June , 2011 -- AIPAC lobbying strategy goes global...
Content with its near total control of the U.S. Congress and U.S. Middle East policy, as witnessed by the rapturous welcome Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently received from a joint session of Congress, the Israel Lobby is extending its tentacles globally in order to ensure that a Palestinian strategy to obtain recognition from the UN General Assembly in September fails to get off the ground.
Jewish groups in the United States and Jewish politicians around the world are joining the Netanyahu government in offering "carrots and sticks" to countries around the world in a campaign designed to lure votes in the General Assembly away from Palestine in a vote on UN recognition of independence for the disputed territories. We previously reported that the Obama administration was also pressuring members of the UN General Assembly not to vote for Palestine independence.
On May 25, we reported: ". . . the United States will use every pressure point to ensure that the UN General Assembly does not make an end run around a U.S. veto in the UN Security Council of a resolution to grant Palestine UN recognition within 1967 borders. A Cold War-era provision known as "Uniting for Peace," or Resolution 377, can be used to circumvent a U.S. veto in the Security Council to bring the cause of Palestine recognition to the General Assembly, where the vote of the United States is the same as tiny Nauru in the Pacific. If two-thirds of the General Assembly vote for Palestine, the U.S. veto in the Security Council is trumped. The General Assembly can also recommend the imposing of sanctions on Israel for violating the sovereignty of an independent Palestine, a scenario that the Obama administration, Israel, and AIPAC will do everything in their power to prevent."
UN and Middle East sources have told us that Israeli government representatives are now fanning out across the world, in some cases with bags of cash, in an effort to bribe small nations into voting against a Palestine recognition resolution in the General Assembly. On May 25, we reported: "we have learned that Netanyahu and his aides, working with State Department officials like Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, Susan Rice, [US Mission to UN Economic Counselor Courtney] Nemroff, and others, have been coming up with "hit lists" of small and poor nations to be bullied into voting against or abstaining on the Palestine Uniting for Peace resolution. Israeli officials have recently visited small south Pacific nations like Tonga to convince them to vote no on Uniting for Peace for Palestine."
The United States is expected to use its veto in the Security Council to block Palestine's membership application. However, if 129 members of the 193-member General Assembly, two-thirds of the Assembly that is expected to add South Sudan as its 193rd member, vote for Palestine's recognition, the cause for membership will be greatly enhanced and the United States will stand alone as the one country that blocked UN membership for Palestine.
We have now learned that Israeli officials turned up in Tonga with cash bribes for Tongan officials in order to buy the small island nation's vote.In April, the Israeli Knesset speaker, Reuven Rivlin, visited Tonga in Israel's first effort to sway the country's vote. Last year, Tonga sent a high-level delegation to the first Arab League-Pacific Islands summit in Abu Dhabi.
Tonga is not the only small nation to be subjected to intense lobbying by Israel and leaders of World Jewry to oppose Palestine at the UN. Israel and its wealthy Jewish supporters around the world have promised some countries, all tourist destinations, that they can count on increased tourism and tourism infrastructure investment from Jewish interests if they vote against Palestine. Even Muslim tourist destinations have not been immune to this pressure. Ahmed Naseem, the Foreign Minister of Maldives, a predominantly Muslim island nation in the Indian Ocean, recently concluded a visit to Israel where he met with President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Naseem was reminded that a no vote or abstention on Palestine at the UN could mean more Israeli tourists for Maldives, who do not require a visa to visit the country. Israel and Maldives restored diplomatic relations in 2009.
In February, East Timor's President, Jose Ramos-Horta, visited Jerusalem and was offered Israeli security and agricultural assistance in return for a no vote or abstention on Palestine.
Pressure has also been applied to Comoros, a primarily Muslim island nation in the Indian Ocean that does not recognize Israel but maintains trade relations with Tel Aviv, and Mauritius, another country that could benefit from increased Israeli and Jewish tourism.
In addition to Israeli government officials, representatives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and American Jewish Committee have applied lobbying pressure on the governments of other destinations for American Jewish tourists, including Bahamas, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, Bhutan, St. Kitts-Nevis, Dominica, Seychelles, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Samoa. Israeli and U.S. pressure have also been brought to bear on five Pacific island nations that have voted for Israel in the past -- Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Marshall Islands, and Nauru.
In countries like Costa Rica and Panama, Israel is relying on Jewish leaders like Costa Rican Vice President Luis Lieberman and Panama Tourism Minister Solomon Shamah, recently implicated in leaked US State Department cables in drug smuggling, to ensure that the two nations remain in Israel's camp. With Colombia already in Israel's court, there will be an attempt to peel away Latin American nations that previously recognized Palestine, including Chile, Guyana, and Suriname, to either vote no on Palestine or abstain.
Israel is also concentrating its efforts on three Southeast Asian nations that have not recognized Palestine as independent. Israeli promises of military and intelligence assistance are being used to ensure a no vote or abstention by Myanmar and military aid agreements are being dangled in front of Singapore and Thailand. Israeli [backed by U.S. and Canadian] aid packages are also being used to lobby Sri Lanka, Kenya, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Central African Republic, Nepal, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon, Burundi, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mongolia, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi, DR Congo, Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Djibouti, Nigeria, Uganda, Rwanda, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, and the expected 193rd UN members, South Sudan.
Israeli diplomats and influential Jewish surrogates for the Jewish states are also applying a full court press on small European nations, including Iceland, Luxembourg, Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia, Montenegro, Estonia, Armenia, Macedonia, and even smaller Monaco, Andorra, Liechtenstein, and San Marino.
Israeli and U.S. strategy is that if enough nations can be cajoled or enticed to vote against the Palestine recognition resolution in the UN General Assembly, it will not be brought up again. Privately, we have been told by UN sources that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Joseph Deiss of Switzerland, have promised the U.S., Israel, and other Israeli allies to use any and all procedural rules to scuttle Palestine's bid for UN membership. Deiss recently tipped his hand by stating publicly that there was no way Palestine could be admitted to UN membership if the U.S. wielded its veto in the Security Council....