A Straight Look at the Jewish Lobby
By Mark Weber
For many years Israel has violated well established standards of international law and has defied numerous United Nations resolutions in its occupation of conquered lands, in extra-judicial killings, and in repeated acts of military aggression.
Most of the world regards Israel’s policies, and especially its oppression of Palestinians, as illegal and outrageous. This international consensus is reflected, for example, in numerous UN resolutions condemning Israel, which have been approved with overwhelming majorities. / 1
“The whole world,” said United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2002, “is demanding that Israel withdraw [from occupied Palestinian territories]. I don’t think the whole world ... can be wrong.” / 2
Among the world’s nations, the United States stands out as the most devoted backer of Israel. With very few exceptions, even those American politicians and media figures who might sometimes criticize a particular Israeli policy are, nonetheless, vigorous supporters of Israel -- and not just as a country, but as an emphatically Jewish ethnic-religious state. In spite of occasional disputes over specific policies, the US continues, as it has for years, to provide Israel with crucial military, diplomatic and financial backing, including more than $3 billion each year in aid.
Why is the US such a staunch bastion of support for the Jewish state?
One person who has spoken candidly about this is Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who was awarded the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize. Addressing an audience in Boston, he said: “But you know as well as I do that, somehow, the Israeli government is placed on a pedestal [in the US], and to criticize it is to be immediately dubbed anti-Semitic ... People are scared in this country, to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful -- very powerful.” / 3
Bishop Tutu spoke the truth. Although Jews make up only two or three percent of the US population, they wield immense power and influence – much more than any other ethnic or religious group.
As Jewish author and political science professor Benjamin Ginsberg has pointed out: / 4
"Since the 1960s, Jews have come to wield considerable influence in American economic, cultural, intellectual and political life. Jews played a central role in American finance during the 1980s, and they were among the chief beneficiaries of that decade’s corporate mergers and reorganizations. Today, though barely two percent of the nation’s population is Jewish, close to half its billionaires are Jews. The chief executive officers of the three major television networks and the four largest film studios are Jews, as are the owners of the nation’s largest newspaper chain and the most influential single newspaper, the New York Times ... The role and influence of Jews in American politics is equally marked ...
“Jews are only three percent of the nation’s population and comprise eleven percent of what this study defines as the nation’s elite. However, Jews constitute more than 25 percent of the elite journalists and publishers, more than 17 percent of the leaders of important voluntary and public interest organizations, and more than 15 percent of the top ranking civil servants.”
Stephen Steinlight, former Director of National Affairs of the American Jewish Committee, similarly notes the “disproportionate political power” of Jews, which is “pound for pound the greatest of any ethnic/cultural group in America.” He goes on to explain that “Jewish economic influence and power are disproportionately concentrated in Hollywood, television, and in the news industry.” / 5
Two well-known Jewish writers, Seymour Lipset and Earl Raab, pointed out in their book, Jews and the New American Scene: / 6 “During the last three decades Jews [in the United States] have made up 50 percent of the top two hundred intellectuals... 20 percent of professors at the leading universities ... 40 percent of partners in the leading law firms in New York and Washington ... 59 percent of the directors, writers, and producers of the 50 top-grossing motion pictures from 1965 to 1982, and 58 percent of directors, writers, and producers in two or more primetime television series.”
Vanity Fair magazine in 2007 published a list of what it calls “the world’s most powerful people” – a lineup of the one hundred most influential media bosses, bankers, publishers, image makers, and so forth, who determine how we view ourselves and the world, and who – directly and indirectly -- shape our lives and our futures. Jews made up more than half of the powerful men and women on the Vanity Fair list, reported a leading Israeli newspaper, The Jerusalem Post. / 7
The Jewish role in American political life is similarly lopsided. The American magazine Mother Jones compiled a list of the 400 leading contributors to the 2000 US national elections. Seven of the first ten were Jewish, as were twelve of the top 20, and 125 of the top 250. / 8
In recent years the single biggest donor to American politicians, by far, has been Sheldon Adelson, a vehemently pro-Zionist Jewish billionaire. In the 2012 US election campaign, the gambling casino magnate and his wife gave tens of millions of dollars to Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney and other pro-Israel candidates, groups and organizations. As The New York Times reported: “Mr. Adelson, whose $38 billion fortune makes him among the richest men in the world, poured roughly $100 million into Republican campaigns in 2012 ...” / 9
The biggest donor to Democratic Party candidates in recent years has been Haim Saban, an Israeli billionaire and global media mogul. Taking note of Saban’s ardent devotion to the Jewish state, The New York Times reported: “He has since emerged as perhaps the most politically connected mogul in Hollywood, throwing his weight and money around Washington, and increasingly, the world, trying to influence all things Israeli. 'I’m a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel,' he said.” / 10 M. J. Rosenberg, a political affairs analyst for The Nation, observed: “Adelson and Saban are top funders, respectively, of the Republican and Democratic parties, although as Adelson points out, 'when it comes to Israel we’re on the same side'.” / 11
A Grip on Hollywood
Michael Medved, a well-known Jewish author and film critic, has written: “It makes no sense at all to try to deny the reality of Jewish power and prominence in popular culture ... Any list of the most influential production executives at each of the major movie studios will produce a heavy majority of recognizably Jewish names.” / 12
One person who has carefully studied this subject is Jonathan J. Goldberg, editor of the influential Jewish community weekly Forward. In his 1996 book, Jewish Power, he wrote: / 13
“In a few key sectors of the media, notably among Hollywood studio executives, Jews are so numerically dominant that calling these businesses Jewish-controlled is little more than a statistical observation ...
“Hollywood at the end of the twentieth century is still an industry with a pronounced ethnic tinge. Virtually all the senior executives at the major studios are Jews. Writers, producers, and to a lesser degree directors are disproportionately Jewish -- one recent study showed the figure as high as 59 percent among top-grossing films.
“The combined weight of so many Jews in one of America’s most lucrative and important industries gives the Jews of Hollywood a great deal of political power. They are a major source of money for Democratic candidates.”
Joel Stein, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, has written: “As a proud Jew, I want America to know about our accomplishment. Yes, we control Hollywood ... I don’t care if Americans think we’re running the news media, Hollywood, Wall Street or the government. I just care that we get to keep running them.” / 14
A Well-Entrenched Factor
Over the years, this clout has had a profound impact on how Americans feel, think and act. One prominent political figure who has publicly acknowledged this reality is Vice President Joe Biden. In a remarkable address in May 2013, he said that what he called the “immense” and “outsized” Jewish role in the US mass media and cultural life is the single most important factor in shaping American attitudes over the past century, and in driving major cultural-political changes. / 15
Vice President Biden said: “I bet you 85 percent of those [social-political] changes, whether it’s in Hollywood or social media, are a consequence of Jewish leaders in the industry. The influence is immense.” He went on to say: “Jewish heritage has shaped who we are – all of us, us, me – as much or more than any other factor in the last 223 years. And that’s a fact.”
As Biden notes, the Jewish role in American life has long been a formidable one. In 1972, during a private White House meeting that was secretly recorded, President Richard Nixon and the Rev. Billy Graham -- the nation’s best-known Christian evangelist -- spoke frankly about the Jewish grip on the media. Graham said: “This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country’s going down the drain.” To which the president responded: “You believe that?” “Yes, sir,” said Graham. “Oh, boy,” replied Nixon. “So do I. I can’t ever say that [publicly], but I believe it.” / 16
How could all this have happened? Jewish American scholar Alfred M. Lilienthal provided an answer in his detailed 1978 study, The Zionist Connection. He wrote: / 17
“How has the Zionist will been imposed on the American people?... It is the Jewish connection, the tribal solidarity among themselves and the amazing pull on non-Jews, that has molded this unprecedented power ... The Jewish connection covers all areas and reaches every level. Most Americans may not even sense this gigantic effort, but there is scarcely a Jew who is not touched by its tentacles...
“The extent and depth to which organized Jewry reached – and reaches – in the U.S. is indeed awesome ... The most effective component of the Jewish connection is probably that of media control ... Jews, toughened by centuries of persecution, have risen to places of prime importance in the business and financial world... Jewish wealth and acumen wields unprecedented power in the area of finance and investment banking, playing an important role in influencing U.S. policy toward the Middle East ... In the larger metropolitan areas, the Jewish-Zionist connection thoroughly pervades affluent financial, commercial, social, entertainment, and art circles.”
Foreign Policy Role
Because US military might is the most formidable and intrusive in the world, the Jewish-Zionist role in setting American policy has consequences for people far beyond the borders of the United States. In the administration of President George W. Bush a group -- a cabal -- of high-level “neoconservative” Jews played a key role in prodding the United States into war in Iraq. They included: Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense; Richard Perle of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board; David Wurmser in the State Department; and, Douglas Feith, the Pentagon's Undersecretary for Policy. These men acted in accord with Zionist plans to overthrow the Iraqi regime that were already in place well before Bush became president in early 2001. / 18
For well-informed people, this reality is no secret. In Britain, a veteran member of the House of Commons candidly declared in May 2003 that pro-Israel Jews had taken control of America’s foreign policy, and had succeeded in pushing the US and Britain into war in Iraq. Tam Dalyell, a Labour party deputy known as “Father of the House” because he was the longest-serving Member of Parliament, said: “A Jewish cabal have taken over the government in the United States and formed an unholy alliance with fundamentalist Christians ... There is far too much Jewish influence in the United States.” / 19
In Washington, Senator Ernest Hollings was moved to declare that Iraq was invaded to “secure Israel," and that “everybody” knows it. Referring to the reluctance of his Congressional colleagues to openly acknowledge this reality, Hollings said that “nobody is willing to stand up and say what is going on.” Members of Congress, with few exceptions, uncritically support Israel and its policies due to what Hollings called, “the pressures that we get politically." / 20
With Zionist leaders now prodding the United States into new wars against Israel’s adversaries, the cost of the US alliance with the Jewish state is likely to rise even higher in the years to come. / 21
To sum up: Jews wield immense power and influence in the United States. The “Jewish lobby” is a decisive factor in US support for Israel. Jewish-Zionist interests are not identical to American interests. In fact, they often conflict.
As long as the “very powerful” Jewish lobby remains entrenched, there will be no end to the Jewish-Zionist domination of the US political system and the American media, the Zionist oppression of Palestinians, the Israeli threat to peace, and the bloody conflict between Jews and non-Jews in the Middle East.
1. This consensus is reflected in numerous UN resolutions condemning Israel, which have been approved with overwhelming majorities, often with the US and Israel virtually alone in opposition. See, for example: UN Press Release, GA/10179, Oct. 21, 2003. ( http://www.un.org/press/en/2003/ga10179.doc.htm ) ; UN General Assembly vote on Dec. 23, 2003, on draft resolution 58/ 229.
( http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/77660E5C1B79EF8C85256EA90068A58B )
2. On April 8, 2002, in Madrid. J. Brinkley, "Israel Starts Leaving… ," The New York Times, April 9, 2002.
( http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/08/international/08CND-MIDE.html )
3. D. Tutu, “Apartheid in the Holy Land," The Guardian (Britain), April 29, 2002.
( http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/comment/0,10551,706911,00.html )
4. Benjamin Ginsberg, The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State (University of Chicago, 1993), pp. 1, 103.
5. S. Steinlight, "The Jewish Stake in America's Changing Demography: Reconsidering a Misguided Immigration Policy," Center for Immigration Studies, Nov. 2001. ( http://www.cis.org/articles/2001/back1301.html )
6. Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab, Jews and the New American Scene (Harvard Univ. Press, 1995), pp. 26-27.
7. N. Burstein, “Jewish power dominates at 'Vanity Fair’,” The Jerusalem Post (Israel), Oct.12, 2007.
( http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1191257286817&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull )
8. A. Cockburn, “The Uproar Over the Israel Lobby,” May 8 (or 5?), 2006.
( http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn05082006.html )
9. N. Confessore, E. Lipton, “Seeking to Ban Online Betting, G.O.P. Donor Tests Influence,” The New York Times, March 27, 2014 ( http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/28/us/politics/major-gop-donor-tests-his-influence-in-push-to-ban-online-gambling.html); J. Horowitz, “Republican Contenders Reach Out to Sheldon Adelson, Palms Up,” The New York Times, April 26, 2015 ( http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/27/us/politics/republican-contenders-reach-out-to-sheldon-adelson-palms-up.html ) ; E. Lipton, “G.O.P.’s Israel Support Deepens as Political Contributions Shift,” The New York Times, April 4, 2015 ( http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/us/politics/gops-israel-support-deepens-as-political-contributions-shift.html ) ; See also: M. Gold, P. Rucker, “Billionaire mogul Sheldon Adelson looks for mainstream Republican who can win in 2016,” The Washington Post, March 25, 2015 ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/billionaire-mogul-sheldon-adelson-looks-for-mainstream-republican-who-can-win-in-2016/2014/03/25/e2f47bb0-b3c2-11e3-8cb6-284052554d74_story.html ); P. Stone, “Sheldon Adelson Spent Far More On Campaign Than Previously Known,” The Huffington Post, Dec. 12, 2012 ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/03/sheldon-adelson-2012-election_n_2223589.html )
10. A. R. Sorkin, “Schlepping to Moguldom,” The New York Times, Sept. 5, 2004.
( http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/05/business/yourmoney/05sab.html ) ; “Israeli Billionaire Saban is Biggest Donor to US Politicians,” Ynet News (Israel), Jan. 23, 2007. ( http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/1,7340,L-3355786,00.html )
11. M. J. Rosenberg, “Sheldon Adelson and Haim Saban: Billionaire Funders for Israel,” The Nation, Dec. 8, 2014
( http://www.thenation.com/article/192065/sheldon-adelson-and-haim-saban-want-be-koch-brothers-israel )
12. M. Medved, “Is Hollywood Too Jewish?,” Moment, Vol. 21, No. 4 (1996), p. 37.
13. Jonathan Jeremy Goldberg, Jewish Power: Inside the American Jewish Establishment (Addison-Wesley, 1996), pp. 280, 287-288. See also pp. 39-40, 290-291.
14. J. Stein, “How Jewish Is Hollywood?,” Los Angeles Times, Dec. 19, 2008.
( http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-stein19-2008dec19,0,4676183.column )
15. Jennifer Epstein, “Biden: 'Jewish heritage is American heritage',” Politico, May 21, 2013.
( http://www.politico.com/politico44/2013/05/biden-jewish-heritage-is-american-heritage-164525.html ); Daniel Halper, “Biden Talks of 'Outsized Influence' of Jews: 'The Influence Is Immense',” The Weekly Standard, May 22, 2013.
( http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/biden-talks-outsized-influence-jews-influence-immense_728765.html ) See also: M. Weber , “Vice President Biden Acknowledges 'Immense' Jewish Role in American Mass Media and Cultural Life,” July 2013.
( http://ihr.org/other/biden_jewish_role )
16. “Nixon, Billy Graham Make Derogatory Comments About Jews on Tapes,” Chicago Tribune, March 1, 2002 (or Feb. 28, 2002). ( http://www.fpp.co.uk/online/02/02/Graham_Nixon.html );
“Billy Graham Apologizes for ’72 Remarks,” Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2002. “Graham Regrets Jewish Slur,” BBC News, March 2, 2002. ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1850077.stm ) The conversation apparently took place on Feb. 1, 1972.
17. A. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1978), pp. 206, 209, 212, 218, 228, 229.
18. See: John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007.
19. F. Nelson, “Anger Over Dalyell's 'Jewish Cabal' Slur,” The Scotsman (Edinburgh), May 5, 2003
( http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-13027250.html ) ; M. White, “Dalyell Steps Up Attack On Levy,” The Guardian (London), May 6, 2003.
( http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2003/may/06/race.politics ).
See also: M. Weber, “Iraq: A War for Israel" ( http://www.ihr.org/leaflets/iraqwar.shtml )
20. M. Weber, “'Iraq Was Invaded to Secure Israel,’ Says Senator Hollings,” July 16, 2004
( http://www.ihr.org/news/040716_hollings.shtml )
21. See, for example: M. Weber, “Behind the Campaign for War Against Iran,” April 2013.
( http://www.ihr.org/other/behindwarcampaign )
About the Author
Mark Weber – historian, author and lecturer -- studied history at the University of Illinois (Chicago), the University of Munich, Portland State University and Indiana University (M.A., 1977). He is director of the Institute for Historical Review.
For Further Reading,/strong>
Norman F. Cantor. The Sacred Chain: A History of the Jews. New York: Harper, 1994.
Benjamin Ginsberg. The Fatal Embrace: Jews and the State. The Univ. of Chicago Press, 1993.
Peter Harrison, “What Causes Anti-Semitism?” Review of Macdonald’s Separation and Its Discontents. The Journal of Historical Review, May-June 1998. ( http://ihr.org/jhr/v17/v17n3p28_Harrison )
Alfred M. Lilienthal, The Zionist Connection. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1978.
Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab. Jews and the New American Scene. Harvard University Press, 1995.
Kevin MacDonald, A People That Shall Dwell Alone: Judaism as a Group Evolutionary Strategy. Praeger, 1994.
Kevin MacDonald, Separation and Its Discontents: Toward an Evolutionary Theory of Anti-Semitism. Praeger,1998
Kevin MacDonald, The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements. Praeger, 1998 (Softcover edition, 2002).
John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007.
W. D. Rubinstein. The Left, The Right and the Jews. New York: Universe Books, 1982.
Israel Shahak. Jewish History, Jewish Religion. London: Pluto Press, 1994
Goldwin Smith. “The Jewish Question.” From: Essays on Questions of the Day. New York: Macmillan, 1894.
( http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v17/v17n1p16_Smith.html )
Mark Weber, “Anti-Semitism: Why Does It Exist? And Why Does it Persist?,” Jan. 2014.
( http://ihr.org/other/anti-semitism-why-does-it-exist-dec-2013 ).
M. Weber, “Behind the Campaign for War Against Iran,” April 2013. ( http://www.ihr.org/other/behindwarcampaign )
M. Weber, “The Danger and Challenge of Jewish-Zionist Power,” April 2015. ( http://ihr.org/other/jewishzionistpower2015 )
M. Weber, “Iraq: A War for Israel.” March 2008. ( http://www.ihr.org/leaflets/iraqwar.shtml )
M. Weber, “Jews: A Religious Community, a People, or a Race?,” March-April 2000.
( http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v19/v19n2p63_Weber.html )
M. Weber, “Straight Talk About Zionism: What Jewish Nationalism Means,” April 2009.
( http://www.ihr.org/zionism0409.html )
M. Weber, “Vice President Biden Acknowledges `Immense' Jewish Role in American Mass Media and Cultural Life,” July 2013.
( http://ihr.org/other/biden_jewish_role )
M. Weber, “The Weight of Tradition: Why Judaism is Not Like Other Religions.” Oct. 2010.
( http://www.ihr.org/judaism0709.html )