Dual Loyalties

My opinion on the people who shape our world

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Rice said, "Thanks Doug, but when we want the Israeli position we'll invite the ambassador."

AlterNet: Losing Feith: "Feith's position was also undermined last summer when it was disclosed that the FBI was investigating whether one of his analysts had given classified material – specifically, a sensitive document on U.S. Iran policy – to an Israeli diplomat via the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a powerful lobby group. A grand jury in the case has since been empanelled and AIPAC's offices subjected to two searches.

While Feith himself has not been implicated in the case, his close ties to Israel have long raised eyebrows, even, at times, within the Bush administration.

In 2003, when Feith, who was standing in for Rumsfeld at an inter-agency 'Principals' Meeting' on the Middle East, concluded his remarks on behalf of the Pentagon, according to the Washington insider newsletter, "The Nelson Report," Rice said, "Thanks Doug, but when we want the Israeli position we'll invite the ambassador."

According to investigative journalist Stephen Green, Feith was summarily removed from his post as a Middle East analyst in the National Security Council under former President Ronald Reagan in 1983 because he had been the object of a FBI inquiry into whether he had provided classified material to an official of the Israeli embassy.

Feith, who was immediately hired by Perle when the latter was assistant secretary of defence, has long been associated with extreme views on the Arab-Israeli conflict. His former law partner, Marc Zell, has served as a spokesman for the Israeli settler movement, and he publicly and prolifically opposed the Oslo accords between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

In 1996, he joined with Perle and four other prominent hard-line neoconservatives – including David Wurmser, Cheney's Middle East advisor since October 2003 – as part of a study group sponsored by the Jerusalem-based Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies.

The result was a paper drafted by Wurmser and submitted to incoming Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, titled 'A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.' It called on Israel to work "closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll back" regional threats, strike Syrian targets in Lebanon and possibly Syria itself, and work to overthrow Saddam Hussein as the key to permanently transforming the regional balance of power and dictating peace terms to the Palestinians.

At the same time, Feith was active in several U.S. groups considered close to the Israeli far right, including the Center for Security Policy, the Middle East Forum, OneJerusalem.org, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and the Zionist Organization of America.

Significantly, CSP and ZOA have expressed strong reservations about Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plans – which are strongly backed by Abrams and the White House – to remove all Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip and four from the West Bank as part of a "disengagement" process that could renew an Israeli-Palestinian peace process."