On Israel, Jews, and Zionism

October 2, 2007

It is always important not to lose sight of the fact that Israel is the only country in the world which people claim should be either dismantled or destroyed, because it commits human rights violations, or because it sits on occupied land, or because its establishment was tied very closely to the Holocaust, and the crazy idea that the world owed something to the Jews in the wake of an attempted genocide against them during WWII.   China commits greater human rights abuses than Israel, and while it is criticized, and rightly so, for this, no one says with any degree of seriousness that China should cease to exist as a nation.   Most of the United States is occupied territory, European settlers moved westward, butchering and exterminating and forcibly relocating the indigenous population, many millions died in the process, over the course of two centuries, under official government policy. 

The US invented a war against Mexico to get at California and other parts of the southwest that lay within its borders.   By defeating Mexico, we got it to sell a lot of land to us in the Gadsden Purchase.  Does that make it any less immoral?  So, by the logic I cited above, the United States should be dismantled/destroyed because it sits on occupied land.  Only those regions that were largely uninhabited when whites arrived in the early 17th century should be considered theirs, everything else should go back to the Indians and the Mexicans, should it not?  To make such a claim today would be ludicrous.  La Raza does make that claim, and it is dismissed as sheer lunacy.  We got the land fair and square did we not, as a spoil of victory?   Israel obtained the West Bank and Gaza in the same way, beating Egypt and Jordan, and taking the Golan Heights from Syria, all in 1967, when a coalition of Arab countries decided to attack Israel, much like what happened in 1948, when the Arabs thought they could suffocate the newborn Jewish state before it matured, but found this task difficult, thanks to US support, and the willpower and strength of the Israeli army itself.

 People demand that Israel give back the land it took.  The West Bank and Gaza are occupied, to be sure.  They were occupied by the Ottomans, then the British, then the Jordanians and Egyptians, now the Jews, and I think these territories are not worth the trouble.  Israel should give them back, and probably would do so in a heartbeat, if not for the nefarious alliance between Jewish and Christian Zionists, who believe that doing so would be a mistake, that Jesus will not return if this happens, or God will be displeased, or that the Arabs are subhuman filth who have no place in the Jewish homeland.   Christian Zionists are out for Jewish blood, in accordance with Revelation, and it is they who enable the very worst elements of international Jewry to keep the Palestinians down, in bondage and misery, inflaming the Arab world and hypocritical Nazi ass kissers in America and Europe, who look for any excuse to denigrate Israel or Jews more broadly.   The Palestinians have suffered immensely, and they do suffer immensely, but so do those in Darfur and Burma and Tibet and North Korea, so do women under the Taliban and other oppressive Muslim regimes.  So do the Chechens under Russian occupation.  In a global context, Palestinian strife is not so bad, yet to place it in such a context is insulting and cruel.  Why do it? 

Because so many of Israel’s critics, such as Willis Carto, David Duke, Frank Weltner, implore us to think of the Holocaust in a larger context of atrocities committed during WWII by all participants.  Dresden and Hiroshima and the rape of German women by the Red Army make the Holocaust practically non-existent, in their view, and they go to great lengths to trivialize and minimize the tragedy however they can.  What if one chose to do the same for the Palestinians?  Say, well, they are bad off, but worse things are happening, and so we do not have to pay it much mind.  How awful, when we adopt thinking like that, selectively picking victims of injustice and exploiting them for the purposes of an insidious agenda.  Nothing amuses me more than when racists join the anti-Israel bandwagon, while denying the real reason they hate it so much.  It is a Jewish state. The only one in the world.  That is why they hate it. 

While one cannot necessarily conflate anti-Zionism or anti-Israel sentiment with anti-Semitism (George Galloway illustrates this perfectly), anti-Semitism often does inspire hostility to everything Jewish, regardless of its nature, so Zionism and Israel would fit well into that category.  Why would racists, who care only about the interests and lives of their own racial brethren, be concerned with the plight of non-white Arabs, being killed or brutalized by Jews, the sworn enemy of every race, especially the white race?   Beats me.  I didn’t think they cared about the kikes and ragheads, but maybe I misjudged them.  I doubt their sincerity.  I mean, Slobodan Milosevic killed thousands of Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo, and they tend to support him as a great patriot, despite his brutality, and they show no unease when violence against Arabs/Muslims occurs in France or other parts of Europe that Arabs/Muslims have settled in.   So, is it only when Arabs and Muslims are mistreated by Jews that these assholes take notice? 

 I doubt they protest Russian abuses in Chechnya, those damn Muslim terrorists deserve everything that happens to them, if they blow up a Russian child, curse them, if Hamas blows up a Jewish kid, congratulations, as Hamas is only responding to the aggressive and evil policies of Israel.  Really, Hamas and the Chechens have the same goal: independence, and they use similar tactics to achieve it, but this is rarely, if ever, mentioned by delusional hypocrites in need of anything that makes the Jews look bad.   Let us talk about the Palestinian refugees for a minute. 

How many of them are there, exactly?  Hundreds of thousands.  Perhaps.  But again, in a broader context (and Israel bashers and Jew haters are fond of placing things in broader context), what is the unique significance of these refugees, these victims of ethnic cleansing?  I mean, more than 10 million Muslims and Hindus were “transferred” from India to Pakistan and vice versa following the partition of those countries in the late 1940s, following the British withdrawal from its oldest and most profitable colony.  10 million, which is likely a minimum, as some put the figure between 12 and 15 million, which is not far from the number of Germans expelled from Eastern Europe after WWII.  These Germans, from Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, arrived penniless back in Germany, which was not in an economic position to take them and keep them, but it managed, with American help.  How many of these Germans would want to go back to Poland, the Czech Republic, or the other nations they formerly lived in?  Many settled in what became West Germany, and thus dwelt outside the Iron Curtain, which I am sure they were thankful for.   No one demanded that Eastern European countries take back EVERY SINGLE German exile.  Hardly any demands were made at all, because these exiles probably would have chosen to stay where they were.   No one demanded that Algeria take back the 1 million or more people it kicked out following the revolutionary war against France in the 1950s and 60s.  French Jews and gentiles went back to France, and I wonder how many of them would leave that nation to return to Algeria, a rather poor Muslim state in North Africa.   But the issue was never raised.  What about the millions of Chinese ethnically cleansed from Indonesia? 

 Israel is the ONLY nation in the world and in HISTORY that has been asked to take back EVERY refugee and exile, to return EVERY square inch of land it occupies, even when the land in question was won in war.  The US will not be returning Cuba or Guam to Spain, nor will it be returning Arizona and California to Mexico.  So, why do these double standards exist for Israel?    To occupy land illegally is wrong.  To steal land from its indigenous owners is also wrong, but Israel has done far less in this regard than the United States, England, China, Russia, France, Germany, Japan, or Italy.    Israel has concerned itself with two or three pieces of real estate, the West Bank, Gaza, and Golan Heights.  It returned Sinai to Egypt following the peace agreement with Egypt in the 70s.   Israel has never been much bigger than New Jersey, and it has a smaller population, of roughly 6-6.5 million.  

Those who say Israel is a ruthless colonial power apparently fail to notice this, and imply that Israel seeks to take over the entire Middle East, though its physical geographic size has not expanded much in the last 60 years, and there are still 22-23 Arab and Muslim nations in the region, with Israel never conquering any of them.  It has invaded Lebanon, and has fought with Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, and is not on particularly good terms with Iran, but none of these nations could say that they are under Israeli occupation, nor could they even say with any degree of seriousness that they are constantly threatened by Israel, or that its very existence threatens theirs.  Please.  Many of these countries were just carved out of the Ottoman Empire by the British and the French, and Israel has as much right to exist as any of them.   Israel’s right to exist should not even be a factor.  It is beyond dispute.

 One can argue (as I have) for a change or alteration in government policy, for a new regime, led by compassionate reformers, but it is obscene to suggest that an entire state should be wiped out or physically dismantled.   Where do the Palestinians wish to live?   They want to stay in Israel, rather than relocate to neighboring Arab states.  That is their wish and their right.  It is not like the Arab world has done much of anything for them.   Saudi Arabia, Iran, even Libya, or Egypt (home of PLO leader Arafat) could take them in, or help them financially, but they choose not to.  The biggest supporters of Palestinian rights have been folks like Idi Amin and Saddam Hussein, even the Soviet Union, all for different reasons, religious, ethnic, and political.   No one has ever denied that Israel is illegally occupying Arab land.  However, I believe the Jews have as much claim to it as the Arabs do, and the central problem is that no one really knows who it really belongs to, if indeed it belongs to anyone.  Jerusalem is the Jewish holy city, historically important to them, ever since its destruction by the Romans in 70 CE.  Jerusalem is also important to Christians, who travel there frequently.  Evangelical prophecy pimps like John Hagee believe that Jerusalem is the setting for Armageddon, and is where Jesus will arrive during his second coming.  Jerusalem is the center of the world in God’s eyes, according to Hagee. 

The Muslims have Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.  Jerusalem has no special significance to them.  They pray facing Mecca, and take the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, where Islam began.  Jerusalem, however, has been a Muslim city for several centuries, the Ottomans claimed it.  There is a big mosque there.  As far as I know, that mosque (or any mosque in the city) has not been damaged or closed off.  The Muslims can go there and worship without fear.  Can Jews do the same in synagogues scattered around the Middle East?  They couldn’t in Jordan when it occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem.  The Jordanians even restricted access to Arab Christians, and desecrated Jewish cemeteries, yet the UN (so pro-Israel) was completely silent on this account. 

Jews were terrorized in Egypt following its scuffles with Israel, and those Jews came to Israel, where they found refuge.  Jews have all but vanished from Iraq, most of them now live in Israel, fleeing for much the same reason.  The cynic or chronic conspiracy theorist might say that Zionists orchestrate such events, so that Jews from every corner of the world will come to Israel, something they might not ordinarily do voluntarily, if they live in peace and comfort elsewhere.  The racism against Ethiopian Jews (one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world) really sickened me, but there have been attempts to assimilate them and make them feel welcome in Israel.  Jews from the former Soviet Union, many of them old and poor, have been brought to Israel through a remarkable charity set up by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, a good man, whose organization I have donated money to, simply out of altruism, and a sense of duty to help the elderly and the impoverished.   What are my criticisms of Israel?  I object to its refusal to take in refugees from Darfur.  Israel should be sensitive to victims of genocide, yet it seems to be terribly insensitive to them, and feels no special obligation to offer them asylum.   I object to the way the Israeli government treats Holocaust survivors, the real reason Israel exists, by giving them pathetically low monthly pensions, when it could afford something much higher, considering the billions it receives from the United States. 

That financial aid is another criticism.  It is far too much.  Israel doesn’t need it.  I believe that we should support Israel, and that it has a right to exist, and that we should give it aid when it and if it needs it, but it is an unnecessary expenditure.  The Mossad is one of the world’s best intelligence agencies.  Shin Bet is highly skilled.  The Israeli army is far better than that of any other nation in the Middle East.   If ever it is attacked, I am sure it could defend itself.  However, the US would always be ready to intervene in the event that it could not.   This is where I fundamentally agree with Mearsheimer and Walt.  Their controversial paper (and now book) makes few original statements, a work of pure realist theory, but they make points I think are correct, and excessive investment in Israel drains the US economy and money that could be used more appropriately elsewhere.  And Israel does commit human rights violations, and brutalizes the Palestinians, but I also think their suffering is exaggerated and exploited by Arab and Islamic propagandists, not to mention anti-Semites in Europe and America.  I often think of Israel as a spoiled child, with a huge allowance, but it is spared discipline when it misbehaves.  The US needs to be firm in its commitment to the human rights of the Palestinians, and make it clear that it will not tolerate mistreatment of and abuses against Palestinian civilians.  If Israel chooses to ignore this, the US would then have an obligation to tighten the pursestrings and suspend the cashflow until Israel does heed the warning.  It would straighten up fast, I would assume.  I oppose Israel’s race-based immigration policies, favoring Jews over non-Jews, and any apartheid-like discrimination that may exist in the country.  I don’t think Israel is the most evil or racist country that has ever existed or does exist.   Even the US has not fully divested itself of racism, and neither has Europe, both of which are far from utopias of racial harmony.  Israel is little worse than these places, or pre-90s South Africa.

 Jack Bernstein wrote a provocative essay about his experience in what he called “racist, Marxist Israel” which sounds like sensationalism to me, but then, he actually went there, and I have never set foot in the country.  Israel Shamir is a crackpot, I think, the only Jew most anti-Semites really like, because he has suggested that all Jews should convert to Christianity, which sounds particularly stupid to me, who thinks no one should convert to any religion.  Noam Chomsky, one of today’s foremost linguists and intellectuals, has been accused of anti-Semitism, which I find a bit silly, though he is ardently anti-Zionist, and harshly critical of Israel, but then he is harshly critical of most everything, including the United States, but I tend to read and digest everything he writes and says, and I agree with him more than I disagree, though I find it hypocritical that a left-wing academic rails against capitalism and financial inequality, yet has an exorbitant speaking fee and earns millions every year, and who has, at least it seems to me, defended the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia back in the 70s and 80s.

Benjamin Freedman is another one of the “good Jews”, a Christian convert who kissed right-wing fascist gentile ass for much of his life, offering ridiculous alternative views of history, which supported the Gibsonian idea that Jews started WWI and WWII, and that Jews want to take over the world, and that Christianity is imperiled, and a host of other wild-eyed accusations, none of which he ever offered any hard evidence for.   What of Israel Shahak, who wrote an expose on Judaism, and criticized Jewish supremacy?   Technically, I agree with a lot of what he says, because I find the Old Testament and the Torah horrific in their boastful accounts of genocide against non-Israelites, dozens of different groups of people, who had their children murdered and their cities destroyed.

 The content of the Talmud could very well be worse, but I cannot be sure, since I have read convincing arguments that anti-Semites willfully misrepresent the Talmud only to demonize it, but if it is really as bad as they claim, why should I be surprised?  The Koran and the Bible are certainly far from humane.

 But what is worse?  The content itself, or the way radicals and fundamentalists can interpret said content?  Khomeini and Bin Laden derived their homicidal ideologies from the Koran.  Fred Phelps draws his bigotry from the Bible, and so does James Wickstrom and other Christian Identity morons.  The Crusaders and perpetrators of the Inquisition were driven by what they believed God and Jesus were telling them through the pages of the Bible, too, or for the latter, the Malleus Maleficarum, or Dummy’s Guide to Witches.  I admire Shahak’s apparent commitment to human rights, and his condemnation of religious chauvinism and the vicious totalitarian control rabbinical law has had over Jews throughout the centuries, rabbinical law is hardcore, particularly that of the Orthodox variety, where its adherents want to have things the way they were 4000 years ago, with women in their proper place and all that stuff.  But in this case, they are little different from many Muslims and Christians.  As an admirer of Gore Vidal, who is himself an admirer of Shahak (he wrote a forward to one edition of Shahak’s book, Jewish History, Jewish Religion), I have to think that Shahak at least got something right, for someone like Gore Vidal to take notice of him.   But then, David Duke likes Shahak, too, so maybe my previous theory is discredited.

What of Norman Finkelstein?  Recently fired from DePaul University, where he was a political science professor, Finkelstein wrote a compelling book about the Holocaust Industry, as he called it, where Jews and Jewish organizations exploit the memory of Holocaust victims for their own personal gain, to shield themselves from any and all criticism.  He also discussed the manipulation of anti-Semitism for the same purpose.  And he also had problems with Israel, and supported the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, which he thought would pose no threat at all to Israel, something I happen to think is absolutely true.  Finkelstein was taken to task by Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard Law professor, reviled by many, even though I happen to think that some of his assertions about Israel are right, but I also have issues with apparent willingness to forgive even the most egregious activities of the Jewish state.   I like and respect Finkelstein, who is not a Holocaust denier, he, like I, believes that around 5 million Jews perished during WWII, in accordance with the figures published by Raul Hilberg in his seminal work on the fate of European Jewry under Nazi rule.   In a debate between him and Lady Michele Renouf, he ridiculed the Tehran Conference, which is about all one could do, while she defended it.  Finkelstein’s parents are both Holocaust survivors, Hilberg and Yehuda Bauer both praised his scholarship, even while others may have denounced it.  I guess Renouf would try to tell him his dead relatives are still alive somewhere, since they certainly weren’t murdered by the Nazis. 

There have always been Jews in Jerusalem.  There have not always been Muslims there.  Islam only came into existence in the 500s or 600s, and expanded rapidly and ruthlessly from the 700s to 900s, across the Middle East and into North Africa.  What about Arabs in Jerusalem?  Both Arabs and Jews are Semitic, and both have their origins in Mesopotamia, where the Sumerians were from, as well as Abraham, who was a polytheist before God made him a monotheist, and he became the spiritual father of Judaism, and the other monotheistic faiths, chiefly Christianity and Islam.  The Noah flood story is borrowed from a similar tale in the epic Gilgamesh, or vice versa, whichever came first (and I am sure Gilgamesh predates the Torah).   \

What about the Khazars?  Arthur Koestler put forward a theory that most of the Jews today (95% or so of them, all apparently Ashkenazi) are actually descendants of the Khazars, a group of people from Russia (Asiatic Russia, most likely) who were run out of their homeland by the Mongols. The Khazars adopted Judaism in the 8th or 9th century, and spread it westward, as they resettled in Poland and Eastern Europe.  So, that means, according to Koestler and any who believe him, that most Jews today are in fact not really Jews at all.  Jews by faith but not by ethnicity.  I am not sure of the ethnicity of the Khazars.  Best I can tell they are Turkic, which would still make them Semitic, but some claim the Khazars are actually Mongols, which makes no sense, since they fled the Mongols following their expansion under Genghis Khan.  Unless the Mongols invaded and occupied Khazaria centuries before Genghis came to power, in which case there was interbreeding and the Khazars became more Mongol than Turkic.  The extent of the Khazarian conversion is still debated, and chances are that only the elite among the Khazars embraced Judaism, and the conversion did not encompass a huge percentage of all those living in Khazaria.  I know of no one who agrees with Koestler, and other books are available on the subject, but Frank Weltner (my favorite anti-Jewish fraudster) relies almost exclusively on Koestler, and of course, Benjamin Freedman, who also made statements to that effect.  But the Khazars did come into contact with Jewish communities that already existed in Eastern Europe, and there were certainly Jews who lived further west and in Africa and various parts of the Middle East. 

 Some claim that the word Jew did not exist until the 17th or 18th century (maybe even the 19th), so therefore, the Old Testament could not be talking about Jews.  So Jews are not the Israelites of the Bible.  And, Shakespeare’s character Shylock is not really a Jew, either, but a caricature of some other group known for their devious financial practices, like usury.   Chaucer and Thomas Aquinas never talked about Jews.  Whether the letter J existed at these times is irrelevant.  If something is spelled Iude (the German word for Jew is Jude, one should note the linguistic similarity between German and English, they are sister languages), in Old English, which changed in modern lingo, to give us new words, as the older language was updated, even to King James English, which was around at least until the Victorian era.  Again, we have a theory that makes little sense.  So the Khazars deliberately subverted the meaning of the word Jew to disguise their real heritage, and link themselves to the Jews of antiquity, who, according to the Old Testament, had a land deed from God to what was called Canaan, whose original inhabitants were exterminated.  Israel, the Jewish kingdom, was divided in two, north and south (the southern region was Judah), and both were occupied by foreign powers, the Babylonians and the Assyrians to name a few.  These territories eventually fell under Roman rule, and the Romans renamed them Judea, and this is where much of the New Testament is set, at least the stories of Jesus, who was a Jew from Galilee.  (I am convinced, as are most religious scholars, that most Judeans were Jews, and different parts of Judea, like Galilee, were still predominantly Jewish, with a few minorities, like the Samaritans and the Persians, and Jesus was neither of those).  So that brings us back to the enduring question: do Jews or Arabs have a right to the land?  I would say that both do, to some degree, and they have co-existed there for more than a millennium, the Jews as a minority, and the Arabs as a majority, though Jews and Muslims found their numbers diminished by the Crusades, as Christians attempted to take back the Holy Land. 

What of Zionism?  I am not obsessed with it, nor do I think it fundamentally evil, at least not more so than Christianity, or white supremacy.  Some view Zionism as racial supremacy.  I don’t.  I do not believe Theodor Herzl, its founder, was a racist.  He did regard Jews as a race, but not a superior race.  Other Jews might have, but not he.  His commitment to Zionism was reinforced by the Dreyfus Affair in France, and the appalling treatment of Jews in Russia and elsewhere, which made Herzl think that a Jewish homeland might be a good idea, to set up a place where Jews could come and live in peace.  Palestine was that place.  The Jews settled in sparsely populated areas of what was then a part of the Ottoman Empire.  They started arriving there in the 19th century, mostly from Eastern Europe, Poland and Russia particularly, for good reason.  Mark Twain mentioned in the record of his travels to the Holy Land in the 1860s that much of what he saw was primarily desolate, with few signs of life. 

Most of the Arabs lived in the eastern part of Palestine, in Jerusalem and what would become the countries of Jordan and Syria.  As Jews settled and started to transform the remote sections of Palestine they had migrated to, Arabs began to arrive.  Jews and Arabs lived side-by-side with little incident until after WWI, when the British made dual promises to both groups.  Jews were promised an officially sanctioned homeland by the Balfour Declaration, but the British reneged on this in the 1939 White Paper, which made a gracious offer to the Palestinians, which their leader the Grand Mufti (who had just finished leading a three-year revolt, in which hundreds, if not thousands, of Brits and Jews were killed) foolishly rejected, because he wanted more, despite the fact that he had been offered most of Palestine, with the Jews getting a sliver.  The Arabs wanted Jewish emigration to Palestine stopped in the 1930s, as they were fleeing from Nazi Germany, and again, the British obliged.  The post-WWII partition plan by the UN was also fair, and the Arabs rejected that, too, the Palestinians themselves might have accepted it, but Arab leaders wanted more than what was allotted to them, which is why they decided to lead an invasion of Israel in 1948, which Israel won.   Syria and Egypt were the major aggressors.  

It occurred to me some time ago that most people care nothing about Jewish suffering; it is up to the Jews to remind everybody, and then they are accused of ignoring the suffering of others.  So much Holocaust, so little about the victims of Maoist China or the USSR.  Yet I have always heard of these atrocious regimes, in conjunction with the Nazis.  Abe Foxman, the overzealous and obnoxious head of the ADL, was in a recent scandal involving his apparent denial of the Armenian genocide, carried out by the Turks during WWI.  He has apologized, but one must question his sincerity.  As sympathetic as I am to Jews, they have no right to corner the market on genocide, or even the word Holocaust, which could accurately describe many atrocities of the last century, including the German massacre of the Herrero tribe in Namibia, or the Belgian occupation of the Congo, or famine in the Ukraine, organized by Stalin.   Deborah Lipstadt, known for a high-profile libel suit brought against her by David Irving, draws parallels between those who deny the Armenian genocide of WWI and the Jewish genocide of WWII, explores their motivations in a manner I find refreshingly insightful.  Those who call themselves Holocaust revisionists, but are really deniers of genocide, like the Turkish government, and yet I doubt they would apply their methodology to the Armenian tragedy.  If you can deny one episode of genocide, what is stopping you from denying another? 


In Defense of Jim Moran

October 2, 2007

Another victim of unfair condemnation, Congressman Jim Moran is in a tussle over his remarks about AIPAC, the Jewish lobby organization that encourages pro-Israeli foreign policy, and has a lot of influence, because of its wealthy benefactors, which include rich and powerful Jews, but also Christian Zionists who want the United States can do whatever it can to keep the Middle East on fire so that Jesus will come back, in accordance with biblical prophecy. 

Moran made it clear that AIPAC does not represent all of American Jewry, which is absolutely true, a point I have made time and time again.  Having many close Jewish friends, many of which are social liberals like me, a few who are quite conservative, none of whom support the Iraq war, all are in the same general economic class as I am, I certainly don’t believe that AIPAC represents the views of each and every American Jew, not even the vast majority of them, and this is what Moran said quite explicitly, but has been condemned as an anti-Semite nonetheless, a silly charge that again demonstrates the utter uselessness of the term. 

AIPAC represents, if anything, the interests of a wealthy and powerful Jewish and non-Jewish elite, a collection of Zionists and fanatical Christians, who want unconditional support for Israel, and sympathy for its interests, even at the expense of American concerns.  

 However, while the influence of AIPAC is beyond question, it is far from the only powerful lobbying group, and not even the most pernicious, and it has every right to exist, along with the hundreds of others that are designed to represent specialized segments of the American populace.  Iraq never was the biggest threat to Israel in the Middle East; Saddam was a secularist, who had invaded two of his neighbors, Iran and Kuwait, over the course of his rule. 

 He was an Arab nationalist, and sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, but so was Idi Amin in Uganda, and his country was never invaded by American forces, perhaps simply because of geography, a landlocked African nation is not as important as a large Arab state with lots of oil, located closer to Israel.   

Ariel Sharon, very much a war criminal, never did say that Jews controlled America, a quote credited to him and spread throughout the dependable global networks of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, though AIPAC is often presented as an obvious vindication of this fraudulent proclamation.  

I would argue that AIPAC and Israel have less to gain from the Iraq war than the defense contractors like Boeing and Lockheed, who have made billions over the last four years, and have a hugely influential lobby that might pay Congress to vote for troop surges and staying the course, because a withdrawal from Iraq would inevitably lead to a decrease in military spending, which would make these corporations lose profit.  The oil and pharmaceutical lobbies have billions of dollars to spend on candidates that will institute policies beneficial to them (like no cheap drugs from Canada, and no federal approval of herbal or natural cures for various illnesses).    The gun lobby, the China lobby, the Saudi lobby, Cuban exiles who help to shape American relations with Castro’s regime, Hispanic lobbies that influence attitudes on illegal immigration from Mexico.   

Where does AIPAC really rank in the great scheme of things? 

I believe there is a mythos surrounding AIPAC and the real degree of its influence, and it is an extension of the paranoid obsession with almost supernatural and all-embracing Jewish power.  Jim Moran has said  nothing remotely similar to this, and has instead made an observation that is fundamentally true, a criticism of AIPAC and its role in the Iraq War, and while I think he may be exaggerating a bit, there is no reason to raise a fuss over his comments.