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29 March, 2018

Bolton’s past advocacy for Israel at US expense heralds dangerous new era in geopolitics

Notorious war hawk John Bolton – who has long been vying for a position in Trump’s administration – has been especially eager to work with a president with minimal foreign policy knowledge or experience, allowing him maximum effect in achieving his policy goals.

by Whitney Webb

Part 2 - Freelancing for Israel

Though the domestic reaction to Bolton’s appointment was rather mixed, top ministers of the right-wing Israeli government lavished praise upon the soon-to-be National Security Adviser, calling him “one of the most outstanding” allies to Israel in U.S. politics, and a “true friend” to the Jewish state who brings “great experience and original thinking” to “the most sympathetic administration toward Israel of all time.

Indeed, Bolton’s ties to Israel are as deep as they are long-standing — so deep that some have posited that his commitment to extreme Zionism has led him to betray the national interest of his own country on more than one occasion.

For instance, Danny Gillerman, the former Israeli ambassador to the UN, recently noted that Bolton, when serving in the Bush administration, was prone to “direct fire on his own forces,” — i.e., the U.S. government — in order to advance the goals of the Israeli government. Gillerman, speaking on the Israeli radio program Galei Tzahal this past Sunday, stated: “[W]hen the State Department — then headed by Condoleezza Rice, who wasn’t so friendly to Israel even though the Bush Administration was very friendly — was about to either make a decision, or not abstain, or not veto, or to advance something that was against us [Israel], Bolton would call me, and he would say ‘Danny, you’ve got to call the prime minister right now, in order for him to phone the president to stop this.'

In addition, Bolton garnered a reputation – as well as the ire of State Department officials at the time – for violating State Department protocol by acting unilaterally in matters of diplomacy to negotiate privately in Israel. The New York Times reported in 2005 that Bolton traveled to Israel without the required State Department clearance in 2003 and 2004 in a direct effort to undermine then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. As journalist Gareth Porter noted: “[A]t the very moment that Powell was saying administration policy was not to attack Iran, Bolton was working with the Israelis to lay the groundwork for just such a war.

Bolton’s numerous private and unannounced visits to Israel entailed meetings with officials of Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service, including Meir Dagan, then Mossad’s director.

Despite his flagrant violations of government rules, Bolton remained the main liaison between the U.S. and Israeli governments under Bush.

Bolton has pressured Israeli officials to attack Iran even when calling for such an attack was not the U.S. government’s position. According to Shaul Mofaz, former Israeli defense minister, Bolton “tried to convince me that Israel needs to attack Iran,” which Mofaz recently asserted was not “a smart move – not on the part of the Americans today or anyone else until the threat is real.

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