Nye and Abramoff
Congressman Nye and Lobbyist Abramoff: soft justice
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD*
Why did the US Justice Department enter into an agreement with discredited Congressman Bob Ney even when they already struck a plea agreement with the guy who bribed him, Jack Abramoff? And why did many mainstream media outlets ignore the most crucial facts of this case?
We do know that Abramoff established scam operations to take in lobby money and spend it as he saw fit. The “Capitol Athletic Foundation” took in $6 million for “needy and deserving” sportsmanship programs. But it used less than 1 percent of its revenue on such programs. Native American leaders contributed millions to the foundation. In 2002, the Foundation reported it had given away more than $330,000 in grants to four organizations that said they never received the money. Instead, Abramoff used the organization for his pet projects. These included over $4 million to a Jewish school allied with the Zionist movement, $248,742 for Abramoff’s house in Silver Spring, and hundreds of thousands for sniper training of extremist and illegal Israeli colonial settlers living on Palestinian land. Ironically, Native Americans were defrauded into funding oppression and colonization of other native people. Abramoff also used his influence with Congressman Bob Ney to get a government contract worth $3 million for an obscure Israeli security company.
That these details are not mentioned in most media outlets perhaps gives us clues as to why Abramoff and Nye got off the hook so easily despite overwhelming evidence of corruption and graft. After all, it is the same Justice Department that refuses to implement US law with regard to lobbying for foreign powers in the case of the Israel lobby. Public trials in both cases would expose the US public to the uncomfortable facts of the detrimental impact of the Israeli lobby on US foreign policy. That this is true can be seen from the hysterical reaction to the research paper on the Israeli lobby by two respected professors at Harvard and the University of Chicago. What Mearsheimer and Walt stated is not any secret or heresy; it is in fact something well known inside the beltway. Fortune magazine has consistently rated AIPAC in the top 5 lobbies in the capitol. The harmful power of the lobby was widely critiqued by chorus of Americans beyond the academic circles. Examples included General Anthony Zinni and many other retired generals, Congressman and Senators (e.g. Senator Fullbright, Congressman Paul Findley), and survivors of the Israeli-attacked USS Liberty (the lobby managed to prevent further inquiry even after new evidence emerged in 2003, see http://www.ussliberty.org/). But the circle of those calling for reexamination of this "special relationship" with Israel is growing.
Many governments are finally saying enough is enough and the votes in the UN General Assembly on Israel are telling (in most cases, 150-160 countries voted for human rights and International law against the isolated US and Israeli rejectionist policies). At the civil society level, campaigns of boycotts, divestments and sanctions on Israel are growing. US citizens are also fed up with the hemorrhaging of hundreds of billions of our taxes to support occupations in Iraq and Palestine. Many are now realizing that there are really two possible outcomes to this struggle: the Zionists and their allies in governments and the media can succeed OR fail in the short-run in maintaining fear and racism to support theft of lands and natural resources. If they succeed in the short run, the long term outlook is catastrophic: Americans would continue to die serving Zionist special interests, extremism and tribalism would flourish, and the US economy and perhaps the world economy would be dragged down with endless wars to support the exclusivist Zionist ideology.
The more optimistic scenario is that America shakes loose from the lobbyists' grip and embraces International law and human rights for all. Americans, Palestinians, Israelis, and others will then be able to shape a world not separated by physical or psychological apartheid walls; i.e. a post-Zionist world. It was possible in Apartheid South Africa despite decades of animosity and hate and it is possible here too.
*Dr. Qumsiyeh is communication director for the Palestinian American Congress and is author of "Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli-Palestinian struggle" (Pluto Press).