The National Summit to reasses the U.S.-Israel “special relationship” took place at the National Press Club on March 7th, 2014 and aired on C-SPAN. The nonpartisan symposium examined the impact of the U.S.-Israel relationship on Americans. Speakers and attendees included military, diplomatic, intelligence, academic, governmental, research organization and economic experts, as well as former and current members of Congress.
Panel 1: How does the Israel lobby influence Congress?
Paul Findley – Should the executive outmaneuver Congress to save Palestine and Israel?
Paul Findley is a former 11-term Republican U.S. Congressman from Illinois. He served in the Seabees in the South Pacific during WWII. He has also authored several books and is a former newspaper editor. Findley wrote the very first book to analyze the pervasive influence of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on American politics, policy, and institutions from the perspective of Congress. Carefully documented with specific case histories, They Dare Speak out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby reveals how the Israel lobby helps to shape important aspects of U.S. foreign policy and influences congressional, senatorial, and presidential elections. It was first published in 1985. Findley is co-founder of the Council for the National Interest.
Janet McMahon – The Israel lobby network and coordinated PACs that finance U.S. elections
Janet McMahon is the managing editor at the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. She holds a B.A. in English from Reed College and a graduate diploma in Middle East Studies from the American University in Cairo. She is an expert on the Israel lobby and pro-Israel political action committees (PACs). She co-edited Seeing the Light: Personal Encounters With the Middle East and Islam, and Donald Neff’s 50 Years of Israel, both compilations of feature articles from the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. In addition to her editorial duties, she has written special reports on Israel and Palestine, and has contributed articles to special issues of the Washington Report on Iran, Tunisia, Cyprus and Libya.
Cynthia McKinney – In the Israel lobby’s cross-hairs
Cynthia McKinney served six terms in the United States House of Representatives between 1993-2003. McKinney was the first African-American woman to represent Georgia in the House. She was the Green Party presidential candidate in 2008. McKinney earned a B.A. in international relations from the University of Southern California, an M.A. in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Before entering politics, she worked as a high school teacher and later as a university professor.
Delinda Hanley – U.S. aid to Israel in numbers
Delinda Hanley is the executive director and news editor at The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Before joining the magazine in 1996, Hanley spent decades in the Middle East, studying in Lebanon, volunteering with the Peace Corps and later working in Oman and Saudi Arabia. From 1990 to 1996 Hanley worked as a researcher, editor and writer for Empire Press and Sovereign Media. Hanley writes for the Washington Report on an array of topics, and her articles have also been published in the Arab News, the Minaret, Islamic Horizons, Jewish Spectator and other publications. She is the winner of the NAAJA 2011 Excellence in Journalism award for her dedication to accuracy and professionalism.
Panel 1 Q&A
Panel 2: Does Israel and its lobby exercise too much influence on U.S. decisions to wage war in the Middle East?
Stephen Sniegoski – Neoconservatives and the Iraq War
Stephen J. Sniegoski, Ph.D. holds a doctorate in American history, with a focus on American foreign policy, from the University of Maryland. He is the author of The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel. The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies called The Transparent Cabal a valuable contribution to the ever-growing discussion within the United States of the relationship between American and Israeli interests. Dr. Sniegoski’s articles have been published in The World & I, Modern Age, Current Concerns, Zeit-Fragen, Telos, and elsewhere.
Karen Kwiatkowski – Inside the Pentagon’s “Office of Special Plans”
Karen U. Kwiatkowski retired from the U.S. Air Force with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel following service at the top echelons of the Pentagon, including the Office of Special Plans during the run-up to the war in Iraq. She served as Political-military affairs officer in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Under Secretary for Policy, in the Sub-Saharan Africa and Near East South Asia (NESA) Policy directorates; worked on the North Africa desk; served on the Air Force Staff, Operations Directorate at the Pentagon; served on the staff of the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade, as well as tours of duty in Alaska, Massachusetts, Spain and Italy. Kwiatkowski is the author of two books about U.S. foreign policy towards Africa: African Crisis Response Initiative: Past Present and Future (US Army Peacekeeping Institute, 2000) and Expeditionary Air Operations in Africa: Challenges and Solutions (Air University Press, 2001). Kwiatkowski has an MA in Government from Harvard University, MS in Science Management from the University of Alaska, and completed both Air Command and Staff College and the Naval War College seminar programs. She earned her Ph.D. in World Politics from Catholic University of America in 2005. Kwiatkowski’s analysis of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has been featured in a number of documentaries, including Why We Fight in 2005. She has written for The American Conservative and for LewRockwell.com since 2003.
Gareth Porter – The “manufactured crisis” and drive for U.S. / Israel military actions against Iran
Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian who specializes in U.S. national security policy. He writes regularly for IPS and has also published investigative articles on Salon.com, the Nation, the American Prospect, Truthout and The Raw Story. His blogs have been published on Huffington Post, Firedoglake, Counterpunch and many other websites. Porter was Saigon bureau chief of Dispatch News Service International in 1971 and later reported on trips to Southeast Asia for The Guardian, Asian Wall Street Journal and Pacific News Service. He is the author of four books on the Vietnam War and the political system of Vietnam. His most recent book is Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.
Brigadier General (ret) James J. David – How does U.S. military aid to Israel impact relations with other U.S. allies?
James J. David is a retired Brigadier General, and a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, and the National Security Course, National Defense University, Washington D.C. He served nearly three years of Army active duty in and around the Middle East from 1967-1969. Shortly after, General David was assigned to the Republic of Vietnam as a company commander with the 101st Airborne Division from 1969-1970. After his tour in Vietnam General David commanded a Chaparral-Vulcan Air Defense Artillery battery and received one of Europe’s highest awards for missile battery proficiency when his missile battery scored a perfect score in its annual service practice on the Island of Crete. After his active duty tours, General David commanded the 429th, and the 434th Chemical Detachments in Chamblee, Georgia, United States Army Reserves. The 434th Chemical Detachment received unit honors when it was later mobilized and served in the first Gulf war. His decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Medal with Overseas Ribbon and bar, the Vietnam Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Bronze Star Medal.
Panel 3: Does the “special relationship” transcend rule of law?
Grant F. Smith – A brief history of unprosecuted Israeli foreign agent, smuggling and espionage cases
Grant F. Smith is the director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep) in Washington, DC. He is the author of two unofficial histories of AIPAC–America’s Defense Line: The Justice Department’s Battle to Register the Israel Lobby as Agents of a Foreign Government and Foreign Agents: AIPAC from the 1963 Fulbright Hearings to the 2005 Espionage Scandal, as well as the books Divert!, Spy Trade, Deadly Dogma, Visa Denied and editor of the book Neocon Middle East Policy. Before joining IRmep, Smith was senior analyst and later program manager at Yankee Group Research, Inc. in Boston. Smith has a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from the University of Minnesota and a Masters in International Management from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul,
Ernie Gallo – The U.S.S Liberty: what really happened? What did not?
Ernest A. Gallo is president of the USS Liberty Veterans Association. He is a former Communications Technician, Second Class in the Navy Reserve. Following his active duty with the U.S. Navy, Gallo had a 28-and-a-half year career with the CIA supporting U.S. communications around the world. Gallo, a survivor of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, is the author of the 2013 book, Liberty Injustices: A Survivor’s Account of American Bigotry.
Mark Perry – Mossad poses as CIA? No-holds-barred national security reporting in the current environment
Mark Perry is an American author specializing in military, intelligence, and foreign affairs analysis who has authored eight books and whose articles have been featured in a number of leading publications. He is a graduate of Northwestern Military and Naval Academy and of Boston University. Perry is the former co-Director of the Washington, D.C., London, and Beirut-based Conflicts Forum, which specializes in engaging with Islamist movements in the Levant in dialogue with the West. Perry served as an unofficial advisor to PLO Chairman and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat from 1989 to 2004. He has appeared on numerous national and international televised forums and is a frequent guest commentator and expert on Al-Jazeera television, has appeared regularly on CNN’s The International Hour and on Special Assignment. Perry was also Washington correspondent for The Palestine Report, and is currently a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center. Perry is the recipient of both the 1995 National Jewish Book Award for his second book, A Fire In Zion, as well as journalism’s prestigious Project Censored Award.
M.E. “Spike” Bowman – The Jonathan Pollard Affair: what does it mean and what does it not mean?
M.E. Spike Bowman is a specialist in national security affairs. Bowman was most recently the Deputy, National Counterintelligence Executive. Previously, he was Senior Research Fellow at the National Defense University (Center for Technology and National Security Policy). He retired from the Senior Executive Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation where he served successively as Deputy General Counsel (National Security Law) Senior Counsel for National Security Law and Director, Intelligence Issues and Policy Group (National Security Branch). He is a former intelligence officer, an international lawyer and a recognized specialist in national security law with extensive experience in espionage and terrorism investigations. Bowman is also a retired U.S. Navy Captain who has served as Head of International Law at the Naval War College, as a diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy and as Chief of Litigation for the U.S. Navy.
Panel 2 and 3 Q&A
Panel 4: History: How did the “special relationship” come to be?
Stephen M. Walt is professor of International Affairs at Harvard University; previously taught at Princeton University, University of Chicago; consultant for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the National Defense University. He presently serves on the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and Journal of Cold War Studies. Walt also serves as Co-Editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs. He is author of The Origins of Alliances, which received the 1988 Edgar S. Furniss National Security Book Award and The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, with co-author John J. Mearsheimer.