The Pro-Israeli Lobby in the US and the Inman Affair
From Israel Shahak’s book: Open Secrets, Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies
11 February 1994
After Admiral Inman’s announcement that he would not serve as Clinton’s defence Secretary, the Hebrew press devoted a fair amount of space to the implications of that affair for Israel. The first responses expressed Israeli satisfaction. A good example is the comment of Yediot Ahrorsot’s Washington’s correspondent Haim Shibi, who wrote that `every Israeli in Washington could but sigh with relief at the news of Inman’s resignation’ (20 January 1994). However, after a few days, deeper analyses of that event appeared, disclosing its implications for Israel, in particular in so far as its nuclear policies were concerned. Some articles on that subject, however, also discussed Israeli influence upon the US exerted via the Jewish lobby in that country. Most important were the articles by Amir Oren (Davar, 28 January) and Yoav Kami, published the same day in Shishi. Oren’s article stressed the incompatibility between Inman’s past policy recommendations and Israeli political aims, especially in regard to nuclear matters. Both authors, usually mildly critical of Israel’s policies but never of its nuclear build-up, were very hostile toward Inman. Furthermore, Oren discussed in depth Pollard and Israeli espionage in the US, as having something to do with Israeli objections to Inman as a person and to his policy recommendations.
At about the same time the Hebrew press reported on the contents of the recently published book Critical Mass by William E. Burrows and Robert Windrem. Information contained in that book about Israeli nuclear power was assessed by Hebrew press commentators as accurate, even though its publication was attributed to the viewpoint of the US officials known for their objections to Israeli nuclear power and contingent policies. At the same time knowledgeable Hebrew press commentators discussed Israeli threats against Iran, including those of using nuclear weapons against that country. After reviewing the Inman affair as perceived by the Hebrew press, I will discuss other articles discussing Israeli nuclear policies and the points where they clash with the avowed (but seldom actually pursued) nuclear policies of the US.
Let me first express my view on the actual scope of `Jewish influence in the US’ and its capability of bending US policies so as to suit Israeli interests, also in matters nuclear. Some of the best informed and most widely read Hebrew press commentators (who are quoted in this book), perceive the scale of that influence as hardly limited by anything and as extending upon large areas of the world. One of the most prestigious of Israeli commentators, Yoel Markus (Haarerz, 31 December 1993) recently spoke of the ‘courtship’ of Israel by various states, concluding tl:ai `ihis courtship has nothing to do with the peace process: its only reason is the entire world’s recognition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as true. When the US is being ruled by an administration as favourably disposed to Israel as the present one, conviction spreads in every state that the only way to America’s purse leads via Israel. It is as if this accursed book were not written by an anti-Semite, but 6y a clever and far-sighted Jew.’ I myself would perceive the scope of that influence as more restricted. Although it is obviously very considerable, and although Israel is doing its best to sustain and augment it, actual Israeli influence upon the US still falls far short of the mythology of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Its scope cannot 6e measured exactly, but it can be estimated, albeit with the help of guesswork. True, any knowledge, no matter how approximate, of the extent of Jewish influence upon the US policies is hard io obtain. The topic is taboo in the US (although not in Israel), with all major American Jewish organizations exerting themselves to maintain the taboo, often with the help of philosemitic Christians, who delude themselves that by gagging discussion of Jewish affairs, and in particular about Jewish chauvintsm and exclusivism, they `atone’ for the Holocaust. Reliable knowledge about Israeli influence, as about any other taboo subject, can be arrived at only after the interdict is lifted and the subject is freely discussed.
Oren mentions a number of reasons why Israel loathed and feared Inman. The main reason he names is Israeli expectation that if Inman would be appointed the US Defense Secretary, he would be able to put into effect independent American inspections of Israeli nuclear armaments and their production process in Dimona. It needs to be recalled that by virtue of a secret agreement with the US reached during the first year of John F. Kennedy’s term of office as president, the US to this day receives only such information about Israeli nuclear power as Israel is pleased to convey. After the Bay of Pigs fiasco Kennedy needed the support of the `Jewish lobby’ and in order to get it, he sanctioned this curious agreement. Oren opens his article by drawing two horror scenarios which he regards as perfectly possible if US policies are ever influenced by Inman or somebody with similar views. In the first scenario a hypothetical US Defense Secretary is, `in December 1994′, gloating to his subordinates, that ‘after the US succeeded to force North Korea to limit its nuclear programme, and after its first success in negotiations with Iran concerning the same matter, "we must now concentrate all our attention on India. Pakistan and Israel. Since our dispute with the CIA is not yet resolved, I decided to instruct the Defense Intelligence Agency to begin gathering independent information about advances in Israeli nuclear armaments, so that after subjecting the data to our analysis, we would provide the President with our well-informed assessment of the situation". Then the former Admiral cleaned his glasses, laughing sardonically. "Although the person responsible for the conclusive Intelligence evaluation is their friend, we can at least show the Israelis that we have eyes and ears."’ It is fair to assume that had a US paper published such a caricature of a hypothetical Israeli Jewish defence minister, it would be accused, not without reason, of anti-Semitism. It is virtually certain, however, that no press commentator in the US will accuse Oren of being anti-Gentile.
The second horror scenario anticipates an American attempt to use a spy aircraft to photograph the Israeli nuclear installations in Dimona `in January 1995′ and Israeli hesitations over whether to bring it down. If Israel does bring down the plane, it wi11 be sure to antagonize the `Gentiles’ [Goyim], even worse than in the Liberty affair of 1967, when Israel bombed the US warship Liberty inflicting heavy casualties. The scenarios lead Oren to the conclusion that, due to Inman’s resignation, `the ghastly anticipations are not going to materialize’. The first scenario can no longer take place, because `by the coming December or at any other time the post of the US Defense Secretary can no more be held by the intelligence expert former Admiral Bobby Ray Inman.’ More significantly, at the end of his article Oren says that if the US administration ever `weighs the utility of Dimona against the utility of American support of any other states, the Israeli government is sure to call up a general mobilization of all its friends in Washington. Israel will be pleased at such time about each of its enemies no longer in position to influence the administration or the Congress but also feel sorry about each Pollard and each "Liberty" [affair] for which it has ever been responsible. It will not regret Inman’s absence, in spite of the fears that the latter may voice his views in the US media.’
Let me proceed to Karni. He says that `Inman’s candidacy for the post of the Defense Secretary has raised the gravest apprehensions of the Israelis and the Jews.’ It is reasonable to suppose that when saying `the Jews’ Karni really means only those `American Jews’ whom I defined as ‘organized’. It is also reasonable to suppose that the organized American Jews did not remain idle when they had their `gravest apprehensions’, but did something concrete to relieve them, which means that they did play a role in events leading to Inman’s resignation. When discussing the role of the New York Times columnist, William Safire, whom Inman named his main enemy, Karni says: `Satire is but one in a group of Jewish columnists and publishers who wield enormous influence over the American media, and who are prepared to automatically defend every Israeli policy measure, except for the peace initiative of the Rabin government which they were quick to condemn and to consign to the grave.’
Both Oren and Karni are nevertheless under no illusion that Inman is the only `enemy’ left in the US Defense and Intelligence establishment. Karni provides a whole list of US Defense Secretaries whom he defines as mischievously hostile to Israel, among whom he names Caspar Weinberger as the most pernicious. He even attempts to draw a ‘sociological profile’ of an American Gentile who in his view is likely to become an `enemy’. Apparently Karni is a unaware that in drawing such `profiles’ he follows in the footsteps of anti-Semites (and other xenophobes) who also used to draw `profiles’ of Jews with the same purpose in their minds. It can be nevertheless presumed that his `profile’ originates with sources close to Israeli Intelligence. It reads as follows: `The personal profile of Inman is from the Israeli point of view unpromising. He is a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, graduate of the best universities, a member of the elite clubs. He represents the kind of personality more similar to George Bush or James Baker than to Ronald Reagan.’
Oren is more subtle than Karni in his description of Inman’s ‘personality’: `In spite of the absence of Inman in the future, Washington (and Texas even more) is still saturated with people born in provincial towns during the hard times. Such people tend to be motivated to rise up via the military services, most often via service in the Navy. Inman is merely one of such characters. Ross Perot is another, and one of their allies [he doesn’t say who] is similar. Inman and Perot are highly intelligent and sly, but they have inferiority feelings due to their failure to achieve anything of significance. Whenever an individual of this type becomes a candidate for the US presidency or for a position which in the scale of authority almost approaches the presidency, such as the position of Defense Secretary, the problem becomes not just an domestic American one, but a global one. When an incumbent of either post perceives himself as a victim of an Israeli or Jewish plot, Israel cannot treat it as a joke.’
We can see how certain Americans are a priori defined by Israel (and by organized American Jews) as `undesirable’, or worse, at least when they occupy positions of authority. For a comparison, it is worthwhile to quote Oren about the biography of a `desirable’ American, namely William Safire: William Safire loyally served an anti-Semitic president, Nixon, because he was free to be more impressed by Israeli military might, long before he became a New York Times columnist. Safire’s best friend, the CIA Chief, William Casey, was at the beginning of Reagan’s administration forced to accept Inman as his Deputy … Fortunately, Safire didn’t regard his New York Times columns as equivalent to a monastery. An Israeli who toward the end of the 1970s served in Washington and was then year after year invited to Safire’s home for a meal ending the Yom Kippur fast, was surprised to discover that the number of Safire’s guests, all Jewish with high standing cither in politics or Washington’s media, was increasing each year. There was even talk that no one not born of a Jewish mother or converted to Judaism according to Halacho would be admitted to Safire’s table, even though it meant that Henry Kissinger, if invited, would have to choose between his wife (who is a Gentile] and Safire. Inman knew that Safire always worked in tandem with Casey and that Casey always worked in tandem with Israel. Casey’s relatively authoritative biography informs us that in the spring of 1981 he met Yitzhak Hofi, then Mossad Chief, for the purpose of making a deal. Casey undertook to provide [Israel] wich satellite-derived information about the Iraqi nuclear reactor, in return for Hofi’s undertaking to restrain AIPAC in its opposition against the sale of AWACS planes to Saudi Arabia. Some time later Safire vociferously denounced the restrictions imposed by Inman on automatic transmission [to Israel] of American intelligence information about Iraq and Libya.’ Incidentally, the terms of the deal between Casey and Hofi conclusively prove that AIPAC (and presumably other American Jewish organizations as well) operates under the command of Mossad, and that it could be used by the Israeli government just as it uses Mossad.
Yedior Ahronot’s correspondents Tzadok Yehezkeli and Danny Sadeh (30 January), write in their review of the previously mentioned book Critical Mass that `Israel solicits money from wealthy Jews from all over the world for financing its nuclear weapons programs. This fundraising drive is directed by a committee comprised of 30 Jewish millionaires.’ As usual, Jewish exclusivism and chauvinism are here exploited by Israel as a major tool of its policies. The impact of this practice can be a matter for discussion, but denials of its very existence, let alone denials of the right to discuss this matter, are in my view not only intellectually and morally offensive, but also preclude any informed inquiry into both Middle Eastern and American politics.
Karni clarifies that the mentioned restrictions imposed by Inman applied only to automatic sharing of all information. Israel could still make specific requests for information, however, which could be either approved or rejected, but which seem to have in most cases been approved. What apparently irked Safire and his Jewish pals, was the very fact that Israel had to request information from the US. Karni nevertheless says chat information about what was going on `within the radius of 250 miles from the Israeli borders continued to be automatically shared with Israel’. According to him, a problem appeared `in 1982 when Yasser Arafat moved his residence from Beirut to Tunis, thus leaving the area within which all information from the American [satellite] cameras was to be instantly passed on to Israel’. This was the reason for Israel’s displeasure with the 250-mile limitation. In all probability, this limitation was eventually rectified. Still, as long as it existed, the 250-mile radius meant that information was automatically conveyed to Israel about goings on in all of Jordan, hefty chunks of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt, and part of Saudi Arabia. Nevertheless, countries like Libya or Pakistan lay outside the area in question, which worried the Israelis, especially since automatic transmission of intelligence from outside of the radius was discontinued after the Israelis destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor. Karni informs us, I believe accurately, that `what particularly worried Jerusalem was that Inman didn’t convey to Israel any information about the nuclear projects of Iran and Pakistan.’ In my view the anti-Iraqi posture of Israel was a momentary deviation from the consistent pattern of seeking to maintain good relations with Saddam Hussein, in recognition that Israel’s main enemies have been first Iran and, next in line, Pakistan, for the simple reason that both states are bigger and stronger than Iraq.
Let me again quote in this context Tzadok Yehezkeli’s and Danny Sadeh’s review of Critical Mass in Yediot Ahronot (30 January 1994). They write that `Israel is ever ready to launch its nuclear missiles on 60 to 80 targets. Those targets include sites in the Gulf, the capitals of all Arab states, some nuclear bases on the territory of the former USSR and some sites in Pakistan.’ (I am convinced this is accurate.) It means that Israel must very much want to obtain US satellite information about the targeted area, a not-so-negligible part of the earth’s surface. The existence of so formidable a nuclear power in Israel’s hands cannot be convincingly attributed to its own research and development efforts nor to its role as a tool of American policies. On the contrary, a nuclear power of that magnitude must be presumed to run counter to US imperial interests. It is also doubtful, to say the least, if Israel by itself ever had the money for constructing nuclear power of this size, even when US financial help is taken into consideration. Nor can nuclear power of this extent be explained away by the usual excuse of `guarding against threats to Israel’s very existence’ or by nauseating misuse of the memories of the Holocaust. The only plausible explanation of the extent of Israeli nuclear power is that Israel acquired it with at least some help of its `Jewish friends’ in the US and of some Jewish millionaires all over the world. Yehezkeli’s and Sadeh’s information about `the nuclear bases on the territory of the former USSR’ fits well with what Geoffrey Aronson, relying on US State Department sources, reveals about the Pollard affair in the Christian Science Monitor (27 January). He writes that according to `unanimous response’ from these sources, what Pollard had betrayed were `this country’s most important secrets’, namely `information relating to the US targeting of Soviet nuclear and military installations and the capabilities and defences of these sites’. This seems in accord with Israel’s global aspirations based on the extenc of its nuclear power. Aronson’s sources say that much of che intelligence passed on by Pollard `was unusable by the Israelis except as bargaining chips and leverage against Ihe United States and other countries’ interests’. In view of this fact Aronson conjectures that Pollard’s intelligence was used by Israel for deals with Moscow consisting of `trading nuclear secrets for Soviet Jews’.
Oren, who is a firm believer in Jewish influence on US policies (even if perhaps not as firm as Markus), provides some examples of its exercise that have to do with the person of Inman. Here, I quote him verbatim, interspersing the quotes with my own comments. ‘Although Inman behaved with fairness and propriety towards Mossad and the Central Gathering Unit of Military Intelligence [of the Israeli Army], the shadow of the Liberty affair could always be sensed in the background. In the early 1960s, Inman had been a research and operation officer serving on behalf of [US] Navy Intelligence in the NSA [National Security Agency], which ran Liberty and its sister ships. The NSA was subordinated to the Pentagon and not to the CIA. It dealt with tactical intelligence, including the trailing of Soviet ships, but not with strategic intelligence. The US Navy has never reconciled itself to the closure of the Liberty file after its destruction by the Israeli Air Force, and has always perceived the timing of the Israeli attack as evidence chat Israel did it deliberately, in order to conceal from the Americans its decision to conquer the Golan Heights before a cease-fire could be put into effect through an American-Soviet agreement.’ (This appraisal of Israeli intentions strikes me as perfectly accurate.) `True, Rabin, the then (Israeli] Chief of Staff, learned about this decision only after Dayan suddenly changed his mind from opposing to supporting the plan of that conquest, and issued orders to this effect directly to the Commander of the Northern Command, passing Rabin by. But Inman also recalls how three years later [in 1970] Dayan didn’t hesitate to threaten the Americans openly and directly, telling them that if they ever dared to send a photo-taking aircraft over the Israeli bank of the Suez Canal, he was going to order to down it.’ Let me comment, first, that I find Oren’s information’s perfectly accurate, and second, that I find it most significant that the US, possibly due to the influence of Safire and Kissinger over Nixon, then gave in to Dayan’s threats so supinely.
`During the Liberty, affair and thereafter, including the time when the CIA ship Pueblo was captured (but not destroyed) by the North Koreans, Inman was chief of the Department of Current Intelligence of the Navy’s Pacific Command. He learned a lot there, enough to disbelieve in coincidences or at least in their frequent occurrence. This is why, while serving as a NSA chief during Carter’s administration he refused to attribute to coincidence two other facts he then learned about. He first learned that the Carter administration had agreed under pressure to the appointment of Colonel Shlomo Inbar as the Israeli military attach