Ramsey Baroud in AlterNet:
Israeli footprints are becoming more apparent in the US security apparatus. Such a fact does not bode well for ordinary Americans. US Senate Bill S.720 should have been a wake-up call. The bill, drafted by the Israel lobby group, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as part of its “2017 Lobbying Agenda,” is set to punish any individual or company that boycotts Israel for its violation of Palestinian human rights. The severe punishment could reach a million dollars in fines, and up to 20 years in jail. Although political boycott has been sanctioned by the US Supreme Court, the Congress wants to make a boycott of Israel the exception, even if it means the subversion of US democracy. Still, protests are largely muted. The mainstream US media is yet to take US lawmakers to task, as hundreds of those elected representatives have already endorsed the unacceptable initiative.
Criticizing Israel is still a taboo in the US, where the Congress is beholden to lobby pressures and kickbacks, and where the media’s script on the illegal Israeli military occupation of Palestine is even less critical than Israel’s own media. However, the infiltration of the US government is not new. It is only becoming more emboldened, due to the absence of enough critical voices that are capable of creating a semblance of balance or a serious debate on the issue. For years, ordinary US citizens have been far-removed from the entire discussion on Israel and Palestine. The subject felt alien, marred by Hollywood propaganda, religious misconception and the lack of any understanding of history. But in recent years, Israel has become an integral part of American life, even if most people do not spot the Israeli influence. “In the aftermath of 9/11, Israel seized on its decades-long experience as an occupying force to brand itself as a world leader in counter-terrorism,” reported Alice Speri in the Intercept. The successful branding has earned Israeli security firms billions of dollars. The massive payouts are the result of the exploitation of American fear of terrorism, while presenting Israel as a successful model of fighting terror.