Quantcast

The Men From JINSA and CSP | The Nation

  •  

The Men From JINSA and CSP

  • Share
  • Decrease text size Increase text size

The paper's first prescription was for an Israeli rightward economic shift, with tax cuts and a selloff of public lands and enterprises--moves that would also engender support from a "broad bipartisan spectrum of key pro-Israeli Congressional leaders." But beyond economics, the paper essentially reads like a blueprint for a mini-cold war in the Middle East, advocating the use of proxy armies for regime changes, destabilization and containment. Indeed, it even goes so far as to articulate a way to advance right-wing Zionism by melding it with missile-defense advocacy. "Mr. Netanyahu can highlight his desire to cooperate more closely with the United States on anti-missile defense in order to remove the threat of blackmail which even a weak and distant army can pose to either state," it reads. "Not only would such cooperation on missile defense counter a tangible physical threat to Israel's survival, but it would broaden Israel's base of support among many in the United States Congress who may know little about Israel, but care very much about missile defense"--something that has the added benefit of being "helpful in the effort to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem."

JINSA/CSP advisers Richard Perle and Douglas Feith have spent the past fifteen years
working quietly to keep the US arms sluice to Turkey open.
Click here.

About the Author

Jason Vest
Jason Vest writes on national security affairs for The Nation.

Also by the Author

The neocon think tank's recent call for an increase in troop strength is myopic.

In Washington, it's hardly without precedent for a presidential appointee to swear one thing before a Senate confirmation committee and then, once ensconced in the sought-after post, do another.

Recent months in Washington have shown just how influential the notions propagated by JINSA and CSP are--and how disturbingly zealous their advocates are. In early March Feith vainly attempted to get the CIA to keep former intelligence officers Milt Bearden and Frank Anderson from accepting an invitation to an Afghanistan-related meeting with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld at the Pentagon--not because of what the two might say about Afghanistan, according to sources familiar with the incident, but likely out of fear that Anderson, a veteran Arabist and former chief of the CIA's Near East division, would proffer his views on Iraq (opposed to invading) and Israel-Palestine (a fan of neither Arafat nor Sharon). In late June, after United Press International reported on a US Muslim civil liberties group's lambasting of Gaffney for his attacks on the American Muslim Council, Gaffney, according to a fellow traveler, "went berserk," launching a stream of invective about the UPI scribe who reported the item.

It's incidents like this, say knowledgeable observers and participants, that highlight an interesting dynamic among right-wing hawks at the moment. Though the general agenda put forth by JINSA and CSP continues to be reflected in councils of war, even some of the hawks (including Rumsfeld deputy Paul Wolfowitz) are growing increasingly leery of Israel's settlements policy and Gaffney's relentless support for it. Indeed, his personal stock in Bush Administration circles is low. "Gaffney has worn out his welcome by being an overbearing gadfly rather than a serious contributor to policy," says a senior Pentagon political official. Since earlier this year, White House political adviser Karl Rove has been casting about for someone to start a new, more mainstream defense group that would counter the influence of CSP. According to those who have communicated with Rove on the matter, his quiet efforts are in response to complaints from many conservative activists who feel let down by Gaffney, or feel he's too hard on President Bush. "A lot of us have taken [Gaffney] at face value over the years," one influential conservative says. "Yet we now know he's pushed for some of the most flawed missile defense and conventional systems. He considered Cuba a 'classic asymmetric threat' but not Al Qaeda. And since 9/11, he's been less concerned with the threat to America than to Israel."

Gaffney's operation has always been a small one, about $1 million annually--funded largely by a series of grants from the conservative Olin, Bradley and various Scaife foundations, as well as some defense contractor money--but he's recently been able to underwrite a TV and print ad campaign holding that the Palestinians should be Enemy Number One in the War on Terror, still obsessed with the destruction of Israel. It's here that one sees the influence not of defense contractor money but of far-right Zionist dollars, including some from Irving Moskowitz, the California bingo magnate. A donor to both CSP and JINSA (as well as a JINSA director), Moskowitz not only sends millions of dollars a year to far-right Israeli settler groups like Ateret Cohanim but he has also funded the construction of settlements, having bought land for development in key Arab areas around Jerusalem. Moskowitz ponied up the money that enabled the 1996 reopening of a tunnel under the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, which resulted in seventy deaths due to rioting.

Also financing Gaffney's efforts is New York investment banker Lawrence Kadish. A valued and valuable patron of both the Republican National Committee and George W. Bush, Kadish helps underwrite CSP as well as Americans for Victory Over Terrorism, an offshoot of conservative activist William Bennett's Empower America, on which he and Gaffney serve as "senior advisers" in the service of identifying "external" and "internal" post-9/11 threats to America. (The "internal" threats, as articulated by AVOT, include former President Jimmy Carter, Harper's editor Lewis Lapham and Representative Maxine Waters.) Another of Gaffney's backers is Poju Zabludowicz, heir to a formidable diversified international empire that includes arms manufacturer Soltam--which once employed Perle--and benefactor of the recently established Britain Israel Communication and Research Centre, a London-based group that appears to equate reportage or commentary uncomplimentary to Zionism with anti-Semitism.

While a small but growing number of conservatives are voicing concerns about various aspects of foreign and defense policy--ranging from fear of overreach to lack of Congressional debate--the hawks seem to be ruling the roost. Beginning in October, hard-line American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael Rubin (to Rubin, outgoing UN human rights chief Mary Robinson is an abettor of terrorism) arrives at the Pentagon to take over the Defense Department's Iran-Iraq account, adding another voice to the Pentagon section of Ledeen's "total war" chorus. Colin Powell's State Department continues to take a beating from outside and inside--including Bolton and his special assistant David Wurmser. (An AEI scholar and far-right Zionist who's married to Meyrav Wurmser of the Middle East Media Research Institute--recently the subject of a critical investigation by London Guardian Middle East editor Brian Whitaker--Wurmser played a key role in crafting the "Arafat must go" policy that many career specialists see as a problematic sop to Ariel Sharon.)

As for Rumsfeld, based on comments made at a Pentagon "town hall" meeting on August 6, there seems to be little doubt as to whose comments are resonating most with him--and not just on missile defense and overseas adventures: After fielding a question about Israeli-Palestinian issues, he repeatedly referred to the "so-called occupied territories" and casually characterized the Israeli policy of building Jewish-only enclaves on Palestinian land as "mak[ing] some settlement in various parts of the so-called occupied area," with which Israel can do whatever it wants, as it has "won" all its wars with various Arab entities--essentially an echo of JINSA's stated position that "there is no Israeli occupation." Ominously, Rumsfeld's riff gave a ranking Administration official something of a chill: "I realized at that point," he said, "that on settlements--where there are cleavages on the right--Wolfowitz may be to the left of Rumsfeld."

  • Share
  • Decrease text size Increase text size

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.