In an interview which aired on Press TV on Saturday–one day before the AIPAC conference got under way in Washington–former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney revealed what amounts to some pretty startling news regarding the extent of the Israeli lobby’s influence over Congress.
During her years in Congress, she stated, candidates for both the House and the Senate were requested to sign pledges of support for Israel, documents in which the candidate promised to vote to provide consistent levels of economic aid to the Zionist state. Refusal to sign the pledge meant no funding for the candidate’s campaign.
“You make a commitment that you will vote to support the military superiority of Israel—the economic assistance that Israel wants, that you would vote to provide that,” McKinney, who served in Congress from 1993-2003 and again 2005-2007, tells Press TV interviewer Marzieh Hashemi in the two-part video program below.
According to McKinney, the pledge also included a vow to support Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel.
“Every candidate for Congress at that time had a pledge, they were given a pledge to sign…” she said. “If you don’t sign the pledge, you don’t get money. For example, it was almost like water torture for me. My parents observed this. I would get a call and the person on the other end of the phone would say ‘I want to do a fundraiser for you.’ And then we would get into the planning. I would get really excited, because of course you have to have money in order to run a campaign. And then two weeks, three weeks into the planning, they would say, ‘Did you sign the pledge?’ And then I would say, ‘No, I didn’t sign the pledge.’ And then my fundraiser would go kaput.”
During her years in Congress, McKinney opposed U.S. involvement in foreign wars, questioned the official version of the events of 911, and introduced articles of impeachment against former President George W. Bush. Her final term in Congress came to an end after AIPAC, or the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, funneled money into the campaign of her opponent, Hank Johnson.
McKinney’s comments to Press TV came on the eve of the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, which was addressed Sunday by President Barack Obama. Last Thursday, Obama gave a “major speech” on the Middle East in which he suggested that a basis for peace in the region might be a withdrawal by Israel to its pre-1967 borders. However, in his speech Sunday, the president, quite predictably, backtracked on the proposal—and it may well have been Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who laid down the law to him.
“On Friday, I was joined at the White House by Prime Minister Netanyah, and we reaffirmed that fundamental truth that has guided our presidents and prime ministers for more than 60 years—that, even while we may at times disagree, as friends sometimes will, the bonds between the United States and Israel are unbreakable, and the commitment of the United States to the security of Israel is ironclad,” Obama told the conference.
He also clarified what he had meant by his reference to “1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps” made in his speech Thursday. “By definition, it means that the parties themselves—Israelis and Palestinians—will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967,” he said.
See full speech here:
McKinney was a candidate for president on the Green Party ticket in 2008. Also in 2008 she sailed aboard the Free Gaza ship Dignity as it attempted to deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza, making a second effort to reach the blockaded territory the following year on the Spirit of Humanity. Both ships were blocked from reaching their destination by the Israeli Navy.
Her comments about the pledges required of candidates for Congress are made in the second part of the program. In the first part she discusses how her congressional district in Georgia was dismantled through a legal suit brought about with the assistance of the Anti-Defamation League.