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Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN answers widespread accusations...

Wartime Witch Hunt:
Blaming Israel for the Iraq War

by Dore Gold
Former Israeli Ambassador to the UN
President, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Overview and comments by Jared Israel

[Posted 18 June 2004]

[Concerning footnotes: Dr. Gold's footnotes, numbered 1-21, are posted immediately below his article. After that comes the Emperor's Clothes fundraising appeal followed by our footnotes, numbered A-E.] 


Israel: the Missing Voice in the 'Neocon' Debate
by Jared Israel

We are being bombarded with the hidden and not-so-hidden message that  'neoconservatives' in the Bush government, supposedly allied with the Likud party in Israel, talked President Bush and others into invading Iraq in order to serve Israel's security needs.

As noted by Dr. Dore Gold in the text posted below, in the past this message was put forward only by anti-Israeli Arab groups and by the Pat Buchanan wing of the American ultra-right. But now the same thing is being said by liberals and the mainstream media in the US. [A]

The first clue that this is not an honest discussion of foreign policy is that nobody ever quotes the views of the Israeli security establishment. Surely a discussion of whether the Iraq war was launched to improve Israel's security position ought to begin with an evaluation of the stated views of knowledgeable Israeli analysts!

We are told that the US went to war because certain government officials (e.g., Paul Wolfowitz) and some influential non-officials (e.g., Richard Perle) were loyal, first and foremost, to the Israeli Likud. The Likud is currently the strongest Israeli party. If Israeli security people associated with the Likud did not press for the Iraq war, if they gave it only lukewarm support out of loyalty to the US, if they are quietly saying the war is not the best thing for Israel or even presenting evidence that supports the conclusion that the war is bad for Israel, then how could one argue that the Israeli security establishment is behind the US invasion of Iraq?

When people suggest that the war was launched by Israeli proxies in the Bush administration, they are charging Israel with conspiracy. And not just any conspiracy: a conspiracy to launch an aggressive war.  And not a conspiracy by just any group: a conspiracy supposedly carried out by Israel, the Jewish state. 

During the last century, the charge that a supposed 'Jewish conspiracy' had taken control of the US (and the UK and USSR) was the basis for a catastrophic war. That was World War II. Before it ended, much of Eastern and Western Europe and large parts of Asia were in ruins, and perhaps 50 million people were dead. (In other words, it isn't only Jews who suffer from undocumented accusations about Jewish conspiracies!)

Claims about supposed Jewish conspiracies are therefore serious stuff - the most serious stuff - and yet powerful media organizations like ABC News have suggested that the Iraq invasion stems from "dual loyalties" (meaning loyalty to the Jewish state), providing by way of evidence nothing more than "expert" opinion, anecdotes, innuendo and even in the case of ABC, jokes. (See footnote [A] )

By way of contrast, consider our articles on Scott Ritter. [B]

Emperor's Clothes has accused Scott Ritter of being part of a US intelligence conspiracy to establish an antiwar movement controlled by the US foreign policy establishment.  This is a serious charge but surely not as serious as the charge that a Jewish conspiracy "hijacked" the US government to invade Iraq!  

In establishing our case, we have been analyzing Ritter's congressional testimony, media interviews and books, as well as what the media and politicians have said about him. More is coming.

Imagine what would happen if Emperor's Clothes had published a series of articles attacking Scott Ritter without quoting Ritter! People would say we were at best engaged in propaganda. Yet it is commonplace to blame the Iraq war on Israel without even presenting the views of Israeli security experts, even though Israel is the accused party.
Instead, supposed experts, e.g., Major Scott Ritter and General Anthony Zinni, make unsubstantiated  assertions about the motives of supposed 'neoconservatives'. Or we read quotes from designated neoconservatives saying this or that about Israel. Or the media tells us Israel is behind the war. Assertion without evidence.

Below is Dr. Dore Gold's analysis of how the war impacts Israeli security. Dr. Gold is a former Israeli Ambassador to the UN and a former adviser to Israeli Prime Ministers Sharon and Netanyahu. In other words, he is an insider in the Israeli security establishment.

Dr. Gold demonstrates the absurdity of the now-commonplace claim that so-called neoconservatives are agents of the Likud.  Moreover he presents hard evidence that the Israeli security establishment did not push for the US to invade Iraq. He shows that the war has increased Israeli insecurity!

Dr. Gold is an expert on Israeli foreign policy objectives, and what he says about Israeli security is documented and persuasive.  However Dr. Gold becomes gullible and superficial when he writes about US goals. We have posted comments refuting some of Dr. Gold's text.

Whatever your political views, if you are serious about evaluating the current attempt to blame Israel for the Iraq war, Dr. Gold's article is must-reading. If anyone sends us a coherent rebuttal to Gold's arguments that: a) the 'neocons' do not have a unified stance regarding Israel and indeed some leading Jewish 'neocons' have positions opposite those of the Likud party; b) the Israeli security establishment did not consider Iraq a primary threat prior to the invasion and c) that Israel has not gained from the invasion - if anyone can rebut these arguments coherently, we'll publish the rebuttal. That is, we'll publish any coherent rebuttal whose factual claims are documented. If we wanted to publish undocumented accusations against Israel, we could find plenty in the mainstream media.

-- Jared Israel


Wartime Witch Hunt: Blaming Israel for the Iraq War
By Dore Gold

[This text is posted in full except for an introductory summary which has been removed. - J.I.]

An insidious but steady drumbeat can be discerned over the last several weeks that seeks to link Israel with the U.S. decision to launch the Iraq War. Back in 2003, it was Yasser Arafat who charged that the Israeli government was "the first inciter for the war against Iraq." 1 About the same time, Patrick Buchanan charged in his American Conservative magazine that "a cabal of polemicists and public officials seek to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America's interests." He went on to blame them for "colluding with Israel to ignite those wars."

On the liberal side, Chris Matthews, who hosts MSNBC's Hardball, echoed Buchanan when he spoke about "conservative people out there, some of them Jewish…who believe that if we don't fight Iraq, Israel will be in danger." Likewise, former Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart warned of "ideologues" who were not able to distinguish between their loyalty "to their original homelands" and loyalty "to America and its national interests." 2

The newest wave in 2004 is often more subtle but also far more mainstream. Thus, in May 2004, CBS's "60 Minutes" interviewed General Anthony Zinni, former commander of the U.S. Central Command, who blasted the civilian leadership in the Pentagon for faulty strategy in Iraq. Steve Kroft of CBS then added fuel to the fire of Zinni's attack by asserting that the neo-conservatives among the civilian leaders in the Pentagon had an agenda to "strengthen the position of Israel." 3

Of course, what has given these comments saliency in the media is the difficulty the U.S. Army has encountered in dealing with the insurgency in Iraq after the completion of major combat operations. Had this aspect of the Iraq War gone more smoothly, as was perhaps originally anticipated, much of this scapegoating would not have even been voiced.


[Jared's comments begin here]

Comment: Up until here, Dr. Gold's argument is solid as a rock.  But once he starts talking about why powerful US establishment forces are attacking Israel he loses his edge.

First of all, the public would not perceive the war as going badly were it not for ferocious criticisms raised by the media and top establishment figures, such as General Anthony Zinni. This kind of attack on a war in progress is unprecedented in US history.  Why is the establishment doing it? The obvious explanation is that the US went into Iraq to dispose of the Baath party with the goal of turning Iraq into an Islamist state.  Now that Hussein's Baathist government has been crushed, the appearance of chaos and mishandling allows the US to turn Iraq over to the Islamists because 'they're the only ones who can establish order,' without ordinary people realizing that this is a deliberate US policy. Blaming 'the whole mess' on Israel further stimulates Islamism and diverts popular attention from US goals. [D]

However, assuming that we were to grant, for the sake of argument, that Dr. Gold were right, that the war is going badly from the standpoint of actual US goals and that the fight between the Bush administration and its critics is real, still Dr. Gold's use of the term 'scapegoating' would be misleading. 

Putting forward the same idea as Dr. Gold, Jonathan Tobin wrote in the Jewish Exponent:

"It is a rule of thumb that has been tried and tested many times over the last 2,000 years. When things go bad, blame the Jews. So it can hardly be termed a surprise that the problems that have arisen for the United States in Iraq have led some of the conflict’s fiercest critics to trot out the same bag of tired tricks. When in doubt, they always turn to the familiar refrain of thinly and not-so-thinly veiled canards directed at Israel and the Jews." [E]

The problem here is that to the extent that Jews have been used to take the fall for various problems, this has been done by the people who would otherwise be blamed for said problems.  In other words, John is accused of doing something, so John says, "Don't blame me - it was 'The Jews'!"

If Dr. Gold were right - if the war really were going badly - then the Bush people would be the ones having the problem.  But the charge that "The Jews" are behind the war is not being raised by the Bush people, it is being raised by their supposed critics!  Moreover this charge was not first raised when the supposed problem developed. Rather it was broadcast to millions starting before the invasion! (For example, by ABC Television on March 15, 2003!)  This supports the hypothesis that attacking "The Jews" is not some automatic byproduct of the failure of the US foreign policy establishment to reach its goals in Iraq, but quite the contrary, the attack is one of the goals of the invasion!

[Jared's comments end here]


[Dr. Gold resumes:]

But it [i.e., the scapegoating of Israel - EC] continued nonetheless. Newsweek reminded its readers in a May 31 cover-story on Ahmad Chalabi, the Iraqi National Congress leader whose offices were recently raided by Iraqi and U.S. security personnel, of how he had previously become a favorite of the Pentagon elite: Chalabi spoke in 1997 at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Newsweek emphasized, adding that in private conversations Chalabi assured his neo-conservative friends that a post-Saddam Iraq "would be an Arab country friendly to Israel." 4 A few weeks earlier, Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D-S.C.) wrote in a Charleston newspaper that behind the U.S. decision to go to war against Saddam Hussein was "President Bush's policy to secure Israel." Rather than retract his language, Hollings reiterated his claims later on the floor of the U.S. Senate. 5

The main charge by the current detractors of Israel is that the primary interest of the Bush administration in going to war against Saddam Hussein was to defend Israeli security interests. Bush critic Richard Clarke, who previously served in the administration, also mentions the Israel factor as one of five rationales of the Bush administration for the Iraq War, but at least he sets it aside as a main consideration, preferring instead to focus on the concern with finding a long-term alternative to Saudi Arabian oil. 6 Another variation on the Israel theme is the assertion made by Nicholas Kristof, the New York Times columnist, that General Zinni heard from administration officials that the Iraq War would advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process because "the road to Jerusalem leads through Baghdad." According to this thesis, the Iraq War would chiefly help Israel's drive to obtain peace on reasonable terms - still a benefit to Israel.

For critics of President Bush in the heat of an election year, who reject the notion that the Iraq War was fought over weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, or over human rights and a promise of a democratic Iraq, the Israel factor is a useful instrument for bashing the administration by ascribing the war to alien considerations having nothing to do with U.S. interests.


[Jared's comments begin here]

Comment:  "The Israel factor is a useful instrument for bashing the administration..."?! This statement by Dr. Gold is mind boggling.

The man is talking about a massive anti-Jewish campaign.  People are saying the Israelis hijacked the US government. The last time such charges were made on a grand scale was during the 1940s and the people making it were the Nazis. [F]

"[The widespread attack on Israel is] a useful instrument for bashing the administration"?  That is like saying a woman picks up a hammer and beats her husband to death because they were arguing about where they should go for dinner and the hammer seemed like a "useful instrument" for settling the dispute.

With all due respect (and much of what Dr. Gold writes is  worthy of respect) the current campaign to blame Israel for the Iraq war, complete with charges of "dual loyalties" and "hijacking" is not business-as-usual. There have been lots of political conflicts in US history but it is hardly the case that every time the party out of power wishes to attack the policies of the party in power, there is a nationwide blitz by the media and top establishment personalities accusing Israel of conspiring with agents within the US government to suck the US into war!

[Jared's comments end here]


[Dr. Gold's text resumes:]


The Israeli interest in the Iraq war


Iraq is one of several Arab countries that have in the past constituted Israel's "Eastern Front." Historically, they include Syria, Jordan, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. But whereas Syria devoted almost its entire ground order-of-battle to wars with Israel, Iraq sent only expeditionary forces that never exceeded one-third of its total army in 1948, 1967, and 1973. In the past, the Iraqi military reserved most of its units for internal threats (such as against the Kurdish militia) or for threats from Iran. Moreover, Iraq is not contiguous with Israel, as is Syria, and hence required the permission of third parties to project its military forces across 300 miles to reach Israel on the ground.

In short, the Iraqi threat against Israel could be substantial if Iraq maintained a 40-division army as it did prior to its invasion of Kuwait and the 1991 Gulf War, when in theory it could have threatened Israel with a 12-division force. However, by 2003, the Iraqi Army had been severely degraded in both military manpower and equipment. Continuing UN sanctions made Iraqi re-armament difficult. Thus, Iraq was clearly not Israel's primary concern.

What about missiles and weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Looking at publicized Israeli preparations and statements before and after the Iraq War, it is clear that Israeli officials were concerned with this aspect of Iraqi military power, but not overwhelmingly so. The Head of Military Intelligence of the Israel Defense Forces, Maj.-Gen. Aharon Zeevi-Farkash, told the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot that Iraq maintained a "residual capability" after 1998 that included "tens of missiles and several chemical and biological warheads." 7 Analyzing the prewar training patterns of the Iraqi Air Force, there were concerns in Israel that Baghdad sought to prepare long-range attack options, but these were not necessarily Israel-specific. 8

By contrast, in early 2003, among Israel's neighbors, Syria possessed by far the largest stockpile of ballistic missiles - at least 500 missiles or about ten times the size of the Iraqi arsenal. 9 The Syrians could mount on them the same biological or chemical warheads as the Iraqis, with one important difference: Iraq had to reduce the size of its warheads in order to extend the range of its missiles; thus, the quantities of non-conventional material that could be delivered by the Syrian missile forces was considerably greater.

Speaking in August 2002, Israel's former defense minister, Moshe Arens, concluded that in the immediate future, "the [missile] threat that Israel most likely will have to contend with" is that of Syria. 10 He described the Iraqi capability as "relatively limited." During the same month, Israel's current chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, declared in Jerusalem that the threat posed by Iraq "doesn't make me lose sleep." 11 In an open address at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies in October 2002, the former head of analysis for Israeli Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, explained to an Israeli audience that since the Iraqi missile units had not conducted military exercises and lacked spare parts, the Iraqi threat to Israel was minimal.

In other words, the American war against Iraq may have had an unintended side-effect of removing a secondary or tertiary threat to Israel, but not a primary threat. For other states in the region, like Iran, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, whose territory was actually invaded or threatened by Iraqi forces in the last 20 years, Iraq posed a potential primary threat. Indeed, when one considers the fact that Saddam Hussein's military killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims in successive wars with Iran, the Kurds, Iraqi Shiites, and Kuwaitis, while perhaps one Israeli was killed due to the Iraqi missile attack on Israel in 1991, the theory that the Bush administration fought Iraq on behalf of Israel looks especially ludicrous. And while Iraq supported Palestinian terrorism against Israel over the last number of years, it was only a minor financial sponsor compared to Iran and Saudi Arabia.


Risks Israel undertook because of the Iraq war


If Israel played down the Iraqi threat prior to 2003, once the countdown to the U.S.-UK-led campaign got underway, the Israeli government had to undertake serious civil-defense preparations. The most notable development was a sudden nationwide effort to distribute gas masks and nerve gas antidote. It was assumed that Iraq could not retaliate against Washington or London, which were beyond the range of its missiles, but Baghdad might strike out against U.S. regional allies like Israel. As a result, Israel had to prepare itself to absorb this sort of Iraqi counterattack which, if not for the coalition's war on Iraq, was unlikely to have been directed against Israel like a bolt out of the blue. In other words, while Israel clearly benefited from the removal of a secondary or tertiary threat to its security, from its perspective, Israel assumed tremendous risks in the process.


[Jared's comments begin here]

Comment: Below, in the section entitled "The real long-term threat to Israel: Iran," Dr. Gold proves that Iran was and remains the key threat to Israel's very existence.  Above, he comments that:

 "For other states in the region, like Iran, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, whose territory was actually invaded or threatened by Iraqi forces in the last 20 years, Iraq posed a potential primary threat."

So Iraq was the primary threat to Iran. And Iran was/is the primary threat to Israel.  Dr. Gold presents this highly suggestive information in truly diplomatic fashion. That is, he doesn't state the obvious conclusion: that the US invasion of Iraq has increased the power of Iran, the country that poses the main threat to Israel's existence! 

Instead he concludes that while "Israel clearly benefited from the removal of a secondary or tertiary threat to its security," it is also true that "from its perspective, Israel assumed tremendous risks in the process." With this he abandons reason. The truth is, even if the US did not have the goal of creating an Islamist state in Iraq, the geopolitical consequence of the war would be to strengthen Iran.  If someone asked Dr. Gold, "What would it have meant for Israel if Iran had crushed Iraq in their eight-year war, with the result that Iran dominated Iraqi politics?" Dr. Gold - and every other Israeli analyst - would answer: 'That would have been a disaster for Israel.'

But that is precisely what the US has just accomplished. It has smashed Iran's enemy, the Baathist government in Iraq.  It has set the stage for a pro-Iranian Islamist state in Iraq. This is an unmitigated disaster for Israel and it was done without Iran having to fire a shot!

[Jared's comments end here]


[Dr. Gold's text resumes:]

For regardless of what happened to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, Israeli military intelligence had little doubt that a small amount of this weaponry was still retained by Saddam Hussein, enough to cause great harm to a small country. Moreover, Israel's concerns with a potential biological weapons attack included contagious diseases, like smallpox. Indeed, Israeli health workers were vaccinated for smallpox as an additional prewar precaution.

How would Saddam Hussein deliver these weapons over Israel, given the small size of the Iraqi missile force? The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee's investigation of Israel's wartime intelligence on Iraq disclosed that the Israeli military discerned long-range Iraqi Air Force exercises before the war that also included the use of pilotless drone aircraft.

The use of suicide terrorists could not be dismissed either. While the extent of the al-Qaeda/Saddam link is a matter of dispute in the U.S., there is no question that the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) of Abul Abbas operated out of Baghdad and his operatives were trained by Iraqi intelligence. This relatively small organization, which was a component of the PLO, had dispatched operatives from Iraq to the West Bank before and could have been the vehicle for delivering such weapons, in coordination with larger Palestinian groups such as Fatah-Tanzim or Hamas. Indeed, these groups had experimented, on a limited scale and without much success, with suicide bombs that were tainted with biological weapons components. In short, it would have been foolhardy for Israel to dismiss out of hand the possibility of Iraqi retaliation in response to the coalition attack on Iraq.


The real long-term threat to Israel: Iran


If prior to the Iraq War the Israeli security establishment was somewhat ambivalent about the extent of the Iraqi threat, there was one state that threatened Israel about which Israeli statements were unmistakably clear: Iran. Israel used language with respect to Iran that it never used regarding Iraq. Thus, in 2004 Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would call Iran "the main existential threat to Israel." 12 Arriving in Washington a few weeks after the September 11, 2001, attack, former Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh told reporters: "Iran stands in first place as a sponsor of terrorism." 13 Clearly, if Israel wanted to get into the business - which it did not - of prodding the U.S. to go to war on its behalf, it would have chosen Iran and not Iraq.

Why was the Iranian threat worse than the Iraqi threat? Despite the removal of UN monitors from Iraq in 1998, Iraq, nonetheless, had been under international inspection for more than a decade, limiting the progress of its clandestine programs in developing prohibited weapons under UN Security Council Resolution 687. Iran did not face the same international constraints, so both its nuclear and ballistic missile programs were far more advanced. For example, the bi-partisan, congressionally-mandated Rumsfeld Commission Report of 1998 predicted that Iran could put together an intercontinental-range missile within five years from taking the decision, while Iraq would need double that time.

While Iran was completing the development of its 1,300-kilometer-range Shihab-III missile, it had already placed thousands of Fajr artillery rockets in Lebanon that could strike central Israel. These forward-deployed rocket systems were under Iranian command and control. Iraq had no equivalent territory along Israel's borders that it could exploit in order to threaten Israeli cities.

On the nuclear side as well, Iran was moving ahead of Iraq by the year 2000. Speaking in Jerusalem in July 2000, former UNSCOM executive-chairman Richard Butler disclosed that, while the Iraqi design for producing nuclear weapons was advanced, Baghdad did not possess the necessary enriched uranium or plutonium for producing an atomic weapon. 14 Yet Iran possessed what Iraq lacked. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) already knew about Iran's covert nuclear enrichment facility at Natanz by September 2002 when the issue was raised by IAEA Director General Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei with Iran's vice-president. 15 A confidential IAEA report in 2003 described how the clandestine Iranian nuclear enrichment program had been based on complex technologies developed over the past 18 years. 16 Thus, Israel would have had good reasons to be more concerned about Iran than about Iraq prior to the Iraq War.


Nonsense about neo-conservatives


The alleged conduit for supposed Israeli influence on the Bush administration, according to the conspiracy theorists, has been the group of "neo-conservatives" that are repeatedly identified as serving in the Pentagon and the Office of the Vice-President. By definition, neo-conservatives are "new" conservatives who once were members of the Democratic Party and are now Republicans. They are particularly vulnerable to an ideological cross-fire in the internal U.S. political debate, since liberals regard them as defectors who abandoned their original camp, while certain ultra-conservative elements may not welcome them as full members of the club.

As Norman Podhoretz points out, one of the first neo-conservatives was President Ronald Reagan, who was a liberal Democrat until his fifties. 17 Most of President George W. Bush's advisors are actually life-long conservatives, but because there are also some neo-conservatives in the administration, the influence of this group appears to have been exaggerated. Furthermore, the fact that some notable neo-conservatives are American Jews has allowed some commentators, as Podhoretz has observed, to play on ancient anti-Semitic canards as they trash the Bush administration's Iraq War strategy: Like the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion, these conspiracies are based on a sinister Jewish plot to exercise global influence. In its current variant, that influence is exercised on behalf of Israel.

Moreover, the critics of the neo-conservatives charge that this plot is intended to serve the ideological agenda of the Israeli Likud party. Thus, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi branded Elliot Abrams, who serves on the National Security Council, as "an American Likudnik." Maureen Dowd explained to the readers of the New York Times that the neo-conservatives seek to make sure that U.S. foreign policy "is good for Ariel Sharon," Israel's prime minister who heads the Likud party. 18

Like the charge that the Iraq War was promoted by Israel, the Likud connection has been shown to be groundless. For example, in November 2003, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz met with the authors of the Ayalon-Nusseibeh plan that envisions Israel withdrawing to the 1967 lines - a stand which is anathema to the Likud party. Writing with David Frum, Richard Perle proposed that the U.S. use its influence to help broker the creation of a Palestinian mini-state "with its capital in part of Jerusalem." 19 The redivision of Jerusalem is overwhelmingly opposed by most Israelis and certainly by the members of the Likud party. In contrast, the Pentagon's Douglas Feith has criticized the concessions of former Likud Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the pages of Commentary. 20 In short, there is no uniform neo-conservative position on Israel. Consequently, there is no set policy on Israel among neo-conservatives that has been coordinated with the leadership of the Likud party. The Likud/neo-conservative cabal is a myth.


[Jared's comments begin here]

Comment: Superb!  Everyone is giving their sage opinion concerning the number of teeth in the horse's mouth. But only Dr. Gold actually opens the horse's mouth and counts the teeth!  He shows that the infamous Mr. Perle does not agree with the Likud.  Indeed, by publicly arguing for a divided Jerusalem, Perle is meddling in Israeli affairs in direct opposition to the Likud!  And the same is true regarding the infamous Mr. Wolfowitz! So much for the neocon-Likud connection. Touché Gold!

[Jared's comments end here]


[Dr. Gold's text resumes:]

But what if a portion of the Republican Party leadership adopted positions on the Middle East that were similar to those of the Likud, the ruling party in Israel? Would anyone care if Republicans and British conservatives engaged in a dialogue over the future of the Atlantic Alliance? What if the dialogue was with Germany's Christian-Democratic Party? For decades, European Socialist parties met at meetings of the Socialist Internationale (along with the Israeli Labor Party) in order to adopt joint positions on a host of issues. There was no outcry that this was some kind of sinister plot - nor should there have been. But if the Likud party were to have a dialogue with American neo-conservatives, then this is somehow branded as illegitimate, or worse.

And only in this case has the Jewish background of some of the Americans come under scrutiny with open comments about dual loyalty and even subtle hints of treason. The United States is a country of immigrants that integrates White Europeans, Black Africans, Jews, Pakistani Muslims, Indian Hindus, Mexicans, and Asians. Its inclusiveness has been a source of strength. The elective attack on the Jewish neo-conservatives is not only groundless, but also un-American, for it contradicts the idealism for which the U.S. has been admired, that rejects racial and religious discrimination, preferring mutual tolerance and the protection of individual rights. Is it really worth it for the neo-conservatives' adversaries to trample on these ideals in order to score points in a political debate?


The shared interests of allies


[Jared's comments begin here]

Comment: Dr. Gold appears to believe that the US is Israel's ally.  It is true that sometimes President Bush waxes poetic about his concern for Israeli security. I believe he also waxes poetic about his concern for the natural environment.

Some hard facts: The US gives and sells arms to Israel - and in aggregate it gives and sells far more weapons to Israel's Arab enemies (Saudi Arabia and Egypt). The Bush administration pressures Israel to given up the West Bank, the consequence of which would be to leave Israel 9 miles wide in its most populated area, with deadly enemies occupying the adjacent mountains.  President Bush says during a trip to the UK that Israeli checkpoints (set up to detect suicide bombers!) are an example of the humiliation of Arabs. And the US sends troops into the Middle East to destroy the only government (that of Saddam Hussein) blocking Iranian power.  With allies like the US, Israel does not need enemies.  But hope springs eternal. Thus does the meat cow fancy that she is allied with the farmer.

[Jared's comments end here]


[Dr. Gold's text resumes:]

What is equally disturbing about the effort to blame Israel for the Iraq War is the accompanying tendency to reject the notion that the U.S. and Israel are both allies with joint interests. Because Winston Churchill met with President Roosevelt before Pearl Harbor to discuss the joint interests of Britain and the U.S., does that mean that the British dragged the U.S. into the Second World War? The 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington have only enlarged the scope of the joint interests of the U.S. and Israel to defeat global terrorist organizations that are harbored by rogue regimes in the Middle East. If Israel didn't exist, that would remain a primary U.S. interest today.

Why did the U.S. go to war against Iraq? The declarations of the Bush administration are well-known regarding weapons of mass destruction and the war on terrorism. But wars are launched for multiple reasons, many of which are not always pronounced. The U.S. was attacked by the Japanese in 1941, but nonetheless decided on a "Europe-First" strategy to eliminate Nazi Germany, for Hitler's hegemony over all of Europe was the greater threat. There is something persuasive about Richard Clarke's thesis that in the case of Iraq, the dominant consideration was concern over the long-term stability of the House of Saud and the need for the U.S. to replace a shaky Saudi Arabia with an alternative friendly source of oil for the industrial West. 21 Considering the widespread presence of al-Qaeda cells across virtually all parts of Saudi Arabia that now has become evident from repeated terrorist attacks during 2003/4, this American consideration has been proven to be prescient. But this has absolutely nothing to do with Israel.


[Jared's comments begin here]

Comment: Dr. Gold is correct: if the Saudi explanation were true, it would have nothing to do with Israel.  But that's a big 'if' because the Saudi explanation is far-fetched. Why pose a hypothesis that is far-fetched when a realistic one lies close at hand?

In making geopolitical analyses, it is reasonable to take as one's working assumption that the foreign policy establishments of great powers are reasonably informed.  Before the Iraq war began, it was obvious to Emperor's Clothes that an invasion would strengthen Iran. We stated that in articles. We explained why. (See footnote [D]).  How could we make this prediction? Because, considering Dr. Gold's list of countries potentially threatened by Iraq, Iran is the only one that fought a ferocious eight-year war with Saddam Hussein's regime! Iraq has a Shi'ite Muslim majority.  Iran is the main Shi'ite Muslim power.  Does it take a rocket scientist to figure out that getting rid of Saddam had to strengthen Iran?  Since this is obvious, although until recently US analysts have avoided discussing this obvious point, and because the preponderance of evidence suggests that the US establishment has an Islamist strategy in general, it is our hypothesis that the US invaded Iraq in order a) to remove an obstacle to Iranian power (the Baath party under Saddam Hussein's clique) and b) to create a line of Islamist states from Saudi Arabia to Central Asia.  Not because it was worried about oil. The US did not need to invade Iraq to get hold of Iraqi oil.  Saddam was perfectly willing to sell the US oil. When one sells oil, one makes money. Saddam was averse to making money the way a goat is averse to eating grass.

[Jared's comments end here]


[Dr. Gold's text resumes:]

Yet, many neo-isolationist critics of the Iraq War do not understand why America is fighting wars all of a sudden in the distant Middle East. Partly for that reason, they think America's war on terrorism was caused by considerations related to Israel. During most of the twentieth century, the main threats to U.S. national security emanated from the European continent, evidenced by the decisions of past American administrations to enter World War I, World War II, and to extend the U.S. military umbrella over Europe during the Cold War.


[Jared's comments begin here]

Comment:  Who are these neo-isolationists who, according to Dr. Gold, are bewildered about US policy and therefore have stumbled upon the idea that Israel is at fault?  Is Dr. Gold talking about Pat Buchanan? Well, Buchanan is not some naive soul. He has an antisemitic agenda going way back. For example, in the 1980s, he (and, by the way, Ramsey Clark!) made a cause célèbre out of defending Nazi war criminals whom the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations was trying to deport to the USSR. [G] As for isolationism, Buchanan's is selective; he was a top level apologist for the US war against Nicaragua. And what about General Anthony Zinni? Is he also a neo-isolationist? In his book, "Battle Ready," Zinni boasts that he advocated sending US-organized "peacekeeping" forces - i.e., military intervention - to facilitate the breakup of "what had been called Yugoslavia." That's how Zinni describes a state which a) resulted from titanic struggles by south Slavs, especially the Serbian people and b) was the mainstay of stability in the Balkans. In the book, Zinni glibly endorses the view of "insightful young" intelligence officers that Yugoslavia was "an artificial nation." [H] According to the book, Zinni took this position in 1990, i.e., before Croatia and Slovenia tried to secede from Yugoslavia. Translation: Zinni advocated military aggression to destroy a European state, a direct violation of the Helsinki Accords. Currently Zinni is a 'distinguished advisor' at the Center for Strategic and International Studies of Zbigniew Brzezinski. Is Brzezinski also a neo-isolationist whose delicate sensibilities have been discombobulated by the US government's aggressive behavior?


[Jared's comments end here]


[Dr. Gold's text resumes:]

Given the global pattern of non-conventional weapons proliferation, the spread of long-range delivery systems, and the sources of the current wave of international terrorism, the Middle East has replaced Europe as the region that poses the greatest threat to the American heartland. That fact has nothing to do with the purported lobbying efforts of a group of American citizens who have been singled out by irresponsible commentators. In the late 1930s, a group of racists charged Roosevelt, the British, and the Jews with forcing America into war. Their intellectual offspring are doing the same 70 years later.

© Copyright. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Dore Gold is the President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is the author of Hatred's Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism (Regnery, 2003), and Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos (New York: Crown Forum, forthcoming November 2004).

* Posted for Fair Use Only *

[Below are footnotes for Dore Gold's article. These are followed by an Emperor's Clothes fundraising appeal, which is followed by footnotes for our comments. - J.I.]


1. Saud Abu Ramadan, "Israel Inciting U.S. to Iraq War, Says Arafat," Daily Times (Pakistan), May 30, 2004,

2. Rebecca Phillips, "Dual Loyalty?: Are Israeli Interests 'The Elephant in the Room' in the Conflict with Iraq?", March 15, 2003,

Backup at

[Note by TENC: As of January 30, 2008, the article's title has been changed from "Dual Loyalties?" to "Do Israeli Interests Fire U.S. Iraq Policy?". The photo of the religious Jew at Temple Mount, which had the caption "A right-wing demonstrator blows a ram's horn at the foot of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in this photo from December 2000. The Temple Mount is the third-holiest shrine in Islam," has been eliminated. The article has been moved to the following URL:  ]

3. "Gen. Zinni: 'They've Screwed Up'," CBSNEWS.COM, May 21, 2004,

4. "The Rise and Fall of Chalabi: Bush's Mr. Wrong," Newsweek World News website, May 31, 2004,

5. Nathan Guttman, "Prominent U.S. Jews, Israel Blamed for Start of Iraq War," Ha'aretz, May 31, 2004,

6. Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror (New York: Free Press, 2004), p. 265. There is also a passing reference in Bob Woodward's book to Bush saying to Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia that the U.S. seeks to remove Iraq's weapons of mass destruction "that could pose a threat to the Kingdom and/or to Israel." It's not clear from Woodward whether this quote came from his interviews in the White House or from the Saudis. Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004), p. 230.

7. Yediot Ahronot (Hebrew), April 11, 2004.

8. Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Commission of Inquiry Investigating the Intelligence System After the Iraq War, March 2004.

9. Uzi Rubin, "Beyond Iraq: Missile Proliferation in the Middle East," Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 493, March 2, 2003, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs,
Rubin was the father of Israel's Arrow anti-ballistic missile defense system.

10. Moshe Arens, "Missile Proliferation in the Middle East," Jerusalem Issue Brief, Vol. 2, No. 4, August 13, 2002,

11. Yair Sheleg, "Ya'alon: Palestinian Threat is Cancerous," Ha'aretz, August 26, 2002.

12. "Iran: We Retaliate If Israel Hits Our Nuclear Facilities," AP/Ha'aretz, May 11, 2004.

13. Barry Schweid, "Israel Calls Iran 'Biggest Threat'," AP/Washington Post, November 7, 2001.

14. Richard Butler, "The Emerging Threat of Iraq and the Crisis of Global Security," Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 437, September 1, 2000,

15. Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Report by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei, June 6, 2003.

16. David Sawyer and William J. Broad, "Surprise Word on Nuclear Gains by North Korea and Iran," New York Times, November 12, 2003,

17. Manfred Gerstenfeld, "Countervailing Trends in American Jewry: An Interview with Norman Podhoretz," Jerusalem Viewpoints, No. 505, October 15, 2003,

See also Joshua Muravchik, "The Neoconservative Cabal," Commentary, September 2003.

18. Maureen Dowd, "Neocon Coup at the Department d'État," New York Times, August 6, 2003,

19. David Frum and Richard Perle, An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror (New York: Random House, 2003), p. 182.

20. Douglas J. Feith, "Wye and the Road to War," Commentary, January 1999.

21. Woodward reports on an August 29, 2002, top secret memo called "Iraq: Goals, Objectives, and Strategy": one key goal was "to minimize disruption in international oil markets." Woodward, p. 228.

*     *     *

[Footnotes and Further Reading follows the fundraising appeal]


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Footnotes and Further Reading

[A]  Rebecca Phillips, "Dual Loyalty?: Are Israeli Interests 'The Elephant in the Room' in the Conflict with Iraq?", March 15, 2003, can be read at

Backup at

[Note by TENC: As of January 30, 2008, the article's title has been changed from "Dual Loyalties?" to "Do Israeli Interests Fire U.S. Iraq Policy?". The photo of the religious Jew at Temple Mount, which had the caption "A right-wing demonstrator blows a ram's horn at the foot of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in this photo from December 2000. The Temple Mount is the third-holiest shrine in Islam," has been eliminated. The article has been moved to the following URL:  ]

[B] So far we have published five articles as in the series, 'How the Lies of Scott Ritter Reveal the Strategic Goals of the Bizarre Iraq War':

* "Part 1: Hawk-to-Dove Scott Ritter challenges Emperor's Clothes to Prove he's a Liar. EC accepts." At

* "Part 2: The Source of the Claim that Iraq had Nuclear Weapons was... Scott Ritter," by Jared Israel at

* "Part 3: Reader Says Emperor's Clothes all wrong on Ritter's Nuke Statements; J.I. Responds."

* "Part 4: Readers ask: 'Why this focus on Scott Ritter?" Jared Israel Respond" 

* "Part 5: "The Neocons made me do it!"

[C] For a biographical sketch of Dr. Gold, go to

[D] We have compiled a list of Emperor's Clothes articles dealing with US relations with Iran and Iraq, the Iraq invasion, and evidence that the US has an Islamist strategy. Includes notes summarizing the contents of some of the articles. Go to

[E] "The Same Old Song, As war news turns sour, critics point their fingers at who else — the Jews"; By: Jonathan S. Tobin; Jewish Exponent, Philadelphia, May 27, 2004
Backup at

[F] Some people argue that our comparison between the Nazis and those who accuse Israel of hijacking US policy is absurd because the current criticisms are being raised from the Left, whereas the Nazis were hard-core Rightists. But in fact the Nazis posed as anti-imperialist, even anti-capitalist! Consider this quote from a Nazi pamphlet, circa 1942:

[Excerpt from Nazi war propaganda starts here]

"They sought the war, they provoked and maneuvered to get it. They pressed the young peoples of Germany, Italy and Japan wherever they could. They wanted war, a real world war — and now they have it.

"Not only two worlds of ideas are at war here, but the whole world. This war reaches every corner of the world. The plutocrats are on the line; they have to defend themselves. The Jews and their hired tools, Churchill and Roosevelt, must themselves step into action. The field is cleared, and now we face our real enemy, the men behind the scenes who over the decades plunged the world into disorder, war and revolution, but whose own valuable capitalist lives were naturally too valuable to sacrifice in war."

Robert Ley, Roosevelt verrät Amerika! (Berlin: Verlag der Deutschen Arbeitsfront, 1942).

[Excerpt from Nazi war propaganda ends here]

This pamphlet includes a cartoon of President Roosevelt with a caricatured Jew hovering behind him.

[G] Regarding Buchanan and Ramsey Clark's efforts on behalf of accused Nazis, see "How Ramsey Clark Labored to Protect Nazi Émigrés," by Nico Varkevisser and Jared Israel

[H] Clancy, T. and Zinni, T. (2004), Battle Ready, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, p. 188.


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