Israeli interference in US politics "overwhelms anything" Russia may have done in the 2016 presidential election, Jewish-American philosopher and political commentator Noam Chomsky has told US news programme Democracy Now.
"First of all, if you're interested in foreign interference in our elections, whatever the Russians may have done barely counts or weighs in the balance as compared with what another state does, openly, brazenly and with enormous support," Chomsky told journalist Amy Goodman in an interview last month, which has resurfaced in light of ongoing developments surrounding alleged Russian meddling in the US election.
"Israeli intervention in US elections vastly overwhelms anything the Russians may have done. I mean, even to the point where the prime minister of Israel, Netanyahu, goes directly to Congress, without even informing the president, and speaks to Congress, with overwhelming applause, to try to undermine the president's policies—what happened with Obama and Netanyahu in 2015."
"Did Putin come to give an address to the joint sessions of Congress trying to—calling on them to reverse US policy, without even informing the president?"
Chomsky was referring to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's lobbying against the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. In a speech to US Congress Netanyahu implored lawmakers not to endorse the pact, warning it would turn the Middle East into a "nuclear tinderbox", and received a standing ovation.
The statements echo those of US government and intelligence officials who in February expressed concernsthat foreign governments, including Israel, are manipulating US President Donald Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
According to a report in the Washington Post, earlier this year, US National Security Adviser General McMaster, "learned that Kushner had contacts with foreign officials that he did not coordinate through the National Security Council or officially report," and were concerned that Kushner was "naïve and being tricked" by certain governments, including Israel.
Kushner, who has been tasked with forging peace in the Middle East, had also been carrying some of the most sensitive diplomatic details despite failing to obtain the necessary security clearance for his role. The president's son-in-law is known to be close to several Israeli politicians and is a family friend of Netanyahu.
In the interview, Chomsky also made reference to US pressure groups and lobbyists, who use their resources to fund election campaigns and "practically write legislation for congressional offices."
"One of the most elementary principles of a functioning democracy is that the elected representatives should be responsive to those who elected them. We know very well that's simply not the case in the US," Chomsky concluded.
Organisations such as American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) are known to directly lobby the US State Congress, with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations facilitating contact between the Jewish community and the executive branch of the US government.