Tuesday, May 04, 2004

The camel corp rides again - on the other side of the Atlantic 

Following in the footsteps of their British counterparts, former American diplomats with history of professional involvement in the Middle East have written an open letter to George Bush, calling on him to reconsider his support for Israel (you can read the whole letter here).

The 52 Brit diplomats who wrote a similar letter to Tony Blair not that long ago, have turned out to be an interesting bunch. My not very brave prediction: watch this space and expect the same from the American "camel corp" - non-disclosure (at least for some of the signatories) of Saudi cash flying around, paid lobbying jobs for Middle Eastern countries, and involvement with foundations and organisations financed by oil money.

Of course, the fact that the ex-diplomats might be financed in their activities and pronouncements by the Middle Eastern money doesn't mean that their views are insincere. Quite the contrary, the reason they might be receiving such support from Saudi Arabia and others is that they already have a long history of holding pro-Arab and anti-Israeli (or anti-Zionist) views.

But if anything, the whole controversy tells you that the famed "Jewish lobby" is not the only one in town throwing money around to help get their views across. It also tells you something about the culture and biases of the professional diplomatic corp both in the UK (and another link) and in the US.


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