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 It’s Still the Same Old Story 

May 5, 2005 
“It remains unclear whether any classified information reached Israel,” the Washington Post reports with dry humor. Today's column is about Israeli espionage, "It's Still the Same Old Story" -- Read Joe's columns the day he writes them.Where, then, was the information supposed to wind up?

The story concerns Lawrence Franklin, a Defense Department policy analyst who has now been charged with passing on highly classified info to two pro-Israel lobbyists, a foreign official (we are left to guess what country he works for), and “unidentified members of the media.” Franklin also seems to have ties to neoconservative notables like Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith, and 83 classified documents were reportedly found in his West Virginia home.

The two lobbyists were (allegedly, as they say) top officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, better known as AIPAC. Ask your congressman if he’s ever heard of it. Chances are his knees will buckle and his mouth will dry up. You may take that as a Yes.

Franklin’s lawyer says his client is innocent and will fight the charges. Israeli officials say they aren’t involved in the case and have never received any secret information. AIPAC has long since denied everything, saying the investigation smacks of anti-Semitism and stuff. Don’t they all.

There have been innumerable stories of Israeli espionage and technology theft against this country over the years. The most famous was the Jonathan Pollard case twenty years ago. At first the Israeli government denied everything then too, saying Pollard was part of a “rogue operation” it hadn’t authorized. But it soon promoted his handler and, after he received a sentence of life in prison, pressured the U.S. Government for his release. He’s still in prison, but a generous pension awaits him if he ever gets to Israel, where he’s considered a national hero.

This is, as your congressman would probably say, “our only reliable ally in the Middle East,” whose agents and advocates in this country agitate tirelessly for war on Israel’s enemies, which is the main reason the United States keeps fighting Arab and Muslim countries that haven’t attacked us. These wars, in turn, are the chief reason the United States has become the most unpopular country in the world.

[Breaker quote for It's Still the Same Old Story -- Israeli espionage: Our "reliable ally" again]Our consolation is that we are very popular in Israel. The lion’s share of American foreign aid goes to one tiny country, a very rich one (as measured by personal income) and the only one in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons. Your congressman probably votes for annual increases in that limitless largesse. Ask him what we’ve gotten in return, besides 9/11.

Our prestige has fallen so low that it’s surprising that the Israelis don’t dissociate themselves from America in their own interest. Both countries are widely regarded as threats to the world’s peace, but the United States has been killing far more people than Israel has. American propaganda is starting to resemble the old Soviet variety, with its Orwellian blather of “liberation” and “democracy” to cover horrifying acts of violence.

George Washington and Alexander Hamilton warned that republics are especially vulnerable to “foreign corruption.” No doubt that’s still true, but the United States also produces plenty of the home-grown stuff. Do you know whom your congressman had lunch with today?

Americans are forever congratulating themselves on enjoying the blessings of self-government, but nobody bothers to measure them. Before our Revolution, the historian Paul Johnson points out, the average American paid sixpence a year to the British Crown. When our own income tax was adopted less than a century ago, only the very richest paid the top rate: 7 per cent. (Another historian mentions that under the Roman Empire income taxes might have been “as high as one per cent.”)

Israel is a small country with a big government. The United States is a big country with a humongous government. But don’t worry. It’s not just government, we’re assured; it’s self-government! We can all vote. That makes everything all right, according to the slogans of democracy that the looters employ to placate the looted.

In truth, we are all implicated in a system so vast and intricate that nobody can comprehend it; and all the world’s governments increasingly cooperate with each other. Modern war is terrifying, but modern peace is sinister.

Joseph Sobran

Copyright © 2005 by the Griffin Internet Syndicate,
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