Satloff’s Notes and the Zionist Lobbying

The executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Robert Satloff, presented his observations following his regional tour last month to several countries. These observations carry the same ideas he seeks to emphasize, whether he visited the region or not (with slight differences, some related to Saudi comfort following their agreement with Iran). They indicate a shared Arab desire with Israel to eliminate Hamas, as allegedly conveyed by Arab politicians behind closed doors.

The tone remains consistent (though it applies to some Arab politicians and officials, not all), but the new and worse aspect (in all his observations) is the disdain and extreme disregard for Palestinian martyrs, the thirty thousand civilians, mostly children and women, and tens of thousands of wounded, hundreds of thousands displaced, in what he considers all collateral damage, unavoidable. He compares, as expected, between what Israel does and what the Assad regime did in displacing millions of Syrians, killing them, and arresting tens of thousands, etc.

Satloff acknowledges that he found no sympathy in Israeli society for Palestinians, nor for civilian children and women. The talk of a two-state solution has become strange in Israeli popular circles. While he praises the Biden administration’s ability to manage the conflict and prevent regional expansion, he believes it hasn’t done enough to deter what he calls “Iranian proxies” from threatening American and Israeli interests, as Iraqi militias do in Iraq and Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Houthis in Yemen. He sees them as six fronts (adding the West Bank and Gaza) in the current Israeli war.

Satloff and his institute belong to the strongly pro-Israeli Zionist current, funded by the Zionist lobby in the United States. Despite this, he enjoys many Arab friendships, reflecting, at the same time, the traditional pro-Israeli Zionist lobby’s position and direction, supporting Israel and the political right there. It is a powerful and globally influential political current, reminding us of important phrases reiterated by the late Jordanian politician, Adnan Abu Odeh, that those who see the battle with Israel within its geographical borders do not realize its true dimensions. He mentions the submerged iceberg of Israeli power, represented by the global Zionist project and its significant influence in politics, media, culture, and the arts. The reference to McCarthyist political tactics being used against those critical of Israel is also noted.

An experienced Arab diplomat is surprised by the overwhelming impact of the Zionist lobby on Western diplomatic and political discussions, revealing the lobby’s influence beyond initial expectations. Yet the strange thing is that the closed-door policy is not only applied by Israel towards the Arab countries but also towards European countries although he mentions the reluctance of European and Western officials to openly criticize Israeli arrogance, fearing domestic and international political consequences.

In his lecture at the Palestinian Forum in Doha weeks ago, the renowned Jewish historian, Ilan Pappe, addressed the issue of the Zionist lobby, mentioning interesting ideas, including that it relies on religious and symbolic dimensions, and that it was first created by fundamentalist Evangelicals in America in the mid-19th century due to its connection to the “Old Covenant promises.” But Pappe himself saw the strength of the Zionist lobby starting to decline and disintegrate against the rising critical voices, especially among the youth in America and the West. We might take the courage of South Africa in the International Court of Justice and the decision of the British Labor Court that ruled in favor of Professor David Miller, who was dismissed from the University of Bristol for his critical views were considered anti-Zionist, as a model of escalating resistance against the Zionist lobby, as the professor’s opinions were considered by the court as philosophical and protected by law.

Back to top button