The Israel lobby’s campaign against US and international corporations doing business with Iran is gearing up this week. The tip of the spear is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee sponsored expansion of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996. If signed into law by president Obama, the legislation would institute onerous new monitoring to ensure exports never enter Iran, along with mandatory divestment from and penalties for any corporations discovered doing business in Iran. A new type of "office of special plans" at the Treasury Department that AIPAC and its think tank lobbied to create by executive order in 2004 is also on the warpath. Stuart Levey, the head of the office of "Terrorism and Financial Intelligence" is traveling to Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman "pointing out that they face dramatic risks by doing business with Iran." Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon finished a long set of meetings urging the US National Security Council to impose harsh sanctions on Iran.
The New York Times started the week with a list of corporations doing business in Iran and their US government procurement revenues. Most companies on this list long ago appeared on hit lists compiled by AIPAC for quiet divestment campaigns in state legislatures across the country. The New York Times ominously highlights in red any company that may be a "possible violator of the Iran Sanctions Act." National Public Radio’s Scott Simon, after reading it, was apoplectic. He fretted aloud on the air whether US companies and subsidiaries on the target list were "betraying their country’s national security interests."
What should Americans make of this drive to label all companies doing business with Iran unpatriotic smugglers? First, they should consider the source of the multi-tiered Iran sanctions drive. Then, they should start getting angry.
The proto Israel lobby was born in the cradle of a real arms theft and smuggling operation [pdf] that relentlessly preyed on the United States in the 1940s. Violating US arms export controls and bans on weapons transfers to the Middle East, this network certainly did "betray national security" — but managed to establish a small state in Palestine. The Director of US Central Intelligence judged that "U.S. national security is unfavorably affected by these developments and that it could be seriously jeopardized by continued illicit traffic in the implements of war." That was an understatement, but none of the financiers of the arms smuggling network ever faced any consequences. When The Pledge, a tell-all book about the smuggling network, was published in 1970 the Department of Justice received public protests about the vast unpunished arms smuggling. The Internal Security Section duly wrote and internally circulated a 9-page book report about the people, dates, and crimes committed. The Chief of the Foreign Agents Registration Unit then responded to one protester that any arms smuggling prosecutions would be barred by the statute of limitations, though he did forward complaints to the FBI and State Department.
The Israel lobby further developed the ethos that "no crime for Israel would be punished in the US" when it allegedly stole and smuggled US weapons grade uranium from NUMEC, "an Israeli operation from the beginning" according to CIA Tel Aviv station chief John Hadden. A secret nuclear arsenal would allow Israel to initiate "The Samson Option" pulling down the entire world if it were ever threatened — a capability judged worth all the stealing and law breaking.
Isaiah L. Kenen, a propaganda officer for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in New York in 1948, made it his business to infiltrate Israeli government mandates into US political party platforms while dodging Department of Justice orders that he register and conduct his business openly as an Israeli foreign agent. Like AIPAC this week, Kenen even used the New York Times as a trumpet in his November 2, 1961 Near East Report to deny that Dimona was a nuclear weapons plant. Six weeks after the DOJ cracked down with its final Foreign Agent order on Kenen and company in 1963 after a massive (Israeli-funded) stealth propaganda and lobbying campaign that rivaled the one currently unfurling in the US, Kenen was forced to abandon his American Zionist Council front for the Israeli government, and incorporated AIPAC in Washington, DC. AIPAC went on to stage a full assault on US governance — from attacking the sanctity of our electoral process to trafficking in classified national security information — all to acquire unprecedented power on behalf of its foreign principals.
The most relevant example of AIPAC-Israeli government tag-team law-breaking went on display this week in the form of 49 declassified FBI files. In 1984 71 major US corporations and worker organizations said "no" to an earlier AIPAC economic power grab (a demand to lower all US import barriers to Israeli products while allowing Israel to continue blocking US exports). Israeli minister of economics Dan Halpern stole [pdf] a US government document containing proprietary information and business secrets supplied by US industries most opposed to the Israel Lobby’s economic power grab. Halpern passed it to AIPAC, which made great use of it to undermine the entire advice and consent process. Douglas Bloomfield, AIPAC’s top lobbyist, even made an illicit copy of the classified document after AIPAC was explicitly ordered to return it to the US government (rather than ever do time in jail, Bloomfield now fantasizes about militarily playing the United Arab Emirates off Iran).
The aftermath of this earlier economic crime against US industry has now become clear. By locking many US products of export quantity out of Israel, the trade agreement has delivered an $80 billion dollar cumulative deficit (adjusted for inflation) to the US since enacted. In contrast, last year all other (legitimate) bilateral agreements with such countries as Singapore and Morocco actually produced a $86.33 billion total trade surplus to the US. AIPAC’s trajectory clearly indicates it is a true believer of Julius Caesar’s dictum "If you must break the law, do it to seize power, in all other cases observe it." But does such ill-gotten might make right?
Americans should be outraged that a foreign lobby like AIPAC is actually trying to write the rules — when warranted application of the law would have abolished it years ago. AIPAC and other nodes of Israel’s lobby successfully broke important US laws to seize power in America. They now expect US private enterprise and workers — the world’s best — to open their own little "offices of special plans" to carefully track company products, profits, and investments in the name of Israel. But this new tax ignores some mighty important facts.
Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and there’s no evidence that it is anywhere near producing nuclear weapons. Non-signatory Israel, with its vast secret arsenal of nuclear weapons — likely built with uranium stolen (but never paid for) from the United States — suddenly demands rule of law from America. Laws drafted by AIPAC. (And by the way, it’ll cost taxpayers at least $76 million to clean up the nuclear waste at NUMEC.)
Israel and its US lobby actually think Americans will go for all of this, that we’re a forgetful and obedient lot, who don’t care much about our laws, economy, or jobs — who are just aching to get into AIPAC’s newly fabricated economic straightjacket.
Better think again.