Full-Page NY Times Ad “Congress is in Thrall to the Israel Lobby”
November 2, 2006 (Washington, DC) - The Council for the National Interest Foundation argues in a full-page New York Times ad scheduled to run on Sunday, November 5th, two days before the 2006 midterm elections, that the U.S. Congress is in thrall to the Israel lobby. The lobby’s negative effects on U.S. Middle East policy, the ad argues, are demonstrated by the growing possibility that the U.S. will use its military might to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, by the U.S. refusal to call for a ceasefire during the 34-day Israeli bombardment of Lebanon over the summer, and by the continuing chaos, isolation and bloodshed in the occupied Palestinian territories. The advertisement, titled “Who is Holding Peace Hostage?”, will run nationwide opposite the editorial page in the “Week in Review” section of the Times.
In a section titled “The Israel Lobby is Trying to Sell Another War,” the ad points out that a recent Zogby International poll commissioned by the CNI Foundation found that 39 percent of American likely voters believe that “the work of the Israel lobby on Congress and the Bush administration has been a key factor for going to war in Iraq and now confronting Iran.” As a solution to the present impasse over Iran’s nuclear program, the ad suggests that the U.S. use its power to renegotiate the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to encompass all nations, including Israel, which is not a signatory of the present NPT and has an estimated 250 to 300 nuclear weapons.
The Israel lobby, the ad says, was able to defeat a recent amendment to the defense appropriations bill introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that would ban the export of cluster bombs to countries that use such weapons in civilian areas, including Israel’s use of U.S.-made cluster weapons in Lebanon. As evidence, the ad points to the amount of money that several opponents of the amendment received from pro-Israel political action committees (PACs) over their career and in the current election cycle. Total donations to Congressional candidates, Republican and Democrat, from pro-Israel PACs was more than $2.4 million in the current election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The ad concludes: “Why are [members of Congress] selling their vote and undermining peace for Israel and her neighbors?”
The ad also promotes a DVD made and distributed by the CNI Foundation that includes a recent debate organized by the London Review of Books in New York City between Prof. John Mearsheimer, Amb. Dennis Ross, and Amb. Martin Indyk, among others, as well as an appearance at the National Press Club by Profs. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, the authors of the recent academic paper “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.” Mearsheimer and Walt are currently working on a book commissioned by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, a major publisher.