January 1, 2009
|Photo: a Kassam rocket. Hamas’ rockets are “little more than slingshots against Israel’s incredible military might, and they’re used out of desperation by Palestinians who’ve never been accorded the democratic space within which to gain redress of their eminently just grievances.”|
On December 29, Yahoo Finance posted a JINSA press release making the absurd claim that Iran is facilitating Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. “The role of Iran in the training and buildup of the Hamas arsenal has been regrettably overlooked by the world’s media and many of its political leaders,” said Tom Neumann, executive director of JINSA, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. “Hamas’s rocket attacks have become longer range and more lethal as a result of Iranian assistance and training,” he said.
As William O. Beeman argued on December 29, this claim is nothing short of preposterous. “No one promulgating the theory that Hamas’s attacks on Israel are directed by Iran bothers to think much about geography. Hamas has been effectively sealed off from the world by Israel, and by Egypt,” writes Beeman. “The Israelis have essentially controlled the import of food and medical supplies. The idea of Iran shipping arms to Hamas under these conditions is patently absurd. The rockets launched against Israel that started the current conflict were clearly homemade, low-level weapons, not sophisticated arms.”
Hamas’ rockets are “little more than slingshots against Israel’s incredible military might, and they’re used out of desperation by Palestinians who’ve never been accorded the democratic space within which to gain redress of their eminently just grievances,” explains Dennis Rahkonen. “Conscientious Israelis acknowledge that the Hamas rockets rationale is fraudulent.” He cites Jerusalem Post writer Larry Derfner, who writes that the ” [Palestinian] Kassam [rockets] have terrorized the 25,000 people in Sderot and its environs, but have caused very, very few deaths or serious wounds. By contrast, Israel has terrorized 1.5 million Gazans, locked them inside their awfully narrow borders, throttled their economy, and killed and seriously wounded thousands of them.”
JINSA’s press release is simply a continuation of the neocon and Likudnik effort to ramp up public support for an attack on Iran. JINSA’s board of advisers includes Michael Ledeen, Richard Perle, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, and Dick Cheney — the people who brought us the Iraq invasion and occupation. JINSA operatives are ensconced in the Pentagon, the Naval Academy, the Military Academy at West Point, and the Air Force Academy. The 501(c)(3) organization describes itself as “the most influential group on the issue of U.S.-Israel military relations,” that is to say it is influential in pushing an agenda that has thus far resulted in the murder of a million and a half Iraqis.
JINSA operatives work from within the military-industrial complex. According to The Nation writer Jason Vest (The Men From JINSA and CSP), Leon Edney, David Jeremiah, and Charles May, all retired U.S. military officers, have been consultants to Northrop Grumman, which has built Israeli ships and planes. JINSA advisers May, Paul Cerjan, and Carlisle Trost have also worked for Lockheed Martin, which has sold F-16s, flight simulators, and rocket systems to Israel. Trost has served as a member of the board of General Dynamics, whose subsidiary Gulfstream has a $206 million contract with the Pentagon
“Over the past 25 years, pro-Israel forces have established a commanding presence at the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Center for Security Policy, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Hudson Institute, the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). These think tanks are decidedly pro-Israel, and include few, if any, critics of U.S. support for the Jewish state,” Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer wrote in their 2006 paper “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.”
As The Forward reported on December 19, the in-coming Obama administration is receptive to JINSA demands. “In their first meeting with Jewish leaders Thursday, the Obama transition team proved that change is indeed on its way. For the first time in years, a full spectrum of Jewish groups sat around one table for a lengthy, detailed and civilized discussion about the future,” Nathan Guttman wrote. Representatives included the “hawkish ZOA and JINSA.” ZOA, short for the Zionist Organization of America, is specifically tasked with attacking critics of Israel nominated for important government positions and regularly ships off activists to Israel for leadership training programs.
JINSA and its neocon and Likudnik operatives may have engaged in a “civilized discussion about the future” with the Obama transition team, but its agenda is anything but civilized. The Obama administration will continue the Bush legacy of allowing Israel to slaughter the Palestinians and paying them handsomely to do so. Since 1979 and the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty — no peace for the Palestinians, however — Israel has annually received up to $3 billion in aid.
It will be business as usual for JINSA after Obama takes office. Attacking Iran remains squarely on the table. In the meantime, the corporate media will continue to make excuses for Israel’s savage bombardment of Gaza, depicting Hamas’ pathetic and glorified bottle rockets as an existential threat to Israel, a state armed to the teeth with the latest U.S. mass murder technology.