Abramoff Corruption Scandal: Will more probes follow?

The Abramoff corruption scandal linked to his pro-Israeli lobbying operations – dubbed as a potential repeat of America’s next Watergate – has opened the way to further intense probes into the role of a wide array of Zionist influence peddlers in the United States and elsewhere.

Thus far a South African publication, Moneyweb, has led with a leading article on Jack Abramoff’s “South African connection” which exposes the 46-year old fraudster’s role in the production of a right-wing leaning B-grade movie during the late 1980s and a string of unpaid bills.

He was then “very closely connected” to the Republicans during the Apartheid era, according to a spokesperson for SA attorneys Webber Wentzel who acted for Abramoff’s creditors but failed to recover any dues from him. Interestingly enough, the apartheid regime “provided extras, military equipment and the location [Namibia] for the movie which revolved around a Russian Rambo”.

Having absconded from his disgruntled debtors, Abramoff continued fleecing others. Shocking details about how he conned Native American tribes to part with their funds ostensibly to secure “political influence” for them in Capitol Hill become all the more tragic upon discovering that their money was used to fight the Palestinian intifada.

Mazin Qumsiyeh an associate professor at Yale University describes this diversion: “Ironically Native Americans were defrauded into funding oppression and colonization of other native [Palestinian] people”.

While the US media has covered the Abramoff scandal insofar as it relates to formal legal hearings and its first major casualty, the sudden resignation of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay; the question as to whether investigative journalists will go beyond the ‘known’ remains unanswered.

The ‘knowns’ thus far are that:

  • Abramoff and his wife set up a fake charity called the Capital Athletic Foundation, supposedly to provide sports programmes and teach “leadership skills”;
  • Donations to it would help in gaining the “political influence” of Tom DeLay;
  • Abramoff is a “super-Zionist” with a passion for Israeli colonization of Palestinian lands;
  • He has strong and extensive ties with Jewish settlers in illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank.

Hence it is not enough for The Economist magazine to describe the Abramoff rip-off as “the biggest corruption scandal in a generation” without venturing into deeper probes into his extensive network and association with the entire range of pro-Israeli lobbying operations.

After all there is a growing body of public opinion raising significant questions about the morality of these operators. For instance, there cannot be any doubt that AIPAC, which the New York Times views as the most important organization affecting America’s relationship with Israel, is itself nervously beginning to detect shifts in US-Israel ties, despite its best efforts.

As the foremost pro-Israeli pressure group in America, it has a long history in an industry known as “lobbying-for-influence”; an industry which ironically is likely to face a major upheaval as a consequence of the Abramoff corruption scandal.

Questionable reasons for AIPAC successes in ensuring that America’s domestic and foreign policies are intrinsically linked to pursuance of Israeli interests at the expense of legitimate Palestinian rights cannot any longer be ignored by the mainstream media.

The Abramoff scandal should place further demands on academics, commentators and analysts to unravel AIPAC’s operations and the wide-spread corruption in the highest offices of the American administration.