dimanche 7 novembre 2010

Contre Israël : le lobby arabe aux Etats-Unis et sa composante européenne

Le secrétaire général du Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, a reconnu en public que sans l'aide et le soutien de l'Union européenne "notre financement et le soutien moral, politique et matériel que nous avons s'évaporerait".

Politiquement, l'Europe est globalement hostile à Israël.  Le problème n'est pas l'antisémitisme.  A l'ONU, les Etats-Unis défendent Israël - l'Europe s'abstient ou vote contre Israël.  L'Europe se conduit ainsi car ses intérêts bien compris sont plus proches de ceux des Arabes et du monde musulman que d'Israël.  Cet article démontre comment fonctionne la composante européenne du lobby pro-arabe et son influence sur la politique des Etats-Unis envers Israël. 

The Arab Lobby, The European Component, by Steven J. Rosen Middle East Quarterly Fall 2010, pp. 17-32 (PDF).  Extraits :

"Europe as the Real Arab Lobby

Long experience in Washington leads to a different and somewhat surprising conclusion. The strongest external force pressuring the U.S. government to distance itself from Israel is not the Arab-American organizations, the Arab embassies, the oil companies, or the petrodollar lobby. Rather, it is the Europeans, especially the British, French, and Germans, that are the most influential Arab lobby to the U.S. government. The Arabs know this, so their preferred road to Washington often runs through Brussels or London or Paris. Nabil Shaath, then Palestinian Authority “foreign minister,” said in 2004 that the European Union is “the ally of our choice.”

The Arabs consider Europe to be the soft underbelly of the U.S. alliance with Israel and the best way to drive a wedge between the two historic allies. [...]

1,000 Lobbyists vs. One Lonely Guy [L'intervention du P.M. britannique John Major]

A dramatic example of how European intervention can drive a wedge between the United States and Israel occurred nearly twenty years ago in the sharp confrontation between President George H.W. Bush and Jerusalem. The untold story about this was the role of a European leader, British prime minister John Major, in provoking what may have been the worst episode ever to occur between a U.S. president and the government of Israel. It was a famous clash but one that might well not have occurred but for the European leader’s intervention.

The Kuwait war had just ended in 1991, and President Bush announced on March 6 his intention to convene an international conference on peace in the Middle East. At the same time, the Soviet Union was in its final stages of collapse, and Soviet Jews who had been prevented from emigrating were flooding out. More than 200,000 had already arrived in Israel, and a tidal wave of more than one million was expected to follow imminently. Israel faced grave challenges to absorb such an enormous influx, equal to 20 percent of its existing population. On May 5, 1991, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Zalman Shoval, announced that Israel would soon ask Washington for $10 billion in loan guarantees to help provide housing for one million Soviet immigrants expected to arrive during the next five years.

The Palestinians feared that the new immigrants would settle in the disputed territories. President Bush and his secretary of state, James A. Baker, declared that if any new loan guarantees were to be granted they would have to be linked to a commitment by Israel not to use the money in the territories. A mechanism would have to be found to ensure that the loan guarantees would not be used to support settlement activity, lest the international conference announced by the president be undermined.

To permit time to find a formula, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir agreed to delay Israel’s official request for the loan guarantees for three months until September 6. During the summer of 1991, Secretary Baker made numerous trips to the region, looking for a way to avoid a collision between the loan guarantees and the peace process. A few AIPAC colleagues and I were involved in some of the behind-the-scenes negotiations, conducted primarily by Elyakim Rubinstein, the Israeli government secretary, Secretary Baker and his staff, and Senator Robert Kasten, Jr. (Republican of Wisconsin) on behalf of pro-Israel members of Congress, and Ambassador Shoval.
By mid-August, we were relieved to learn, via communication with Baker and his staff, that a solution acceptable to Washington had been devised. The president had not yet approved it, but Baker was confident that he had a formula that would be acceptable to all sides. For AIPAC, this was a matter of paramount importance because it affected the fate of a million imperiled Jews, a historic effort to initiate a peace process, and the bilateral relationship between Israel and its most important ally.

George H. W. Bush was vacationing at his family’s summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, in late August 1991 when British prime minister John Major and his wife Norma visited. It was the kind of informal quality time directly with the president, unmediated by aides and advisers, that makes European leaders so influential on issues like the Middle East. Major had just told the Egyptian press that Israeli settlements, including those in East Jerusalem, were “illegal” and “damaging” to the peace process, and he wanted Bush to stand up to Israel. Baker was pressing the president to compromise, but the British leader urged him to take an absolute stand.

Bush returned from Kennebunkport with his mind changed according to subsequent reports from U.S. officials. To Baker’s surprise, the president rejected the package of assurances the secretary had carefully assembled and decided to throw down the gauntlet to Israel and its supporters. On September 6, 1991, he asked Congress for a 120-day delay on the loan guarantees “to give peace a chance.”

Six days later, Bush went a step further. On September 12, more than 1,000 Jewish leaders from around the country descended on Capitol Hill to lobby lawmakers for the loan guarantees. President Bush responded by calling a news conference the same day to warn that he would veto loan guarantees if Congress insisted on approving them despite his plea for a 120-day delay. He also criticized the pro-Israeli lobbyists, saying,

"We’re up against very strong and effective … groups that go up to the Hill … There were something like a thousand lobbyists on the Hill working the other side of the question. We’ve got one little guy down here doing it. … The Constitution charges the president with the conduct of the nation’s foreign policy … There is an attempt by some in Congress to prevent the president from taking steps central to the nation’s security. But too much is at stake for domestic politics to take precedence over peace."

Asked what was the lowest point in the history of U.S.-Israel relations, many experts would pick this clash over the loan guarantees. It was, at the very least, one of the most serious setbacks in the relationship. But the role of a British prime minister in undoing months of effort by the mediators and instigating the clash has never been exposed until now. It is an example of the way a key European can interact with the highest decision-maker in the United States and move him toward the Arab point of view and away from Israel.

Europe Is Closer to the Arabs [...]"

Voir également: L'énorme influence du lobby arabe sur la politique des U.S.

1 commentaire :

Gilles-Michel DEHARBE a dit…

* When Islam Conquers Europe and the U.S. - By Laurence Mordekhai Thomas.


* Les musulmans majoritaires en Europe ?


* Le lobby Arabe.


Depuis les attentats du 11 septembre 2001, le Département d’Etat américain s’intéresse de près aux minorités d’Europe, en particulier musulmanes. La France fait l'objet d’une attention soutenue. Des liens y sont tissés, des réseaux créés avec les futurs leaders noirs et arabes.

En novembre 2007, au moment où Nicolas Sarkozy s’adressait au Congrès à Washington, Dan Fried, directeur des Affaires européennes au Département d’Etat, recevait des acteurs de la diversité française dans la bibliothèque d’apparat de l’ambassade américaine à Paris.

A l’origine de cette rencontre, il y a un programme confié par la secrétaire d’Etat Condoleezza Rice à Dan Fried lors de sa prise en main des affaires européennes en mai 2005. Ce plan consiste à développer des liens étroits avec les minorités musulmanes en Europe. Depuis, chaque ambassade américaine sur le Vieux Continent compte au moins un collaborateur dévolu à cette mission. La France, avec 4 à 5 millions d’habitants pouvant se dire musulmans, avec sa propension à l’universel mais aussi ses frustrations identitaires, forme un cas à part vu de Washington. Un lait sur le feu qui menace constamment de déborder. L’attention n’en est que plus grande.

Dans son livre, Mitchell Bard présente un lobby arabe à Washington beaucoup plus puissant que l'AIPAC juif, en particulier le parti saoudien qui a des ressources illimitées pour essayer d'acheter ce qu'ils ne peuvent généralement pas obtenir par la force de leurs arguments. Bard a été directeur exécutif de la Chambre de commerce américano-israélienne (American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, AICE).