high command and sectors of the civilian opposition (ElBaradei) and that Washington’s support of the democracy movement was conditioned by their assurance that the Israeli-Egyptian Treaty would remain unchanged.
When Mubarak was finally forces to resign, handing power to a military junta, the ZPC congratulated the coup-makers, supported its demobilization of the movement and more important, celebrated the Egyptian generals’ endorsement of the “Peace Agreement of 1979”. Now the Israeli propaganda machine began to harshly criticize Mubarak and portrayed the military coup as a positive step toward an “orderly and peaceful transition”. By ‘orderly’ the Zionist think tankers meant a ‘regime change’ that did nothing to change the blockade of Gaza, the regular shipment of fuel to Israel, or the hotline of collaboration between Tel Aviv and Cairo. Israeli and American Zionists rejected early elections and promoted a prolonged process in which the Egyptian military, the US Administration and the ZPC could handpick members of the ‘transitional constitutional and electoral commissions’ committed to continuing Mubarak’s policy of unconditional submission to Israel. By “peaceful” the pro-Israel diplomats in the Obama Administration meant clearing the streets of the masses of pro-democracy activists and demonstrators so that decisions could be controlled by the small circle of Mubarak military and civilian holdovers behind closed doors. By “transition”, the circles of Zionists propagandists, US/Israeli policy makers and Egyptian generals meant that nothing would change but the face of Mubarak.
While Israel and the bulk of Zionist scribes and propagandists in the US opposed or questioned the pro-democracy movements against pro-Israeli rulers in the Middle East, they embraced and publicized the social movements opposing the Iranian regime. In every print and electronic outlet, the pro-Israel journalists emphasized the repressive, brutal nature of the Iranian regime, called for regime change and raised the specter of a military confrontation if Iranian warships traversed the Suez Canal, Iran’s right by international maritime law. Israeli security, the threat of ‘radical Islam’ and Iran were cited to place narrow limits on all discussions and debates over US policy regarding the enormous and growing mass pro-democracy movements throughout the Arab world.
The same prominent US Zionist scribes who, at first, defended US support for the dictatorial Mubarak regime and then supported the military takeover in Cairo, have now become born-again backers of anti-regime democrats in Iran. This is not inconsistent: the issue for US Zionists is how might pro-democracy movements affect Israel’s colonial policies in Palestine and Israel’s expanding power in the Middle East? In other words, the ZPC in Congress and the White House are not concerned about promoting democracy through American foreign policy, but only about harnessing US diplomacy and military leverage to serve Israel.
What is striking about Obama’s twist and turns in policy toward the mass popular struggles in Egypt is how closely it repeats and implements the policy positions of the US Zionist power configuration clearly presented in the ‘52 organizations’ propaganda organ, the Daily Alert.