The Arab Lobby, by Mitchell Bard. Harper. 432 pages. $27.99 hardback, $14.99 paperback.
This book fills an important need. Though it may at first seem that it was needed to counter outlandish claims about the power that Israeli and Jewish interests have over U. S. policy decisions, the real necessity goes far beyond such a rationale. American citizens are for the most part totally ignorant about the many-headed Arab lobby, its enormity, and its essentially subversive agenda. Dr. Bard’s 70-year history sets the record straight.
One long-lived component of the Arab lobby is the partisan mind-set of our own Department of State. Arabists in high government positions have long promoted policies favoring supportive relationships with Arab/Muslim governments of the Middle East in spite of the sorry human rights records of these governments, none of which is a true democracy. Arabist motives range from an almost romantic attachment to the exotic east, to an ingrained anti-Semitism, to a recognition of America’s high priority need for access to petroleum resources in those lands.
A second component of the Arab lobby is made up of the national and international oil companies. Pressure on U. S. policy comes from, and is paid for by, petroleum corporations needing to do business with those energy-rich countries and ready to do their bidding in the halls of our congress and in the offices of our government agencies.
Of course, the countries themselves – through their diplomatic missions, gift-giving, and investment policies, form another component of the Arab lobby. Here, none is more forceful than Saudi Arabia. Writes Bard: “The United States has developed a pathological relationship with Saudi Arabia over the last seven decades. American’s political leaders have allowed themselves to be blackmailed by the Saudi Monarchy because of their belief that capitulation to Saudi demands is necessary to ensure the continued flow of oil on which the American economy depends.”
Unfortunately overlooked, according to Bard, is “the Saudi-Funded War on America.” Saudi money (and that of other Arab nations) regularly finds its way to Islamic terrorist groups, undermining American security. That same money supports, at U. S. universities, programs in Mid-Eastern Studies that are obvious vehicles for undermining U. S. values, rewriting the history of the Middle East, and demonizing Israel AND ITS SUPPORTERS. That is, for access to oil, we are allowing the countries that support terrorist violence to implant intellectual terrorism in our classrooms and conference halls.
All this is worrisome enough, but Mitchell Bard also presents irrefutable evidence that materials for K-12 classroom use in our public (and private) schools are prepared by Arab lobby organizations with the goal of promoting “anti-Israel and propagandist views.” In short, brainwashing is going on in our grade schools, middle schools, and high schools as well as in our universities. Freedom of speech abuses are undermining our country. That’s the real cost of dependence on Arab oil.
That same oil money supports supposedly nongovernment organizations whose main purpose is to spread extreme Islamic ideology wherever and however it can. Bard believes that as much as 80% of America’s 1,200 mosques are run by Wahhabi imams. Many Islamic cultural centers in the U. S. promote intolerance of Judaism and Christianity.
In these ways, the oil money is busy shaping the outlook of another “head” in the hydra-headed Arab lobby: the Arab-American community!
Although the Saudi public relations machine announces how Saudis have fouled terrorist plots and paints a picture of Saudi Arabia as an ally in the war on terror, following Saudi money paints a very different and terrifying picture.
There is also a very large anti-Zionist array of Christian denominations that comprise a formidable dimension of the Arab lobby. In fact, Bard argues, outside of the Evangelicals, most major (and minor) Christian church bodies are anti-Zionist.
After reading Mitchell Bard’s book (and checking his sources), one can no longer believe that the Arab lobby is a myth. Though it is not a unified entity and does not have a lead organization parallel to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), it is – in its totality – an imposing force with immense resources.
Bard concludes: “Now that it has been exposed, it is time to shake off the influence of the Arab lobby and to bolster ties with countries that do share our values and interests.”
This review appears in the January 2012 issues of Federation Star (Jewish Federation of Collier County, Florida), L’Chayim (Jewish Federation of Lee & Charlotte counties), and The Jewish News (Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee counties).