Abdullah Noorudeen highlights the close interconnection between UK and US-based pro-Israel interest groups, and the proliferation of security policies under the guise of the War on Terror.

In doing so he emphasises that the development of domestic counter-extremism in Britain cannot be decoupled from the neoconservative ambition to reshape the Middle East, with Israel serving as the US’ outpost in the region.

This article is published as part of CAGE’s new series of expert essays ‘Perspectives on the War On Terror‘.

The recent events in Palestine have brought attention to the brutal actions of Zionist entity against both the people in the form of ethnic cleansing and bombardment, and their religious sanctity through the violent incursions against Masjid Al-Aqsa.

This piece recalls and outlines the connections between the War on Terror, Israel and the neoconservatives.

“A Clean Break” from Sanity

It is important to understand that the neoconservatives are staunchly pro-Israeli and have worked ardently to protect and project Zionist interests.

In 1996, a group of prominent neoconservatives led by Richard Perle (who was caught by the FBI disclosing classified information to Israeli officials in October 1970) produced the policy paper titled “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm” for the attention of then-Israeli PM, the Likud party’s Benjamin Netanyahu.

This document, as well as influencing the removal of Saddam Hussein, outlined the way in which the areas of Iran, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon and Syria could be “remade” by specifically highlighting their “weapons of mass destruction”.

In 1998, pressure was also put on the Clinton administration by neocons like Elliot Abrams, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, William Kristol, Bernard Lewis, Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, to oust Saddam Hussein. Many of these neocons had close ties to pro-Israel groups like JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security of America) or WINEP (The Washington Near East Policy – set up with support from AIPAC)”.[1]

JINSA has included neocons such as Perle, Michael Ledeen, Muravchik, James Woolsey, Dick Cheney, John Bolton, and Douglas Feith. On elaborating upon the Zionist/neoconservative roots, Ryan notes[2]:

“JINSA had been established “as a result of the lessons learned from the 1973 Yom Kippur War” in order to communicate with the national security establishment and the general public “to explain the role Israel can and does play in bolstering American interests, as well as the link between American defense policy and the security of Israel.”

Here the cross-think-tank links and the key activists were particularly clear, with Cheney, Bolton, Feith, Ledeen, Muravchik, Woolsey, and Perle all affiliated to the organization. At age 23, Feith had helped draft JINSA’s charter in 1973.”

WINEP was similarly born from pro-Israel interests facilitated by neoconservatives:

“WINEP was established in 1985 by Martin Indyk, previously the Research Director at the leading pro-Israel lobby, the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and Barbi Weinberg, a former Vice President of AIPAC, and was closely aligned with AIPAC from its inception.
(As of 2006, fourteen members of the 100-plus Board of Trustees had served on the AIPAC executive board and some were founders or Directors of pro-Israel Political Action Committees.)

“WINEP’s advisory board and list of scholars also included some neoconservatives…Woolsey, Perle, and Wolfowitz were all on the WINEP board. Muravchik and Pipes both served as Adjunct Scholars. Rubin became a WINEP Adjunct Scholar in 1999.
(WINEP also included three others on the MEF (the Middle East Forum – a neoconservative group headed by Daniel Pipes) advisory board: Robert Satloff, Patrick Clawson, and Jonathan Schanzer)

WINEP was one of the first think tanks to call for regime change in Iraq in a 1996 report by a study group that included Bolton, Rodman, Dobriansky, Feith, and Zalamy Khalilzad.”

When the US had what the Project for New American Century (PNAC) neoconservatives would call a “new Pearl Harbor” in the form of 9/11, the picture presented of the Middle East to US was an Israeli one. Israeli-US intelligence cooperation was at unprecedented levels. According to one Israeli general, “Israeli intelligence was a full partner to the picture presented by American and British intelligence regarding Iraq’s non‐conventional capabilities.”[4]

The USA Today, reported in late 2002 that Israel was “secretly playing a key role in U.S. preparations for possible war with Iraq, helping to train soldiers and Marines for urban warfare, conducting clandestine surveillance missions in the western Iraqi desert and allowing the United States to place combat supplies in Israel”.

Meanwhile, US Zionist neocons were in full force to push the War on Terror and the invasion of Iraq.  Indeed, within the US, “a small band of neoconservatives, many with close ties to Israel’s Likud Party” were the “driving force” behind the Iraq war. This band of pro-Israeli neoconservatives included Scooter Libby, Bernard Lewis, and Paul Wolfowitz.

(l-r) David Ivry, Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ariel Sharon, Israeli Prime Minister, Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, and Martin Indyk, U.S. Ambassador to Israel at the Pentagon 2001

Wolfowitz who is “committed to Israel”, was described during the Bush era as the “the most hawkishly pro-Israel voice in the Administration”.[5] He had been an advocate of the Iraq war for decades. The Wolfowitz Doctrine was the informal name of the 1990s policy devised under then US Defense Secretary Wolfowitz by his deputy Libby, his aid Zalmay Khalilzad and with consultation with Perle, among others.

The policy articulated an American imperialist unipolarity, and the doctrine of pre-emption, where threats are taken out before they emerge.

With Wolfowitz taking up a key position in Bush administration, his doctrine became the Bush doctrine.

The doctrine of pre-emption undergirded both the invasion of Iraq and the counter-terror policies that were being architected in parallel. And the engine driving the terrorism smokescreen, however tenuous, was fuelled by neoconservative Israel-cheerleaders right from the inceptive period:

“On September 20, a group of prominent neoconservatives and their allies published another open letter, telling the President that “even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the [9/11] attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq.” The letter also reminded Bush that, “Israel has been and remains America’s staunchest ally against international terrorism.””[6]

This threat of terrorism was hyped up at the expense of more cataclysmic threats.

In 2004, a secret report produced by the Pentagon concluded that the “threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism”.
This report was suppressed by US defence chiefs amongst whom at that time was the notorious neocon and advocate of the doctrine of pre-emption in the terrorism sphere, Paul Wolfowitz.

Also present during that period was the US vice president and CEO of oil field services corporation Halliburton, Dick Cheney. He lobbied for the US to leave the Kyoto protocol, an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997.

Precrime: The Israeli view through Neocons

The precrime counter-terrorism approach which emerged in the wake of 9/11 rooted itself in a Clash of Civilisations world, de-emphasising political factors and focusing on ideology.

This strategy was concordant with Israel’s “Huntingtonian” view of Muslims. Soon after the 9/11 attacks, former director general of the Mossad Shabtai Shavit, for example, said:

“This is war, war against the Free World. For years we issued warnings and the Western states shrugged their shoulders. But what we always said about extremist Islam and the struggle against it has now been proved.”[7]

What should be noted, however, is that before 9/11, the world was forcefully reacting to the IDF’s ethnic cleansing and brutal suppression of Palestinian protests in response to Ariel Sharon’s storming of Masjid al-Aqsa in occupied East Jerusalem with more than 1,000 heavily armed police and soldiers on September 28, 2000.

9/11 provided the catalyst to divert attention from political injustice and concretise the “extremist Islam is the problem” narrative.

In 2004, a secret report produced by the Pentagon concluded that the “threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism”.

This report was suppressed by US defence chiefs.

It is not surprising to find therefore that those passionately advocating for pre-emptive, ideology-focused counter-terrorism policies in the UK have been, and continue to be, pro-Israeli neoconservatives.

From the earlies period of the War on Terror, neoconservative think-tanks focused their resources on propounding this view.

The Quilliam Foundation telos had been to downplay the Iraq war and focus on what was for them, “the politicization of Islam” (Muslims are coming). The prominent British neoconservative and outspoken Zionist, Michael Gove, was a board member of the organisation, which has now disbanded.

Gove is a useful entry-point into the heavily interconnected neocon/pro-Israel world.

The late George Weidenfeld is cited as the “inspiration” and idea for Gove’s book, Celsius 7/7, which regurgitates the Manichean Israeli worldview. Gove has called Weidenfeld a “man of great wisdom and humanity” who he is proud to call “a friend.”

Weidenfeld has been the president of the Board of Trustees for the ISD, which promotes CVE. Weidenfeld was a Zionist who co-signed, alongside extremist neocons, a petition which states that, “Israeli land concessions, will never bring peace”.
The petition, published by the rabidly bigoted, anti-Muslim Gatestone Institute run by the chief financier of transatlantic Muslim-hate, Nina Rosenwald, also postures a supremacist assumption, stating that “only a cultural revolution in the Arab world can achieve [peace].”

Amongst the list of editors Gove thanks “in particular”, is Daniel Finkelstein. Finkelstein, a senior Conservative peer was the editor of the Times, as well as chairman of the right-wing, neoconservative London think-tank, Policy Exchange.

Gove founded Policy Exchange in 2002 and has postured a securitised view of Islam and Muslims.

The think-tank is notorious for fabricating receipts in order to prove “extremist” material was being sold in Mosques. The report which used these fabricated receipts was authored by anti-Islam Denis MacEoin who has been on record to state that he has very “negative feelings” about Islam.

Michael Gove MP, founder of Policy Exchange

In 2008, the then chairman of Policy Exchange mooted the idea of blacklist of Muslim organisations deemed extremist as a “possible approach to the question of Islam in Britain”. (Muslims are coming).

Pertinently, the think-tank, through its former research director Dean Godson, was strongly influential in the development of the PREVENT counter-extremism strategy. Godson is a neoconservative who called for the revival of Cold War era techniques in the War on Terror. (Muslims are coming)

The transatlantic, neocon/pro-Israeli War on Terror network

The American neocon influence is also present.

During the 1980s Godson served as a Special Assistant to the US Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman. Lehman would go onto to become a signatory for the war-mongering neoconservative think-tank founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, PNAC.

David Frum (l) and Conservative Party peer Daniel Finkelstein (r)

The American neocon and war-advocate David Frum has called Godson his “friend”. Frum is also the Chairman of the board of trustees for Policy Exchange. Frum was the speechwriter for Bush, the author of the infamous “Axis of Evil” claim in Bush’s 2002 State of Union address and co-author of the book An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror. He wrote this book with fellow neocon Perle.

Many of the names of these American neoconservatives are also relevant to the HJS, a leading exponent of repressive War on Terror policies. Its international patrons include Kagan, Kristol, Muravchik, Perle, and Woolsey.

According to a 2015 report by Spinwatch,

“there has been a large overlap between funders of the HJS and other pro-Israel causes… [the] donors shared by the [HJS] and a number of prominent pro-Israel groups… includes all of HJS’s thirteen largest identified donors except for the City of London…
All of these donors except for the Eranda Foundation contributed to the United Jewish Israel Appeal. All except the Eranda Foundation and foundations associated with the Kalms family donated to the Community Security Trust.
The UK Friends of the Association for the Well-being of Israel’s Soldiers and the Jewish National Fund each received funding from six HJS donors, while four donors contributed to the Jerusalem Fund.”

Pertinent here is that the Eranda Foundation, which has funded the HJS, has also funded the UK Friends of the City of David, the British-based branch of the Ir David Foundation, commonly known as Elad. Elad, one of Israel’s wealthiest nonprofits, is a Jewish settler organisation which works to “Judaise” occupied East Jerusalem. The fanatical group has been behind the recent ethnic cleansing taking place in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.

In 2020, it was revealed by Declassified that the Home Office was financing the HJS to report on “UK connections to Islamist terrorism”.  The HJS also funded the current Home Secretary Priti Patel’s trip to Washington DC to be a “delegate” at a forum organised by Israel lobby group AIPAC.

These secretive moves in pursuit of Zionist interests are per form, especially when one considers how the HJS has driven a McCarthyist approach for the Government in relation to Muslims.

In September 2015, CAGE published a piece on a Number 10 press statement which announced the duty to stop “extremists” radicalising on campuses.  In the release, they “named and shamed” universities and Muslim activists for allowing “extremists” on campus and being “extremists”, respectively.

The Home Office-based Extremism Analysis Unit (EAU) was used to determine the list of “extremists”. CAGE demonstrated that the government lifted chunks of its press release from a dubious report published by the Student Rights organisations, a project of the HJS.

This was confirmed in the 2017 Salman Butt case in which the Home Office admitted it was uncritically relying on information provided by the HJS to smear Muslim activists and speakers.

Before 9/11, the world was forcefully reacting to the IDF’s brutal suppression of Palestinian protests in response to Ariel Sharon’s storming of Masjid al-Aqsa on September 28, 2000.

9/11 provided the catalyst to divert attention to the “extremist Islam is the problem” narrative.

The Declassified report also revealed information about HJS’s funding of Gove. Gove, who became a director of the HJS in January 2017, was funded to visit “New York to receive an award at the anniversary of the Algemeiner Journal – a right-wing pro-Israel publication – and ‘attend events organised by the Henry Jackson Society’”.

Later that year, Gove also attended an event co-funded by AIPAC and the HJS.”

Counter-extremism and Palestine

The nexus between Israel and the neoconservatives at HJS continue.

At least two HJS employees have subsequently taken up positions in the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Furthermore, another investigative report showed that, whilst Patel and Gove were involved in HJS, HJS’s US directors have also been directors of charities which are not only supporting the IDF but are also funded by Israel’s Ministry of Defence.

Not surprisingly, the same pro-Israeli neocons, such as Gove, have promoted policies that favour Israel’s interest whilst also hyping up the fear of “extremism”.

“The Board of Deputies submitted evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on the “roots of violent radicalisation” promoting “preventative approaches” to “combatting radicalisation”, whilst claiming the “UK Muslim community” is the target for “many radicalising forces”.

In 2011, Gove intervened and shutdown school workshops celebrating Palestinian literature and human rights via his Department’s Prevention of Extremism Unit. This was found to be done at the behest of the pro-Israel lobby group Board of Deputies of Jews (BOD).
(It is worth pointing out here that the BOD (along with Community Security Trust) submitted written evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on the “roots of violent radicalisation” in the same year. BOD promoted “preventative approaches” to “combatting radicalisation”, whilst claiming the “UK Muslim community” is the target for “many radicalising forces”.)

In 2014, Gove commissioned former CTU head Peter Clarke to investigate the Muslim-demonising, hoax Trojan Horse affair. Published in 2014, Clarke, using the PREVENT definition of “extremism”, categorised an orthodox Jewish group – the Neturei Karta – as “extoling” extremist views because it was “anti-Israel”. Pertinently, from 2008, Clarke was on the advisory council for Policy Exchange.

In 2015, Gove was lauding proposals to suppress support of the BDS movement. In the following year, Gove equated anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, and called for the UK embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

There is an undeniable link between counter-extremism and the protection of Israel thanks to the neoconservatives.

As the PREVENT policy has developed, it has worked to suppress pro-Palestinian views. To date, no “anti-Palestine” views have been censured as “extremist”.

Concluding Remarks

The War on Terror was also coined the Global War on Terrorism.

This is clearly misleading, as the focus has been much of the Muslim world.

Though the Zionist entity repeatedly terrorises the Palestinians through its apartheid policies, indiscriminate slaughtering of women and children, and ethnically cleansing whatever slivers remain of the Occupied Palestinian territories, Israel has remained outside the rhetoric of pre-emptive strikes, “shock and awe”, “terrorism” and “extremism”.

And this is for good reason.

The War on Terror cannot be understood without factoring Israel and the lobbying done on its behalf by its neoconservative proxies in the US and UK. Through the small syndicate of neoconservatives who pined for an unending security paradigm and warring, Israel, and its agenda to “reshape” the Middle East through the War on Terror, continues to be delivered to the present day.


[1] Walt, Stephen and John J. Mearsheimer. “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.” KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP06-011, March 2006, p.30.

[2] Ryan, M., Neoconservatism and the New American Century, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, p.55-6.

[3] Ibid., pp.57-8

[4] Fn.1, p.29.

[5] Ibid. pp.30-1, p.33.

[6] Ibid. p.32.

[7] Ben-Eliezer, U. Old Conflict, New War: Israel’s Politics Toward the Palestinians, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, p.108.

Images used courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Robert D Ward and Flickr/Policy Exchange 

Abdullah NoorudeenIndependent Researcher

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