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article imageOp-Ed: 5.7 percent of Americans think Israel top meddler in elections

By Ken Hanly     Jul 15, 2019 in Politics
Mainstream news coverage of foreign government influence on US elections has been extensive since information first came to light about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race.
Poll on the top meddler in US elections
Not surprisingly given all the media coverage of Russian intervention a recent poll shows a 60 percent majority of Americans think Russia is the top meddler in US elections. Russia is followed by China at 16.4 percent and the UK at 7.1 percent. 5.7 percent think Israel is the biggest meddler in US politics.
Israel meddling in US elections
This February, the New Yorker reported on how the Israeli private intelligence company Psy-Group pitched clandestine services to boost the 2016 Trump campaign plus other campaigns. Business Insider discussed the report in a an article from earlier this year: "Psy-Group, a defunct private intelligence agency staffed with former Israeli spies, attempted to influence at least one local US election and other domestic affairs, according to a report from The New Yorker's Adam Entous and Ronan Farrow. The company even courted President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign..."
Noam Chomsky Russia versus Israeli meddling
Well known activist Noam Chomsky said that media fascination with Russian interference was a joke compared to the influence Israel has on US politics. In a recent interview with Democracy Now, Chomsky said: "First of all, if you're interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly, and with enormous support. Israeli intervention in U.S. elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done.
"Netanyahu goes directly to Congress without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president's policies. Did Putin come to give an address to the joint sessions of Congress, trying to call on them to reverse U.S. policy, without even informing the president? And that's just a tiny bit of this overwhelming interest."
Israeli lobbying is part of what Chomsky has termed earlier in his activism as "manufacturing consent". The mainstream media is mostly positive about Israel and it is always emphasized that Israel is a firm ally of the US. Most US politicians are pro-Israel as is President Trump.
Why some Americans may see Israel as meddling
Given the lack of hardly any critical coverage of Israeli influence in US elections, why are even 5.7 percent of Americans of the opinion that Israel is the biggest meddler in US elections? It may be that more Americans are becoming aware of the influence of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC does not register as a foreign lobby group because it claims that it is only trying to strengthen US-Israel relations but is not lobbying directly for the government of Israel
AIPAC has never welcomed public attention. A recent article from the blog points out: "AIPAC has many reasons to want to stay out of the limelight. Among them are its founder’s longstanding ties to and employment by the Israeli government and his startup funding from Israel... the 1962 Kennedy administration umbrella order that AIPAC register as the foreign agent of Israel under the Foreign Agents Registration Act and three separate espionage-related inquiries into the group. AIPAC never complied with the 1962 order."
A Google poll by the Institute for Research Middle Eastern Policy shows that almost half of respondents see no difference between the kind of lobbying AIPAC does in the name of promoting Israel's relationship with the US and direct lobbying on behalf of the Israeli government. There is considerable interest in AIPAC according to search charts.
State legislation against BDS supporters
Another reminder of Israeli influence in US politics is the number of US states that have attempted to ban contracts with those supporting the BDS movement. The BDS movement is described as follows: "The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (also known as BDS) is a Palestinian-led campaign promoting various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets what the campaign describes as Israel's obligations under international law, defined as withdrawal from the occupied territories, removal of the separation barrier in the West Bank, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and "respecting, protecting, and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties". The campaign is organized and coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee."
Texas is one state that has passed anti-BDS laws that prohibits government contractors from supporting BDS. Federal District Judge Robert Pitman declared the bill unconstitutional saying, “At the heart of the First Amendment lies the principle that each person should decide for him or herself the ideas and beliefs deserving of expression, consideration and adherence. Our political system and cultural life rest upon this ideal."
Pitman added that the purpose behind the US Bill of Rights and the First Amendment was to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation, and their ideas from being suppressed by an intolerant society.
It is astonishing that so many states can pass such repressive legislation at the behest of another country. Imagine the outcry if there were such legislation against boycotts of Russia or China! Yet there is no visible public outcry and the issue is virtually off the radar of mainstream media.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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