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The establishment of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) in 1985 greatly expanded the pro-Israel lobby's influence over policy as well. WINEP's founding director, Martin Indyk, had previously been research director of AIPAC (www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=AIPAC
) which, then as now, focuses much of its efforts on Congress. Indyk developed WINEP into a highly effective think tank devoted to maintaining and strengthening the US-Israel alliance through advocacy in the media and lobbying the executive branch.
On the eve of the 1988 presidential elections, with the first Palestinian intifada underway, WINEP made its bid to become a major player in US Middle East policy discussions by issuing a report entitled "Building for Peace: An American Strategy for the Middle East." The report urged the incoming administration to "resist pressures for a procedural breakthrough (on Palestinian-Israeli peace issues) until conditions have ripened."
Six members of the study group responsible for the report joined the first Bush administration, which adopted this stalemate recipe not to change until change was unavoidable. Hence, the US acceded to Israel's refusal to negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization despite the PLO's recognition of Israel at the November 1988 session of the Palestine National Council.
When Israel became serious about attempting to reach an agreement with the Palestinians, it circumvented the US-sponsored negotiations in Washington (and the pro-Israel lobby) and spoke directly to representatives of the PLO in Oslo. The result was the 1993 Oslo Declaration of Principles. Thus, the adoption of WINEP's policy recommendation to "resist pressures for a procedural breakthrough" by both the Bush and Clinton administrations delayed the start of meaningful Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, contributed to the demonization of the PLO and multiplied the casualty rate of the first Palestinian intifada.
Despite what might reasonably be judged as a major policy failure, WINEP's influence grew, especially in the mass media. Its associates, especially deputy director Patrick Clawson, director for policy and planning Robert Satloff and senior fellow Michael Eisenstadt, appear frequently on television and radio talk shows as commentators on Middle East issues. Its board of advisors includes Mortimer Zuckerman, editor-in-chief of U.S. News & World Report, and Martin Peretz, editor-in-chief of The New Republic.
WINEP's advocacy extended to matters far beyond the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Well before most Americans took note of radical Islam as a potential threat to their security, for instance, WINEP and its associates were promoting the notion that Israel is a reliable US ally against the spread of Islamism. After Israel expelled over 400 alleged Palestinian Islamist activists from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in December 1992, Israeli television Middle East analyst and WINEP associate Ehud Yaari wrote an op-ed in the New York Times summarizing his Hebrew television report of a vast US-based conspiracy to fund Hamas.
WINEP's 1992 annual [[Soref Symposium]] "Islam and the US: Challenges for the Nineties" focused on whether or not Islam was a danger to the United States. At that event, Martin Indyk argued that the US ought not to encourage democracy in countries that were friendly to Washington, like Jordan and Egypt, and that political participation should be limited to secular parties. This recommendation seemed like a formula for ensuring that Islamist forces would forsake legal political action and engage in armed struggle - precisely what happened in Egypt from 1992 to 1997.
The Clinton administration was even more thoroughly colonized by WINEP associates than its predecessor. Eleven signatories of the final report of WINEP's 1992 commission on US-Israeli relations, "Enduring Partnership," joined the Clinton administration. Among them were National Security Advisor Anthony Lake, UN Ambassador and later Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Undersecretary of Commerce Stuart Eisenstat and the late Les Aspin, Clinton's first secretary of defense. Shortly after assuming office in 1993, the Clinton administration announced a policy of "dual containment" aimed at isolating Iran and Iraq. The principal formulator and spokesperson for that policy was Martin Indyk, in his new role as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council. "Dual containment" was the forerunner of George Walker Bush's "axis of evil" policy.
In the current Bush administration, however, WINEP's influence has been outflanked on the right by individuals linked to more monolithically neo-conservative and hawkish think tanks like the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) and the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
excerpted from Pro-Israel Hawks and the Second Gulf War by Joel Beinin, April 6, 2003. (Joel Beinin, a contributing editor of Middle East Report, is a professor of Middle East history at Stanford University.
Mis en ligne le 11 janvier 2004 sur le site www.upjf.org