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Pro-Israeli lobby losing grip on Washington?

Pro-Israeli lobby losing grip on Washington?
Over 12,000 delegates are expected to attend America's Pro-Israel Lobby meeting in Washington. As both the US president and the Israeli PM decided to skip the gathering, the lobby seems to be losing its influence, analyst Patrick Henningsen told RT.

Israel could become the first-ever nation to enjoy the official status of America's "major strategic ally". The proposed legislation will be among the issues discussed on Sunday - when the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) gathering kicks off in Washington.

The Israeli lobby will push to persuade US politicians to support its agenda in the Syrian conflict as “Israel will be looking to seize the Golan Heights and keep it as a ‘security zone,’” Henningsen said.

But for the first time in seven years the gathering will not be attended by the US President or the Israeli Prime Minister.

Patrick Henningsen, a geopolitical analyst for 21stcenturywire.com, told RT that the lobby is slowly losing its influence in Washington.

RT:If Israel cements this alliance with the US, where would America draw the line in terms of keeping its boisterous ally in check?

Patrick Henningsen: Well, this latest diplomatic move, as you know and as everyone can see…  What is really happening here is that Israel has re-entered the fray as a political spoiler.  Because, as we know the US – and some noises are coming out of Washington – there is quite a large contingent within the United States that is looking perhaps to get into diplomatic negotiation with Iran and not be talking abrasively as they have in previous years.

And Israel has entered the fray. The Israeli lobby is really putting pressure on those politicians in America to take a more Israeli line, which is a more hardcore line that has to do perhaps with inflaming war with Iran.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, points to a red line he drew on a graphic of a bomb while discussing Iran during an address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2012 in New York City (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)

RT:How would bolstering strategic ties with Israel affect America's standing in the Arab world? Could the US be left to deal with severe consequences because of Israel's political ambitions?

PH: I don’t think so. Look at the Arab world as a whole, the structure of the Arab League. Saudi Arabia and Israel don’t have any problems with each other as we know, because those two countries are more concerned with… Well Saudis’ concern is money, and security and stability. And Israel and Saudis act as a proper counterweight for each other in the Middle East.

But there is not going to be a massive change. The big change here, what we’re looking at here is a shift. There is a shift away from this of kind of blind allegiance to Israel that is on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.

There are splits appearing, because Americans are realizing that it is not in their best interest, it is not in American interests, to follow Israel’s agenda. Therefore, it is not beneficial for AIPAC to be running the government in Washington any more, as they have in the past thirty years.

RT:International nuclear talks with Iran have seen a glimmer of hope because more talks are ahead. What kind of impact would a reinforced US-Israeli partnership have on attempts to find common ground?

PH: It will have a negative impact. What Israel is trying to do here – notice how Israel has laid very quiet during the Syrian uprising and that is because Israel was looking for its chance to get what it can from this particular unrest north of its border in Syria.

And what Israel is looking for? What Israel is always looking for is to increase its land holdings. So, Israel will be looking to seize the Golan Heights and keep it as a “security zone” for Israel’s defense.

Israeli soldiers ride on top of a mobile artillery vehicle as it drives through sandy terrain during a military exercise in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, north of Israel on Sepetember 19, 2012 (AFP Photo / Jack Guez)

And of course, in the Golan Heights we have oil licenses, which have come into the news in recent weeks. Also we have water resources which Israel needs very badly. So, it there is a bit of opportunism with regards to Israel in Syria.

And of course the deal with Iran is also just to keep America in a permanent state of conflict over in the Middle East as well.

RT:What about the financial side of this? We've seen spending cuts take effect in the US, so where would the money to support Israel's agenda come from?

PH: As everyone knows by now, AIPAC, the cost of their influence over Washington is approximately $1 billion. They write out a check for every congressman and senator who is running for office, not just the ones that win.  They back everybody, so that they are loyal to Israel. 

The whole guise is also to guarantee military aid, which is free money, around $4 billion a year in total. This is a giant money laundering operation where money is circulated between the United States and Israel and that is paid for by the US taxpayer.

Reuters / Joshua Roberts