What exactly is the Zionist lobby – a la MEMRI? [Archives:2004/711/Opinion]

February 12 2004

One of the most intriguing subjects concerning American “civil society”, is the awesome number of advocacy groups, with a diversified wide span of subjects from gun control to the opposite, to gay marriages to the opposite, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of charities and civil rights organizations, some of which have international footing. Immersed in this sea of genuine to bizarre causes comfortably floats a large network of Jewish and Zionist organizations, whose purpose is solely to advocate for the Zionist cause and insure that American foreign policy is geared to upholding the cause of the existence and upkeep of the Hebrew State in Palestine – Israel. It is very difficult to get an exact counting of the organizations that are intertwined in this large network of well integrated and well organized (and of course well-funded) organizations, but it would probably not be an exaggeration to put this labyrinth of advocacy as the largest in number and the most aggressive in nature. The United States Constitution and most of the local and federal statutes encourage civil society growth and consider civil society an integral part of the American body politic that is indispensable. This encouragement is accorded in the form of tax freedoms and even subsidization and thus leads to a healthy, generally transparent and participatory non-government sector, which is quite effective in upholding civil rights and addressing serious social issues. In fact, NGOs in the United States are quite often partners with Federal, State and Municipal Governments in the provision of essential social services.
Many people have the misconception of believing that the Zionist Lobby is just some lobbying organizations that run around the halls of the US Congress or State or Local Legislative bodies, or engaged in the political activities of the political parties (both Democrat and Republican, as well as the other independent parties), and that is the only area of interest to those who support Israel. The fact of the matter is that the Zionist or pro Zionist organizations in the United States are probably the most numerous organizations that advocate or work for the advancement of a single cause in the United States (which incidentally is not really an “American” cause per se) and while many of these organizations are not at all bashful about their objectives or purposes (such as the United Jewish Appeal or the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith), there are quite a number of pro-Zionist organizations that one would probably never consider as having anything to do with the Zionist cause, and may even appear to be trying to “foster 'Arab-American' relations”. These fuzzy or shady Zionist organizations are often found in the areas of the media and the dissemination of information. The general purposes of such information channels are twofold: One is to project a beautiful image of the Hebrew State as one being so close to the liking of the American and western citizen (with less success in the latter) and an important front line defense arsenal of American interests and even American and Western “values”. The other is to ensure that the image of the Arabs, in particular (without any distinction between religious affiliations; i.e., Christian and Moslem Arabs) and Moslems in general is such that they represent the antithesis of anything that American stands for, on top of being barbaric nomads and uncivilized rapists (Remember the movie, Two Women, starring Sophia Loren).
Of course, one will never find these shady organizations revealing their real intentions, but many Westerners and even Americans have been kind enough to enlighten their public and us about the real non-genuine intents of such organizations. In the case of the Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI), we have what seems to be on the surface an organization that works to disseminate some of the work that appears in the Arab Press and media among western readers (viewers and listeners). The organization MEMRI, according to Dr. Alan Balboni, of the University of Nevada (Dr. Balboni did his PhD on the Zionist Lobby) states: ” was founded by a retired Israeli general, is funded by wealthy Likud Zionists, mostly Americans, and has one goal) to find material in Arab media that criticizes Arab society and then disseminate this material as broadly as possible across the globe in order to indirectly and cleverly develop sympathy for Israel and Zionism.” Mr. Brian Whitaker of the Guardian Newspapers Unlimited, also has brought some interesting insights on this dubious organizations, by the way they rush into translating Arabic articles or reports that often show the downsides of the Arab World and tells us that MEMRI is “based in Washington but with recently-opened offices in London, Berlin and Jerusalem.
Its work is subsidized by US taxpayers because as an 'independent, non-partisan, non-profit' organization, it has tax-deductible status under American law.” When asked to check into a MEMRI quick translation of articles, Mr. Whitaker find himself suspicious of MEMRI because of its very secretive nature: “Its website does not give the names of any people to contact, not even an office address” On the other hand, Whitaker points out: “the stories selected by MEMRI for translation follow a familiar pattern: either they reflect badly on the character of Arabs or they in some way further the political agenda of Israel.” The Guardian article may be found in the link, http://www.guardian.co.uk, which we recommend our readers to look into, to see that what we are saying is also seen by academicians and journalists in the West, who are advocating for limiting the strength of the overtly strong Zionist lobby that is not just dubious in nature, but eats at the taxpayers' hard earned incomes with no meaningful returns on investment.