Barry Goldwater on the Israeli Lobby’s Influence in DC

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A friend passed on this blast from the past:

Interview with Barry Goldwater

By John Kolbe
Phoenix Gazette political columnist
Dec. 3, 1986 12:00 PM

[Excerpt] Goldwater: …self-interest groups are now, more than ever, running this country. You take the Israel groups, and there are many of them . . . if just a rumor goes out that the president is going to sell some military equipment to an Arab nation, overnight there will be 60 to 70 senators siding up with the Israeli group. Why? Because they have money, and they threaten. But they’re not the only ones. You name it, there’s an organization in Washington working for it, all self-interest.

Kolbe: Is the Israeli lobby too powerful?

Goldwater: God, yes, way too powerful.

Kolbe: Has that had some detrimental effects on what comes out of Congress?

Goldwater: Yes. See, we have no treaty with Israel, but we have pledged ourselves to go to war if she has to go to war. And there are some of the actions that some of the Israeli groups take that, at times, I’ve felt would hasten that day when we have to live up to our promise. I can understand the feeling, but I’m getting awfully tired of the great influence they have and there’s no question about it.

The last example was when we wanted to fulfill our promise to sell Saudi Arabia some F-15s. We sent them a few, but then the Israeli group got up in arms and, by God, it stopped. I think the first tabulation we got, 65 senators were opposed to it before any debate or any discussion. And that’s held true with every weapons system that we’ve wanted to sell any of the Arab countries.

Kolbe: Why do they have that influence?

Goldwater: They have it because, you take the big cities like New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, they have a tremendously large Jewish population and a lot of money, and these senators just cater to that type of influence. But like the influence of the labor unions, the National Rifle Association, the American Medical Association, and we could go on and on and name the influences that, while not as strong as Israel, have a great strength. And they make it hard for a man to run when he can’t get money, when he has a large dedicated group against him. The tendency then is to overcome that strike by going along with them (the special interests).

3:12 pm on October 6, 2010