This is an English version of an interview appears in the November issue of Zuerst!, a German magazine.
- Prof. MacDonald, the Central Council of Jews in Germany (ZdJ) is maybe one of the most influential lobby groups in Germany – it is an affiliate of the World Jewish Congress (WJC). Critics say, the influence of the ZdJ is disproportionally big compared to the number of jews living in Germany. Are they right?
I am not familiar with the situation in Germany on the power of the Jewish lobby. I do know that in the countries I am familiar with, the United States in particular, Jews are very well organized and effective in pursuing their interests. They are well-integrated into elites in the media, politics, business, and the academic world, and they have organized very well-funded lobbying organizations, in particular, the Anti-Defamation League. So I would not be surprised to find that a similar situation prevails in Germany.
- The ZdJ – as well as the WJC – plays a complex role in Germany – and the West in general. On the one side the organization claims to represent the Jewish communities in Germany and the West, on the other hand they act on behalf of Israel and campaign for Israeli politics. How can this mix?
There is a similar mixture in the US, where the Anti-Defamation League has been a strong supporter of the very right-wing, racialist governments in Israel while at the same time pursuing a wide range of Jewish political interests in the US linked to the political left. Most importantly, Jewish groups have been at the forefront in advancing an agenda of multiculturalism and displacement-level immigration to the US that will make White Americans a minority within 20–30 years.
Prior to the establishment of Israel, large sections of the American Jewish community opposed Zionism because they were concerned that support for a foreign government would bring charges of dual loyalty which has been a persistent feature of anti-Jewish attitudes throughout the centuries. However, these concerns dissipated after 1948, and subsequent decades have seen a huge increase in the power of the Israel Lobby and very overt support by American Jews for Israel. To be sure, American Jews who support Israel are careful to argue that the interests of Israel and the interests of America coincide. At times, this can result in comical assertions, such as recent claims by prominent American neoconservative Jews that America must bomb Syria in order to prevent Syria from attacking America with chemical weapons. Or that Iran is on the verge of being able to destroy the United States or even invade it.
The Israel Lobby advocated a military strike against Syria because it would minimally prolong a war that Assad is winning, weakening Syria and Hezbollah far into the future. And perhaps it could lead to the fall of Assad and a Sunni government severed from Iran. Iran and its allies are seen as a far more dangerous enemy of Israel than the Arab nations and the mainly Sunni rebels opposing the Assad government, no matter how fanatically Muslim, Israel-hating, and allied with al Qaeda they turn out to be.
The good news is that there are signs that Americans are wising up to the situation. The Obama administration has resisted the most extreme calls for war by the Israel Lobby (such as attacking Iran), and popular opinion was dead set against bombing Syria, despite the desires of the Obama administration, despite the support of much of the mass media, and despite the strong support of the Israel Lobby. In the end, popular opinion prevented the attack on Syria, and that is a very good sign for the future. Americans are sick of seeing the reports of the many thousands of Americans who have died or been seriously wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—wars that were strongly supported and, in the case of Iraq, even brought about by the Israel Lobby. These wars have not advanced the interests of the United States, and when American troops leave these areas, they revert to the non-democratic, tribally based societies they have always been. Right now, Iraq is aflame with sectarian violence unleashed by the American-led invasion. These very costly wars have had no tangible benefit and a huge cost both for America and its allies and for the people of the area.
- In Berlin as well as in Washington are many other lobby groups active: There is an Armenian lobby, an Ukrainian lobby, a Turkish lobby, an Arabic lobby and so on. Why seems the Israel lobby to be the most successful of those all.
The Israel Lobby is successful because of several traits of Jews, as discussed in my article “Understanding Jewish Influence: Background Traits for Jewish Activism.” American Jews are the wealthiest identifiable group in America, representing less than 3% of the population but around 35% of the billionaires. In large part because of Jewish media ownership and management, the Lobby also has strong influence in the mainstream media. American newspapers, television and radio routinely disseminate the views of Israeli government figures and the most extreme advocates of Israeli expansionism, the dispossession of the Palestinians, and apartheid. For example, National Public Radio, a government-funded radio network, often interviews prominent members of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a pro-Israel think tank that supports the extreme right in Israel and American military ventures in the Middle East.
WINEP is a good example of how the Israel Lobby works. It was set up to appear separate from the America-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the main lobbying group on behalf of Israel in order to give the appearance of being even-handed and objective on Israel, and it is regarded by the mainstream media as even-handed and objective. But WINEP was entirely a creation of AIPAC. It was funded by AIPAC donors, staffed by AIPAC employees, and for years it was located one door away, down the hall, from AIPAC Headquarters. It would also hire all kinds of people not identified with Israel as a cover and would encourage them to write whatever they liked on matters not related to Israel. But on Israel, writers had to toe the AIPAC line.
As a result of Jewish wealth and ethnic commitment, the Israel Lobby is very well-funded, so that political candidates who do not support the Lobby find that their opponents receive very large financial support. Politicians therefore often support the Lobby even when they have little interest in Israel because there is a very large benefit for doing so and no countervailing pressure. In other words, the forces critical of Israel are relatively weak, poorly funded, and ineffectual.
Further, the Jewish ethnic infrastructure provides ample opportunities for careers for Jews and non-Jews like. This is notoriously the case for the neoconservative foreign policy establishment that is so central to the Israel Lobby. As Scott McConnell, noted, “There are dozens of twenty-something, thirty-something, forty-something and older neocons throughout Washington, working at think tanks, editorial pages, in government and elsewhere. I could probably count on two hands the number of youngish national-security types I know in town who I could strain to call realists. This imbalance among foreign-policy elites helps create the mistaken impression that there are lots of neoconservatives in America generally, which there aren’t. Neoconservatism really is a head without a body.“
The bottom line is that opposing the Israel Lobby and other Jewish interests is very costly, but going along with the Lobby and other Jewish interests can be very rewarding. Individuals, whether Jewish or not, understand that having a good career means conforming to Jewish attitudes and interests, whether on Israel or on issues related to immigration and multiculturalism.
There are some signs for cautious optimism, however. The J Street lobbying group is less extreme than AIPAC that has long dominated American foreign policy in the Middle East. For example, they are open to a dialog with Iran on nuclear weapons and are strong advocates for peace with the Palestinians and strong critics of Israeli expansionism. They appear to be gaining influence on the American political scene but remain far less powerful than AIPAC.
- Critics towards the politics of Israel are denounced as “antisemitsm” by the Israel lobby. Why does this still work?
The charge of anti-Semitism is the most deadly charge one can imagine in the contemporary world and it is very true that advocates for Israel have often made this accusation against critics of Israel no matter how well-founded and evidence-based their ideas are. It remains an effective tactic because it feeds into the climate of political correctness where any criticism of non-White minorities is greeted with charges of “racism.” For decades and particularly since the end of World War II, Jewish organizations and activist Jews in the academic world have promoted the idea that any criticism of Jews is irrational and an indication of psychiatric disorder and lack of intelligence. As a result of Jewish influence in the elite media and the academic world, Americans have internalized this mindset, so it is common for those who criticize Jews to immediately retract their comments and apologize for what they have done. Although freedom of speech is alive and well in America, there are many informal sanctions against criticizing Jews or other minorities. Critics of Jews have lost their jobs because of Jewish pressure, so the charge of anti-Semitism is a serious one indeed.
- In Western countries the Israel lobby tries more or less successful to interfere in inner affairs. They campaign for banning right wing parties and for laws banning “antisemitism”. Why do they face almost no resistance against this interference?
Jewish organizations have indeed been in the forefront of advocating non-White immigration and multiculturalism in Western countries and in working against political “right-wing” parties that support the traditional people and culture of the West. Ever since the beginning of the 19th century, Jews have generally supported the left. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the main reason is that Jews are hostile toward the traditional institutions of the West, such as Christianity, because they see them as oppressing and persecuting Jews. The psychological basis for this is straightforward: Members of strongly identified ingroups tend to have negative views of outgroups, especially outgroups seen as historical enemies. And for many activist Jews — the ones who end up having so much influence on culture, Western history begins with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans, fast forwards to marauding Crusaders and expulsions from Western Europe in the Middle Ages, the Spanish Inquisition in Early Modern period, and culminates in Czarist persecutions, Henry Ford, Hitler and the Holocaust.
Diaspora Jews in the West react primarily as a Diaspora group, and that means identifying with the multicultural, pro-immigration, anti-White left in America and elsewhere. The Jewish identification with the left is a strategy designed to increase Jewish power as an elite opposed to the interests of the White European majority of America. Indeed, the organized Jewish community has not only been the most important force in ending the European bias of American immigration laws, it has assiduously courted alliances with non-White ethnic groups, including Blacks, Latinos, and Asians; these groups are overwhelmingly aligned with the Democratic Party, leading to the increasing racialization of American politics as Whites coalesce in the Republican Party and around 80% of non-Whites (and Jews) vote Democrat. As the Geert Wilders case shows, the organized Jewish community and the neocons (who often favor the Republicans) will not support any political candidate who is opposed to massive non-White immigration no matter how fervently they support Israel.
Of course, it is not surprising that a group that considers itself persecuted develops hostile attitudes to the surrounding culture. Other historically aggrieved groups have been hostile toward societies seen as oppressing them. For example, there is no question that African Americans have legitimate historical grudges against the American past. However, there can be little doubt that, by themselves, Blacks would not have had much of an influence in erecting a culture of hostility to the White majority. The creation of this culture was successful because it emanated from elite universities, Hollywood, well-connected law firms, and media outlets like the New York Times — the most prestigious academic, political and media institutions in America.
The difference between Blacks and Jews is that Jews have been so much better at this game than other groups — much better at becoming an influential component of elite and popular culture. Right now, White Americans are terrified about identifying as White people who have interests in defending their demographic majority and their traditional culture. I am sure that is also the case in Germany.
In fact, Germany may well be worse off because of the guilt about the Holocaust that is continually presented in the media and the educational system. This mentality has spilled over to America where opponents of immigration and multiculturalism are typically labeled as “Nazis“ in the media and by political figures. Throughout the West, anyone who believes that Whites have legitimate reasons to want to retain their cultures and their political control are ostracized from polite company.
- When it comes to war plans (for example against Syria, but also Libya or Iraq), the Israel lobby campaigns for going on war. Where are the protests of the pacifist groups against those claims?
As noted above, American public opinion was firmly against a war against Syria. It is almost as though the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have exhausted Americans’ appetite for yet more wars that are not really in American interests. These attitudes were not reflected in mass protests, but they were definitely felt by politicians, with the result that Obama’s proposal to bomb Syria had no chance in Congress. It was a major defeat for the Israel Lobby, but there is no doubt that they will continue to put pressure on the US government to go to war against Iran.
- Some analysts say, Israel can just exist because of the excellent lobby work of its interest groups in the West. Is that true?
Israel is very well armed and in absolutely no danger from its neighbors. It is by far the most militarily powerful country in the region, with nuclear weapons, long range missiles, nuclear submarines (from Germany), anti-missile defense systems and the like. Even without the help of the West, Israel could maintain this military edge far into the future. However, there is no question that Israel’s relationship with the U.S. and other Western countries is vital to its long-term success. It remains a small country and it has relied on U.S. technology, either by getting Congress to transfer weapons systems to Israel as part of U.S. aid to Israel (now over $3 billion per year) and a long history of industrial espionage. This is why activist Jews regard Jewish power in America and throughout the West as so critical. And America in particular, because of its military and economic power, is the main focus of Jewish efforts. Despite the signs of change mentioned above, the power of the Israel Lobby in America is not going to seriously diminish any time soon.